National Weather Service forecaster this afternoon that the region’s first significant snowfall could strike Friday morning, but they don’t expect accumulations to become a major traffic hazard.
A fast-moving cold front out of the Gulf of Alaska has enough cold air and moisture to bring snow levels down to the floor of the region’s valleys, but it may not be cold enough for the snow to cause icy conditions on roadways, said forecaster Matt Fugazzi.
The chance of precipitation was being forecast at 100 percent for this morning, and the likelihood is that it will fall in the form of snow by late morning, he said.
“We are going to get something,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a lot.”
Accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible on grassy areas, but roadways may see mostly slush and water since ground temperatures are still in the upper 30s across the region, Fugazzi said.
Daytime highs above freezing Friday could ease the effect of any snowfall.
“It’s not going to be a big snow event, and it’s not certain it’s going to stick to the roads,” he said.
Colder air moving into the region behind Friday’s cold front should drop overnight lows into the lower 20s tonight and Saturday night with highs over the weekend with highs Saturday and Sunday in the middle 30s.
Milder air returns by Monday when the high is expected to reach the middle to upper 40s in advance of a chance of rain Monday night and Tuesday.
The chance of snow starts tonight at 30 percent in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, mainly after 4 a.m. Friday.
Breezy winds from the south could accompany the snow on Friday.
This morning, visibilities of a quarter-mile or less were reported in the region with the heaviest fog along the Interstate 90 corridor from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene. Temperatures below freezing increased the risk for slippery roadways, forecasters said.
It was 30 degrees at Spokane International Airport, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint and Pullman at 6 a.m.
Traffic collisions were reported in the region, including one at U.S. Highway 195 at Spangle and another on North Idaho’s state Highway 53 at Ramsey Road near Post Falls.