Sunshine to give way to rain tonight and Wednesday

Today’s sunshine is slowly disappearing as a new Pacific storm system moves onshore to bring rain to the region by about 9 to 10 p.m.

National Weather Service forecasters said a warm front associated with a low pressure system along the coast is likely to bring rain throughout the region, including the normally dry Columbia Basin farming areas. Measureable precipitation is expected in dryland farming areas with the chance of decent accumulations of about a quarter inch, forecasters said.

Because tonight’s storm is a fairly vigorous system, forecaster Kerry Jones said, “Don’t be surprised if you hear claps of thunder at two, three in the morning.”

Tonight’s storm is the first of two rain storms this week. Another one is expected on Wednesday.

By Wednesday night, as much as a half inch of rain could accumulate in Spokane; .78 inches in Coeur d’Alene; an inch in Sandpoint; .45 inches in Wilbur; .38 inches in Ritzville; and .68 inches in Pullman.

Cool weather is expected to continue through the weekend. Any snow will remain at the highest peaks. The crest of the Cascade mountains could see as much as two to three inches of precipitation through Wednesday, Jones said.

In the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas today, a short-lived high pressure area was centered over the region this morning, but was drifting eastward as high clouds arrived from the southwest in advance of the incoming warm front.

Forecasters were calling for mostly sunny conditions today with highs in the lower 60s and light south winds across the urban areas.

The chance of rain arrives this evening with rain overnight likely. Most of the moisture in the storm is expected to remain south of the Spokane area where accumulations could be significant since the system has tapped into a stream of subtropical moisture, forecasters said.

Gusty winds in excess of 25 mph are expected in the Spokane region Tuesday.

Gardeners should be happy with the overnight forecasts which temperatures in the low 40s tonight and upper 30s for the rest of the week, keeping new plantings safe from freezing conditions.

Also, the amount of rain expected should suspend the need for irrigating lawns and landscaping for the time being, allowing for savings on seasonal water bills.

The average high in Spokane today is 63 and the average low is 40.

Spokane International Airport reported .13 inches of rain over the weekend while Felts Field has .19 inches.

At 7 a.m., temperatures across the region were in the low to middle 40s.

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