March 31, 2009 in City, Idaho

Wind advisory issued as new storm strikes

By The Spokesman-Review
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A wind advisory and hazardous weather outlook for snow are in effect for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas today, and a winter weather advisory for snow has been posted for the mountain areas south and east of Coeur d’Alene this evening.

Light snow fell earlier in the day at Spokane International Airport, Fairchild Air Force Base, Deer Park, Pullman and Sandpoint.

At 2:30 p.m., a line of snow showers with lightning quickly moved across the urban areas, causing several small power outages and knocking down lines in the Spokane area.

Today’s rain and snow should be replaced by cold, gusty conditions and the possibility of rain or snow Wednesday night and Thursday with lingering showers into Friday, forecasters said. A low of 29 is expected tonight. Breezy to windy weather is also expected through the week with highs in the 40s and lows near 33.

Forecasters said today’s cold front could whip up gusts as high as 45 mph across the Spokane region and as high as 50 mph in the Columbia Basin, but the winds were well below that this afternoon.

A high wind warning for gusts to 60 mph was issued for the lower Columbia Basin this afternoon.

The wind advisory is in effect for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas until 8 p.m. The chance of showers drops to 30 percent tonight.

Any new measureable snow at the Spokane airport would add to the season’s record snowfall of 93.6 inches – the most that has been recorded since 1893, when snowfall measurements started.

Only a trace of snow fell at the airport and weather service office near Airway Heights this morning.

A trained spotter located 5.5 miles northeast of Hayden in North Idaho reported 4.5 inches of snow by 9:45 a.m.

The winter weather advisory today for the mountainous areas of North Idaho south and east of Coeur d’Alene is calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow in valley areas and 5 to 8 inches in the mountains, including Lookout Pass.

On Snoqualmie Pass, conditions improved this afternoon after traction tires were advised with wet snow and slush on the pavement. Warnings for avalanches and heavy snow were in effect for the Washington Cascades.

Snowpack continues to build in the mountains this month, going from about 80 percent of normal in the Spokane River watershed, including streams that feed Lake Coeur d’Alene, to about 92 percent on Monday.

The mountains in Okanogan, Ferry and Stevens counties have a leaner snowpack. Reports on Monday showed that the amount of water in the snowpack is about 66 percent of normal there. Pend Oreille County mountains are at 92 percent of normal.

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