Batten down the hatches. Fall’s first punch looks like a doozy beginning next week

Fall’s first big storms arrive next week with a series of drenching rains and possibly strong winds as part of a weak to moderate atmospheric river, the National Weather Service said.

Bellingham and the rest of Western Washington is in for a “steady, good soaking” that could dump as much as 2 inches of rain over three days starting Sunday night or Monday morning, meteorologist Dev McMillian told The Bellingham Herald.

“We’ll see a prolonged period of moderate to heavy rainfall. Definitely a lot more than what we’ve seen in a long time,” McMillian said in an interview.

Winds could pick up and Whatcom County rivers and creeks could rise, but McMillian said flooding and storm damage was unlikely.

“Right now, it looks like things could be breezy. We’re not expecting to see widespread flooding. There could be some river rises, he said.

Water levels on the Nooksack River are expected to rise next week but remain well below flood stage, according to data from the Northwest River Forecast Center.

Temperatures next week will be seasonably cool, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s and overnight lows in the 40s and 50s, according to the forecast.