Cooler air sets stage for showers

FRIDAY, AUG. 14, 2009, 7:28 A.M.

Thunderstorms moving through region

If it felt a little like autumn this morning, there was a reason.

Temperatures plunged into the upper 40s in many locations, and in Spokane, it was the first time since July 8 that the morning has started out so cool.

Thunderstorms were forming by mid-afternoon across the region and the National Weather Service warned about the possibility of hail within those storms.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were at least 10 degrees cooler than on Thursday. It was 48 at Spokane International Airport, 49 at Sandpoint, 52 in Pullman and 50 in Deer Park. Coeur d’Alene remained relatively mild at 56 this morning.

A low pressure center that brought stormy weather earlier this week continues to influence the region’s weather, bringing the cooler temperatures this morning, and a likelihood of clouds and showers or a possible thunderstorm later in the day.

Forecasters said the clear skies this morning were the result of a dry slot associated with an upper level low that was moving along the British Columbia border north of Colville at mid-morning.

A wave of rainfall was wrapping around the low and moving into the western Columbia Basin as of 9 a.m., headed eastward toward Spokane.

The cold air brought by the low to the upper elevations will also allow clouds to form as daytime temperatures warm up by late morning. Because of the clouds that are expected, some areas could reach their high temperatures for the day at noon. Showers may start as early as 11 a.m.

Highs today of 67 in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene and 66 in Spokane Valley and Post Falls are expected with a 60 percent chance of showers in all four locations. A 50 percent chance of thunderstorms is forecast for tonight. Southwest winds today should be about 10 mph.

Precipitation is more likely in areas north of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, especially near the mountains where the risk of rain is at 80 percent. A 40 percent chance of precipitation is forecast for areas to the south in the Palouse and Columbia Basin.

Hazardous weather outlooks for the risk of thunderstorms were posted for today for the mountain areas of Northeast Washington and North Idaho as far south as the Clearwater River region, as well as the southern Columbia Basin around Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Yakima.

The risk of precipitation drops to between 20 percent and 30 percent on Saturday with the higher risk expected closer to the mountains and foothills of the region.

Conditions improve on Sunday with partly sunny skies and highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s.

A warming trend kicks in next week as high pressure forming in the eastern Pacific Ocean moves onshore. Highs should reach the upper 80s to lower 90s by Wednesday and Thursday.


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