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Seattle Weather: January 2012 Snowstorm Could Be Worst Blizzard In Decades (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 01/17/12 11:28 AM ET Updated: 01/17/12 11:57 AM ET

Residents of the Pacific Northwest are bracing as Seattle weather will take a turn for the worse tonight. Forecasters are calling for what could be the harshest winter snowstorm in several decades. reports on Seattle's weather, saying a "potential major winter storm" will hit both lower elevations and mountainous areas near the coast beginning Tuesday night, and will move east as far as Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Most of the snow will fall on Wednesday, reports The Seattle Times. Accumulation between six and 14 inches is expected. This means that snowfall could break Seattle's single-day record of 14.9 inches set in 1969.

Even if the storm does not break the record, it could still go down in Seattle weather history by leaving the most snow at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport since 1985. explains that Seattle can expect warmer weather later on Wednesday. Continued precipitation may turn to rain, and could lead to what meteorologist Cliff Mass has described as "slushmageddon."

Seattle weather, including surprising variations in precipitation between different parts of the city, can be blamed on convergence zones, according to The Seattle Times. The zones occur when "two currents of wind collide at a low elevation" and rise to create more precipitation.

Despite warmer than average temperatures this winter, the midwest tasted its first major snowstorm of the season last week.

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From AP: Washington State Patrol trooper Josh Griffith stands in a heavy snow fall as he talks with drivers on Interstate 90 where the pass ahead was closed Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, near North Bend, Wash. Snow has been falling steadily in various parts of western Washington since the weekend, but meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Seattle said that the biggest snowfall could come on Wednesday. Forecasts issued Tuesday morning called for about 5 to 10 inches of snow for the Seattle metropolitan area with communities along the Interstate corridor south of Seattle expected to get heavier amounts. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Filed by James Gerken  |