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More snow coming for holiday eve

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 30, 2009, 3:54 P.M.

Snow to change to rain about 10 p.m. Thursday

The main band of overnight snowfall Wednesday has exited the Inland Northwest, but forecasters said snow showers are likely to continue until the next snow storm arrives about 4 p.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service this afternoon issued watches and warnings for various parts of the Inland Northwest.

The Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas as well as the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho are under a less serious hazardous weather outlook through most of Thursday evening when snow is expected to change to rain by 10 p.m.

Light accumulations in Spokane this morning created an icy gloss on some arterial roads where deicer was applied to melt snow, but before deicer could eliminate the frozen layer. Untreated residential streets were not as icy.

Interstate 90 was slick in the early hours, too, and several accidents were reported.

I-90 mountain passes in Idaho and Washington were open Wednesday and moving with icy patches in the Idaho passes and snow and slush on Snoqualmie Pass.

Forecaster said snow showers are likely to continue tonight and early on Thursday prior to the arrival of another Pacific storm system that is pulling milder air with it. Accumulations of less than a half inch are possible by morning

On Thursday, the next storm should arrive in the Spokane region about 4 p.m. and bring up to an inch or more before changing to rain about 10 p.m. across lower elevations of the region with rain continuing through Friday.

The storm will help scour out the frigid air that has been entrenched in the lower elevations of the Columbia Basin for several days.

That cold winter air is likely to be driven to the north and west by Thursday’s storm and remain trapped in mountain valleys of North Idaho, Northeast Washington and north-central Washington. Those locations are likely to see more snow and less rain on Thursday through Saturday, forecasters said.

Snow levels in the mountainous areas to the north should rise on Friday to about 2,500 feet, creating a chance of snow or rain in places like Sandpoint, Colville and Newport. Snow levels rise on Friday to 4,500 feet in the central Idaho Panhandle.

The western Columbia Basin and north-central Washington could see some sleet or freezing rain on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Chances of rain or snow in Spokane drop to 40 percent on Saturday, 20 percent Saturday night and 30 percent on Sunday.

Through the weekend, temperatures are going to rise into the 30s for highs - possibly to 36 or 37 on Thursday and Friday - and down to the 20s and lower 30s for lows.

The normal temperatures for late December in Spokane are 32 for a high and 20 for a low.

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