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Cloudy and mild today, rain Saturday

Fri., Oct. 16, 2009, 7:50 a.m.

Clouds and mild temperatures today will provide a break in what’s expected to be a series of moist Pacific storms on Saturday through next week.

The Inland Northwest is likely to see a pretty wet weekend.

A stream of subtropical moisture is poised just offshore in the Pacific Ocean with a trailing frontal system stretching southwestward to just north of the Hawaiian Islands this morning, National Weather Service forecasters said.

A dry ridge of higher air pressure rests over the Inland Northwest this morning, and it is blocking the storm’s progress eastward for the time being, leaving the region mostly dry today.

Highs in the middle 60s with clouds and calm winds are expected early today. Light wind will increase from the southeast later today as the incoming frontal band moves into the Cascades.

The moisture plume is pointed initially toward the North Cascades, Wenatchee and Okanogan areas, which could use additional rain following drought conditions earlier this year. Rainfall amounts could be in the half-inch range.

The front will slowly move eastward later today, and bring rain northwest of a line from Sandpoint to Yakima during the early morning hours on Saturday, forecasters said.

The rain crosses the rest of the Inland Northwest during the day on Saturday, and will shift its main energy into southeast Washington and the Idaho Panhandle mountains, forecasters said.’

In Spokane, the chance of rain is 20 percent tonight, 70 percent on Saturday and 90 percent on Saturday night. The front moves eastward on Sunday when a 50 percent chance of rain continues.

Additional storm systems are likely on Tuesday night and Wednesday and again on Oct. 23.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were 45 at Spokane International Airport, 44 at Coeur d’Alene, 41 at Sandpoint and 51 in Pullman. Clouds were reported at most locations in the region.

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