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Rain easing but showers expected

Wed., Oct. 14, 2009, 1:54 p.m.

Moderate rainfall through midday is easing this afternoon, but forecasters said there is a likelihood of more showers through tonight.

Radar images show that a steady stream of precipitation earlier today is showing breaks, and the sun reappeared in Spokane.

The band of heavier precipitation has moved eastward nto the mountains of North Idaho east of Coeur d’Alene and Moscow.

Spokane International Airport reported .56 inch of rain so far from the storm that started late Tuesday and brought moderate rainfall during most of the morning starting about 1 a.m.

Elsewhere, rainfall totals across Eastern Washington were mostly running from a third to half inch, including normally dry areas of the Columbia Basin.

Pullman on Tuesday tied a daily rainfall record of .24 inches, which was last seen in 1996.

Highs today should reach the middle 50s with lows in the lower 40s with light winds from the east shifting to the south.

Drier conditions are expected on Thursday and Friday before another storm system arrives for late Friday and Saturday.

A deep low pressure center off the Pacific Coast this morning has been drawing tropical moisture from the western Pacific Ocean, and it has pushed out the dry northern air that brought gusty winds and freezing conditions to the Inland Northwest for most of the past two weeks.

The low is an unusual combination of a cold upper level feature that migrated from Alberta and British Columbia westward to the offshore waters and then merged with a subtropical low originating off the California coast on Tuesday.

The storm slammed into California on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and winds there, and then shifted northward to bring moderate rain to the Inland Northwest overnight.

As a result, the arctic air has retreated to east of the Continental Divide.

Remnants of the cold brought wet snow along the east slopes of the Cascades overnight, forecasters said, and cool conditions persist in the Wenatchee and Methow valleys of north-central Washington.

Today’s rainfall is expected to taper off to a 40 percent chance of showers tonight and then cloudy conditions on Thursday.

Temperatures should be mild, running from the upper 50s to middle 60s through the weekend with Friday being the warmest day. Lows at night will range from about 39 to 48 degrees.

At 7 a.m., it was 41 at Spokane International Airport, 43 at Felts Field, 39 in Coeur d’Alene, 36 in Sandpoint, 40 in Deer Park and 50 in Pullman.

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