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Rain creating traffic hazards

Fri., Oct. 23, 2009, 7:25 a.m.

Drying seen for Saturday

Moderate rainfall today is creating traffic hazards as storm drains, partly blocked by fall foliage, are having trouble keeping up with all the water.

Authorities have reported some locations with minor flooding on roadways.

Rain should continue throughout the day, but forecasters are calling for relatively nice weather on Saturday into Sunday as the Inland Northwest enjoys a break between wet Pacific storm systems.

The chance of rain today in Spokane is 100 percent with a high near 50 and light southeast winds, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain today is being brought by a higher level cloud formation ahead of a cold front, which is expected to arrive in the Spokane region by evening. Rain will turn to showers as the cold front passes, but winds will start to kick up. Gusts to 18 mph tonight could start shaking some of the autumn leaves to the ground.

A wind advisory was issued for tonight for the Ellensburg area, where gusts could exceed 30 mph along Interstate 90 in the Kittitas Valley.

Temperatures tonight in Spokane will again remain above freezing as they have for about the past 10 days with lows in the lower 40s.

Saturday should be partly sunny with highs in the lower 50s. Because of the clearing and cooler air behind today’s front, temperatures Saturday night could reach freezing with a low of 32.

The cold may cause patchy fog Sunday morning. The middle part of the day on Sunday is going to be cloudy with only a 20 percent chance of showers ahead of yet another Pacific storm expected on Sunday night.

Temperatures fall a few degrees early next week as a high pressure system forms off the Washington and British Columbia coastline and sets up a cooler northwesterly flow.

At 7 a.m. today, temperatures were 41 at Spokane International Airport, 39 in Deer Park and 43 in Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint and Pullman.

Observations at the airport this morning indicate that rain began falling just before 7 a.m.

The normal high in Spokane today is 55 degrees, and the normal low is 34. Thursday’s high was 50. Spokane airport has seen 0.88 inches of rain this month, compared with an average through Oct. 22 of 0.64 inches. Since Jan. 1, precipitation has totaled nearly 11 inches, but that is almost 1 inch below normal for the year.

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