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Arctic cold won’t let go

Wed., Dec. 9, 2009, 7:37 a.m.

Arctic cold remains entrenched across the Inland Northwest, and forecasters said any serious change won’t come until Monday night and Tuesday.

Between now and then, expect continued cold weather and a chance of snow over the weekend.

Heavy snow is not considered likely on Saturday and Sunday, although light accumulations are possible. Computer forecast models have been having trouble discerning the change from an arctic pattern to a more typical air flow off the Pacific Ocean.

A warm front and the chance of more snow are possible on Monday night and Tuesday, forecasters said.

Highs today should only reach the teens with 18 expected in downtown Spokane and 19 in Coeur d’Alene. It should be partly sunny in Spokane but mostly cloudy in Coeur d’Alene with light winds.

Lows tonight should be about the same as this morning with 6 expected in Spokane and 9 in Coeur d’Alene.

On Tuesday, the official low in Spokane was 1 degree at 7:20 a.m. and the high was 15 degrees at 3:40 p.m. The averages are 34 for a high and 23 for a low.

The city of Spokane announced this morning that it will once again open two warming centers at House of Charity and Salvation Army to provide overnight shelter for homeless persons.

Temperatures begin to rebound on Thursday through the weekend, but not by that much. Highs will be in the 20s. Thursday night should be cold again with 9 in Spokane and 12 in Coeur d’Alene. Highs and lows warm by a few degrees each day through Monday night when the low should be in the upper 20s.

Snow enters the forecast Monday, but the National Weather Service said this morning that there is no strong indication yet of any large snowfall.

Concern earlier this week that a low pressure system might form over the region on Saturday is now being discounted. Computer weather models show a low moving south of the region into Oregon and northern California. Another low is approaching the U.S. and Canadian coast line on Monday and should bring a change to more seasonable temperatures in the 30s by Tuesday.

At 7 a.m., it was 7 at Spokane International Airport with a 10 mph wind, creating a wind chill on the skin of minus 7.

Elsewhere, it was 10 degrees in downtown Spokane, 9 in Coeur d’Alene, 4 in Deer Park and 5 in Pullman.

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