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Weather warnings issued

A winter weather advisory for 2 to 4 inches of snow beginning at 4 a.m. today has been issued for the Spokane area, and forecasters said even heavier snow could fall in North Idaho.

The advisory was accompanied by a more severe winter storm warning for North Idaho and Stevens, Pend Oreille and northern Spokane counties in Washington.

About 5 inches is expected in Coeur d’Alene while a foot or more could fall in the Silver Valley of Shoshone County. As much as 15 inches of snow could come to the mountains, where winter snowpacks earlier this week were about three-quarters of the normal amount for early March.

Warming daytime temperatures should allow the snow to melt quickly off roadways, forecasters said. A high of 36 is expected in Spokane.

This comes after a strong rain and thunderstorm Tuesday night moved across the Columbia Basin, extending into Spokane and North Idaho. That disturbance was connected with a broad system that had moved south of the area through Oregon Tuesday night.

Some impressive rainfall was seen in the normally dry Columbia Basin, including .8 inches in Ritzville, .6 inches in Reardan, .8 inches in East Wenatchee and .4 inches in Royal City. Farmers said they need the rain now for dryland crops this summer.

A cold front moving south out of British Columbia was expected to bring the snow as well as a drop in temperatures through the weekend. Lows Thursday night could fall to the low 20s and then to the teens Friday night.

A 30- to 40-percent chance of snow is forecast for Spokane on Saturday, and more cold air on Sunday with a low of 17. Highs should reach the low- to mid-30s through the weekend.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or