After a winter that saw record snowfall, including a 4-inch storm in the first week of April, the forecast for the coming week ought to bring some serious relief: temperatures well into the 70s by Sunday.
National Weather Service forecasters said that a strong high-pressure system is expected to form across the Rocky Mountain states later this week and set the stage for gradually rising temperatures and highs about 15 degrees above normal for late April.
But the region should see one more day of cool weather and a chance of snow showers Tuesday. Thunderstorms are possible as well. Highs Tuesday may only reach the upper 40s across the Inland Northwest, and lows at night could drop into the upper 20s.
Any snow accumulation Tuesday morning would add to the record 97.7 inches of snow that has fallen in 2008-09 through the last snowfall in early April.
“After that, things start to warm up. We will see a gradual warming and drying trend throughout the rest of the week with temperatures getting back up into the 60s and even the lower 70s by the weekend,” said Ron Miller, forecaster for the weather service in Spokane.
He said computer forecast models suggest that high pressure will strengthen into April 20 and 21 with temperatures “well into the 70s” by then and possibly reaching the 80s in the Columbia Basin.
Spokane’s record highs for Sunday and April 20 are 81 and 83 respectively.
Forecasters said they expect highs on Sunday of 74 in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, 73 in Sandpoint, 72 in Pullman and 76 in Colville.
The normal high for Tuesday in Spokane is 57.
The warm weather could cause streams and rivers to rise from snow melt in the mountains. Temperatures at 4,500 feet in elevation could reach well into the 60s by April 20 and 21, forecasters said. However, no flooding is expected.