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Snow arrives tonight

Tue., Dec. 29, 2009, 7:31 a.m.

The first in a series of Pacific storm systems should arrive across the Inland Northwest tonight bringing light amounts of snow to the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas and potentially deeper amounts from Rosalia southward.

The National Weather Service is calling for 2.3 inches in Spokane and 3.0 inches in Coeur d’Alene from a storm arriving about midnight and continuing Wednesday morning.

A weak disturbance earlier today led to clearing skies this afternoon. Lows tonight should be in the middle 20s as the region undergoes a bit of a warming trend.

The Washington and Idaho Palouse region could see 2 to 5 inches through midday Wednesday. A winter weather advisory was posted for southeast Washington and the central Idaho Panhandle.

Also, a stagnation advisory remains in effect in all of Eastern Washington and North Idaho through 10 a.m. Wednesday after the stable conditions over the past week had created a cold air inversion below 3,000 feet in elevation.

Air quality in Spokane improved overnight to the good range from moderate pollution levels Monday afternoon.

A stronger storm system is expected to bring more snow on Thursday night and a possibility of rain after 10 p.m. in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Rain should continue on Friday before 10 a.m. and then switch to a mix of rain and snow later on Friday when the high reaches the middle 30s. A low pressure area passing to the north of Spokane may create moderate winds to go along with the rain and now.

Additional Pacific storm systems are expected every 24 to 48 hours through next week, forecasters said.

Spokane has seen less than half its normal snowfall for the season with 8.8 inches measures so far at Spokane International Airport compared with a normal of 20 inches for the season by today.

By this time last year, Spokane had already received 52.9 inches of snowfall.

At 7 a.m., it was 24 at Spokane International Airport, 27 in downtown Spokane, 25 in Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park and 24 in Pullman. The high at the airport Monday was 24.

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