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Showers, gusts blowing through region

TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2009, 7:24 A.M.

Warm up still on track for weekend

A fast-moving cold front is crossed the Inland Northwest this morning bringing showers, gusty winds and the chance of an isolated thunderstorm, especially near the Canadian border, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service this morning issued a hazardous weather outlook for gusts up to 35 mph.

Gusts peaked at 44 mph about noon at Spokane International Airport with sustained wind at 31 mph, both speeds in excess of the morning forecast. Gusts at Coeur d’Alene Airport had reached 29 mph. Felts Field saw a 40 mph gust about noon.

Several weather-related power outages were reported by Avista Utilities in Spokane.

The winds could whip up dust from exposed agricultural areas in the region. The blowing dust should reach the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas but subside later this evening.

Highs today are expected to reach 63 degrees in Spokane and 61 degrees in Coeur d’Alene with similar highs on Wednesday under partly cloudy skies. Lows both nights should be in the upper 30s.

A low-pressure area is moving southeastward from the Gulf of Alaska, pushing today’s cold front ahead of it.

A line of potential thunderstorms was spotted near the Canadian border on radar by the Weather Service late this morning, and meteorologists warned of brief heavy downpours.

The larger low-pressure area is expected to exit the region on Wednesday.

Showers fell across the area as the cold front moved into the region this morning with radar showing some with moderate intensity across the Palouse and Coeur d’Alene areas.

On Tuesday night, an intense storm dropped hail stones up to 1 inch in diameter in Whitman and Asotin counties in Washington and Nez Perce and Latah counties in Idaho between 9 and 9:30 p.m.

A warm-up begins on Thursday as high temperatures return to the 70s and stay there through Monday under a combination of sun and clouds. Lows after Wednesday night return to the 40s.

The high at Spokane International Airport on Monday was 80 degrees where the normal high for today is 67. At Coeur d’Alene Airport, the high was 81.

At 7 a.m., temperatures across the region were mild with most locations in the 50s, including Spokane airport at 50, Coeur d’Alene airport at 57, Felts Field at 56, Sandpoint at 59 and Pullman at 53.

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