Forecast calls for snow this week
The Inland Northwest may have missed out on a white Christmas this year, but forecasters are promising to make up for it this week.
National Weather Service meteorologists on Monday were eyeing a pair of Pacific storm systems moving toward the Inland Northwest.
They are expected to drop an inch or so of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday and again on Thursday night and Friday.
Precipitation across lower elevations of the region should change from snow to rain Friday.
A total of 3.2 inches of snow is expected in Spokane from the two storms, and 2.3 inches of snow are forecasted for Coeur d’Alene.
The New Year’s storm is drawing up mild air from subtropical latitudes and could be similar to the snow and rain that fell across the region Dec. 14 and 15, said forecaster Bob Tobin.
Snow levels around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene will rise to about 3,000 feet Friday.
Cold air is predicted to hang on longer in the northern mountain valleys of Eastern Washington and North Idaho as well as the east slopes of the Cascades on Friday, when freezing rain is possible in the western sections of the Columbia Basin, Tobin said.
A third storm system is possible over the weekend, with a chance of rain Saturday and then rain or snow Saturday night and Sunday.
Southeast Washington and the Lewiston area may see several inches of snow Tuesday night, and forecasters were considering a winter weather advisory for that area.
The National Weather Service on Monday continued an air stagnation advisory for Eastern Washington and North Idaho through Wednesday morning due to a lower elevation temperature inversion. Cold air was held beneath warmer air aloft, causing pollutants not to disperse.
Air quality Monday morning in Spokane went from good to moderately polluted, mostly from wood smoke.
Outdoor burning was banned on Monday in North Idaho.