I just took a look at the latest model runs...and I am not expecting a major windstorm anymore. As noted earlier, there has been a lot of disagreements between models, even today when we are within 48hr of the event. Something is making it difficult for the solution to gel...and I think I can tell you what it is.
Take a look at the upper level forecast chart (500 mb--about 18K ft, solid lines give the height of that pressure surface above sea level) for 1o AM on Thursday. There are two upper level troughs (I have marked them) that are interacting to form the incipient disturbance. The phasing of these features is critical and this makes the development of a storm much more difficult...small errors in the speed of either trough will change the forecast. Furthermore, if they don't join, then you can end up with a complex, multiple storm that can't amplify effectively.
Take a look at the 48h forecast of sea level pressure...there are in fact two low centers. This is bad. I have been looking at windstorms for years...and my experience is this kind of multiple structure is the kiss of death. And the models know it.
So you can forget a Chanukah-Eve or Inauguration Day type storm event.
Tonight, a low center is moving way north of us over the Queen Charlottes...and rain associated with a trailing frontal band has reached our area (see imagery). If you look closely you can see the circulation over the southern part of the Queen Charlottes. The front assoicated with the low will be through by daybreak and then we will get into the cold,unstable air. Showers in the lowlands, breezy (winds 15-30 mph), cool, and lots of snow in the mountains. One final note...after the "storm" get through on Friday AM we could have some lowland snow showers, particularly in a convergence zone. But we can wait on that....
PS: Several of you have asked about good amateur equipment for observing the weather. I and others in the dept think highly of the Davis Vantage Pro equipment...really good value for the money...and high quality instruments. But anyone can start cheaply...a digital thermometer and rain gauge can be purchased for 30 dollars total. Add a cloud chart and it is nice starter for a budding young meteorologists.