Cool, showery today with freeze coming tonight

TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2009, 7:22 A.M.

Winds add chill to the day

A cool blustery day with showers and thunderstorms possible this afternoon are lined up for the Inland Northwest with a freeze warning issued for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene region, upper Columbia Basin and Palouse for tonight.

An upper level low pressure area is crossing the Cascade Mountains this morning and should bring more unsettled weather to the Inland Northwest through today.

As winds die down tonight, temperatures are expected to fall with low humidity leading to overnight temperatures below freezing. Gardeners and growers are warned that the cold could affect sensitive plants and foliage, including tomatoes, peppers and many bedding plants.

Snow levels in the mountains may fall as low as 4,000 to 4,500 feet and accumulations could run from 2 to 4 inches, forecasters said.

In Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, highs may reach the low 50s – well below normal for mid-May – and the lows tonight are expected to be about 29.

The cool conditions will be sharpened today by winds of 15 to 22 mph with gusts into the low 30s.

Temperatures improve on Wednesday ahead of another advancing rain storm that is expected to move quickly across the Inland Northwest Wednesday night and Thursday, allowing for another weekend warm up starting on Friday. Highs by Sunday could reach the middle 70s.

Normal high temperature for today in Spokane is 65.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were in the low to middle 40s across the region with 40 at Spokane International Airport, 42 in Pullman, 43 at Felts Field and Sandpoint and 44 in Coeur d’Alene.

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