Showers, thunderstorms keep going

THURSDAY, AUG. 13, 2009, 7:35 A.M.

Otis Orchards had .72 inches of rain Wednesday

Scattered showers and a risk of thunderstorms later today will continue the wet trend that brought widely varying amounts of rainfall to the Inland Northwest on Wednesday.

A relatively strong low pressure area from British Columbia is expected to slowly drift south and eastward.

Thunderstorms were spotted on radar near Pullman and Moscow along U.S. Highway 95, and another band of storms was moving through the Colville and Republic areas across the northern mountains.

The frontal band that brought rain to the region Wednesday was shifting south and eastward out of the region today.

A hazardous weather outlook was posted for today for most of Eastern Washington and North Idaho for thunderstorms.

Highs are forecast to be 76 in downtown Spokane, 73 in Spokane Valley, 74 in Post Falls and 75 in Coeur d’Alene. Southwest winds should mostly be around 8 to 10 mph, but could push as high as 18 mph.

Cold air associated with the lower air pressure in the upper atmosphere is moving across Washington by this afternoon and may provide enough instability and upward air movement to trigger new rounds of thunderstorms across the entire region like the ones that crossed the Spokane area on Wednesday evening.

Showers and rain on Wednesday provided ample moisture to some locations, but only dampened other spots.

In the Spokane area, one measuring site at Otis Orchards had .72 inches of rain while Spokane International Airport had .21 inches and Felts Field .27 inches. Nearby Medical Lake saw only .03 inches.

In North Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene Airport had .37 inches, while another measuring site in Coeur d’Alene had only .01 inches. Cocolalla and Spirit Lake both had .04 inches. Higher amounts fell in the mountains. A location known as Mosquito Ridge had 2.2 inches of rain.

In the Palouse and Columbia Basin, the amounts were generally light ranging from .01 inches in Ephrata to .10 at Lind.

The chance of thunderstorms continues on Friday at about 40 percent, but falls to 20 percent on Saturday in Spokane.

Drier weather should return by Sunday as this week’s low pressure area slowly slips eastward to be replaced by a northwesterly flow. A building ridge of higher air pressure off the Pacific Coast should move inland next week and bring a return to highs in the 80s and 90s.

Spokane could see highs of 80 on Sunday and 88 on Monday, but rising into the 90s by Wednesday.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were once again mild. It was 57 at Spokane International Airport, 60 in Coeur d’Alene, 55 at Sandpoint, 63 at Pullman and 57 at Deer Park.

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