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Cold, clear weather continues

Cold, dry air remains entrenched across the Inland Northwest, and forecasters said it’s going to get even colder on Sunday through Tuesday.

The dewpoint at daybreak this morning at Spokane International Airport was 13 degrees while the temperature was 17 under crisp blue skies.

Highs through Saturday should reach the 30s with lows at night in the teens to low 20s.

Forecasters said the relatively dry air would keep the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area largely free of stratus clouds and fog. However, a layer of fog was reported in the Palouse moving west toward Ritzville and north toward Coulee Dam and was expected to persist through 10 a.m.

Fog can often settle over the Inland Northwest under stable weather conditions this time of year.

A strong high pressure area has been in place along the West Coast this week, which is bringing the bright but cold conditions under a northerly air flow.

Air quality has deteriorated from the good to the moderate category today with primary pollutant being fine particles of smoke in the air.

A 20 percent chance of snow is in the forecast for late Friday and Saturday as an upper elevation low pressure area is expected to drop south along the eastern side of the high.

That in turn will reinforce and deepen the late autumn cold with temperatures likely to fall to 10 or 11 degrees on both Sunday and Monday nights. Highs Monday may not get out of the upper teens.

A moderate El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean often leads to drier-than-normal weather across the region. Typical of El Nino is a strong high pressure system in the western U.S., which blocks storms from crossing the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. The current weather is consistent with the history of El Nino events.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were 17 in downtown Spokane, 18 in Coeur d’Alene, 14 in Deer Park and 19 in Pullman.