Travel weather still looking good

TUESDAY, NOV. 24, 2009, 7:32 A.M.

Snow levels expected to rise through Thursday

Travel weather over the Thanksgiving holiday continues to be mostly favorable, although a pair of Pacific weather systems should bring precipitation today and Thanksgiving night.

Light rain this morning is expected to continue for several hours, but forecasters said they expect it to end by this afternoon. The forecast calls for a chance of snow mixed with the rain, but accumulations are unlikely in lower elevations.

A warm front on Wednesday should raise snow levels and give drivers over the mountain passes a break from the risk of snow during the pre-holiday travel period.

Snow levels are expected to rise to 4,500 feet in northeast Washington and North Idaho on Wednesday. Snow showers are possible Saturday and Sunday in the mountains.

Fog is possible tonight in the Columbia Basin, and could appear periodically during calm weather periods, said meteorologist John Livingston.

Highs today through Friday should reach the lower 40s across Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

A Pacific storm system is expected to move across western Washington into the Cascades on Thursday into Friday, but snow levels are expected to remain elevated in the Cascades with rain at Snoqualmie Pass.

Forecasters said their computer models were unclear about how much precipitation the system would bring to the Inland Northwest on Thursday night and Friday.

Forecasters are calling for a 70 percent chance of rain Friday in Spokane and an 80 percent chance of rain in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday night and Friday. There is a chance of snow Friday night in Coeur d’Alene. Saturday and Sunday should bring clouds and highs near 38 in Spokane.

Mountain passes are likely to see snow showers on Saturday and Sunday. Major accumulations of snow are not expected on those two days.

Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 this morning was bare and wet with a temperature of 35.

In Idaho, Fourth of July Summit had light snow and slush, and Lookout Pass had light snow and wet pavement.

At 7 a.m., it was 34 at Spokane International Airport and Coeur d’Alene and 37 in downtown Spokane. Light rain was falling in Spokane while cloudy conditions were reported elsewhere in the region.

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