By UB and wire reports

A major storm carrying high winds, drenching rain and heavy snow is headed for the Pacific Northwest, according to weather experts.

The storm due to arrive in coastal areas Thursday will be the strongest seen in months, meteorologists with AccuWeather said Wednesday.

On Friday, the Walla Walla area can expect up to a half-inch of rain and winds from the south from 14 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain is likely to continue Friday night and taper off, but winds will speed up to 29 to 34 mph, with gusts as high as 49 mph, the Weather Service estimated.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and high winds throughout Washington and Oregon, with snow at higher elevations.

Joe Solomon, a meteorologist with the weather service in Pendleton, said the storm could drop a significant amount of snow at elevations above 2,500 feet in the Blue and Wallowa mountains.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t end up with upwards of maybe over a foot of snow in the mountains of Eastern Oregon out of this event,” Solomon said.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said the Washington Cascades will see its first significant snowstorm of the season.

“Snow levels will fall to pass level and travel on U.S. 2 and Interstate 90 could become dangerous due to the combination of heavy snow and blowing snow,” he said, adding the combination will drastically reduce visibility.

He added that the winds also might be strong enough to down trees and power lines.