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Formidable storm dumps rain, big hail

SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2009

Funnel clouds sighted south of Lake Roosevelt

A strong thunderstorm bringing flash floods, funnel clouds and large hail moved across rural areas of Lincoln County, northeast Adams County and northwestern Whitman County on Saturday.

Hail as large as an inch in diameter fell on the west side of Sprague Lake along Interstate 90, according to a report received by the National Weather Service. Water was reported across the roadway on state Highway 23 northwest of Sprague. Short-lived funnel clouds, also known as land spouts, were sighted in Lincoln County south of Lake Roosevelt, said forecaster Ron Miller.

The storm spread into a series of disturbances along a line from Quincy in central Washington to east of Lewiston by late afternoon.

At its height, the storm was centered 22 miles west of Cheney and eight miles northwest of Sprague and moving southeast at 20 mph. A severe thunderstorm warning was posted at the time.

A Canadian cold front and its associated storm energy pushed through the Inland Northwest on Saturday, creating clouds, showers, thunderstorms and northeast winds across the region. Driven by a low pressure system in southern Canada, the front ran into another low pressure area that had moved inland from the California coast during the past day.

Air from the two systems was moving in opposite directions in the middle elevations over Eastern Washington in what’s known as a “deformation band,” which created the dynamics for the severe weather, said forecaster Kerry Jones.

Highs today should be in the upper 60s under mostly cloudy skies with lows in the 40s. The chance of showers is 20 percent during the day and 30 percent in the evening in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Thunderstorms are possible along the mountains of North Idaho.

Jones said the chance of thunderstorms may increase on Monday and Tuesday as temperatures warm into the 70s both days.


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