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Forecast calls for a deep freeze

Get ready for some real winter.

Arctic cold is expected to plunge into the Inland Northwest late next week following a series of Pacific storms that should bring a mix of snow, rain and wind through Wednesday.

Forecasters said computer models show that frigid air now in Alaska will likely move south.

“It will definitely be a pipe-bursting type of event,” said Rocco Pelatti, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Spokane.

Overnight lows could drop to below zero a week from today, followed by highs in the single digits. Pelatti said computer models show the cold may continue through the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, or longer.

In the meantime, forecasters issued a winter storm watch for snow this afternoon through Saturday morning in northeastern Washington and North Idaho. Elsewhere in the region, it was a snow advisory.

In Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, forecasters are calling for snow tonight above 2,000 feet, and possibly mixed with rain below that elevation.

One to 3 inches are expected in Spokane and 2 to 4 inches in Coeur d’Alene. Snow or rain showers could continue Saturday with the snow level rising to 2,500 feet.

Most of the urban area around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene lies between 1,860 and 2,400 feet – the elevation at the base of Browne Mountain in southeast Spokane.

Winds to 35 mph are possible tonight and Saturday.

The forecast continues to predict a chance of snow or rain on Wednesday with the cold air starting to enter the region Wednesday night, when a low of 12 is forecast for Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.


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