The weather outlook through the Christmas holiday should be favorable for drivers across the Inland Northwest, with the exception of snow expected over the mountains of Northeast Washington and North Idaho through midday Wednesday.
As colder temperatures arrive in the region, light snow may find its way to the lower elevations tonight, but accumulations are going to be light, forecasters said.
“If you don’t have snow on the ground now, the chances of a white Christmas are pretty slim,” said forecaster John Livingston.
Winter officially arrived at 9:47 a.m. Monday.
Today’s change of weather replaces a series of storms that turned a dry December into a wet month in just the past week.
Spokane International Airport had 0.57 inches of rain for the 24 hours ending at 2 p.m. on Monday and more than 1.5 inches for the month.
A high pressure system with drier weather will move into the region by Wednesday, ending the threat of rain or snow. Fog is possible early and late each day from Thursday night through Saturday morning and appears to be the biggest potential problem for drivers on Christmas Eve into Saturday.
After the chance of sun on Thursday, the weather should turn cloudy.
Precipitation is not forecasted from Wednesday night through Sunday.
Highs should start out in the middle 30s today, then cool to the middle to upper 20s on Wednesday through Saturday. Lows should range from 15 to 23.
Passes on Interstate 90 in Washington and Idaho were open Monday with slush on Snoqualmie and Lookout passes and wet pavement on Fourth of July Summit.
Snow could be a problem for driving through the mountains of Idaho, where up to 7 inches is forecasted through midday Wednesday in the vicinity of Lookout Pass.
Mild weather last weekend had softened snow at ski resorts, but a cool-down starting Monday along with new snow in the forecast was going to improve winter recreation conditions, forecasters said. The normal high in Spokane for late December is 32 and the normal low is 21.