Sure, it’s been like spring this week, but don’t put away those winter clothes yet, and don’t take off those studded tires.
Arctic air is on the way.
Wednesday’s record high of 53 degrees will be little more than a fond memory Sunday when the temperature is expected to drop to 3 degrees before dawn, forecasters said.
Light snow is expected as early as Friday night and stiff winds will kick up Saturday when the arctic front crosses the region.
“This is going to be the best darn taste of winter we’ve had,” said Milt Maas, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Spokane.
“I think the winds are going to be very strong and it’s going to feel very cold,” he said.
For a month now, the Inland Northwest has been under the influence of mild weather with alternating rounds of rain and sun.
A high pressure ridge responsible for the fair weather is migrating westward offshore. Forecasters like to call it a “protective ridge.”
Its departure from the region will open the door for arctic air to move south along the eastern side of the high. Winds in the upper atmosphere generally move from northwest to southeast on the eastern, or back, side of a high pressure area.
That will draw arctic air from northern Canada over the region and will combine with a low pressure system expected out of the east, Maas said.
This is in contrast to normal weather movements. Large weather features typically migrate from west to east. At times during the winter, this movement reverses itself, and that is what is occurring now.
The expected highs will go from 46 degrees today to 40 degrees Friday, 27 degrees Saturday, 17 degrees Sunday and 24 degrees Monday.
The low will be about 10 degrees Saturday night, but the temperature will continue to drop to 3 degrees before dawn Sunday.
Winds are forecast to be 20 to 25 mph but as high as 40 mph in exposed areas such as Moran Prairie, Post Falls and Rathdrum.