Scattered thunderstorms hit region

TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2009, 3:44 P.M.

Scattered thunderstorms cropped up across the region again this afternoon and evening after severe weather hit Northeast Washington and the Idaho Panhandle overnight.

On a day that included a tornado alert and multiple severe thunderstorm warnings, storms were forecast in northeast Washington, the Idaho Panhandle, the North Cascades and the Okanogan Highlands, according to the National Weather Service in Spokane.

A tornado warning for Pend Oreille and Bonner counties expired at 4:15 p.m. The weather service reported fallen trees in Coolin, Idaho, and damage at a marina near Kalispel Bay after storms moved through the area.

Highs today were expected to reach 93 in downtown Spokane, 90 at Spokane International Airport, 89 in Spokane Valley, 91 in Post Falls and 90 in Coeur d’Alene.

A heat advisory is in effect for the lower Columbia Basin around the Tri-Cities, where temperatures near 100 were expected today.

A strong series of storms overnight dropped nearly a half inch of rain at Coeur d’Alene Airport between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. Nearly an inch of rain was recorded by a community weather observer northeast of Elk in north Spokane County. A quarter inch of rain was reported near Wallace.

A half inch fell at Spirit Lake between 12:20 and 3 a.m.

Based on reports this morning, the storm appeared to be centered over the Selkirk Mountains along the Washington-Idaho border into North Idaho, and moved from north to south.

Priest Lake saw its half inch of rainfall starting around 11 p.m.

In Priest River, law officers reported to the weather service that at least eight trees were blown down with some hitting residential roofs and some falling in city streets from winds accompanying the overnight thunderstorms.

The Spokane airport had only .04 inches of rain. Felts Field near Millwood had a trace of precipitation.

Forecasters said that a wave of lower pressure in the upper atmosphere is approaching the region from the north today, and when combined with relatively high humidity, it could set the stage for more convection cumulus clouds and thunderstorms. The dewpoint this morning at the airport was 59 degrees. The risk of thunderstorms is expected to be 20 percent for this evening.

Light east winds on Wednesday should bring drier air and some cooling.

Temperatures are forecasted to drop back into the 80s on Wednesday over much of the region but then rebound by several degrees on Thursday and Friday with mostly sunny and clear conditions. Lows should be in the 50s.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were in the 60s with 67 at the Spokane airport, 61 at Sandpoint, 66 at Cheney, 65 at Coeur d’Alene and 68 at Pullman.

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