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Dry northerly flow today may set up snow for Thursday

Wed., Oct. 28, 2009, noon

Less than half inch possible

A crisp cold morning today is setting the stage for wintry conditions when the next in a series of Pacific storms moves into the region on Thursday.

Light snow from an afternoon shower cloud was falling in the Coeur d’Alene area about 4 p.m. today.

On Thursday morning, light snow accumulations of less than a half inch are possible in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

The chance of snow is 70 percent in Coeur d’Alene and 80 percent in Spokane. A rain and snow mix is possible in Spokane by late morning.

A cold northerly flow caused temperatures across the region to drop into the 20s this morning, and the high under mostly sunny skies was only reached the lower 40s in Spokane this afternoon.

Another round of cold tonight with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s will create conditions favorable for snow in the morning, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service has posted a winter storm watch for areas northwest of Spokane, including Ferry and Okanogan counties. Earlier, the winter storm watch area included broad area of Northeast Washington and North Idaho, but the watch zone was reduced in size this afternoon.

October snow of an inch or more is relatively rare in Spokane. The last time at least an inch fell in October in Spokane was in 1984.

Snow should transition to a rain-and-snow mix afternoon Thursday when temperatures climb into the upper 30s in the Spokane. The cold air should hang around Coeur d’Alene area a little longer, but a rain-snow mix is expected later in the day.

As the Pacific system scours out cold air, the precipitation should turn to all rain or rain showers by Thursday night, forecasters said.

Another shot of rain is expected on Friday and Saturday with Sunday appearing to be the nicest day of the weekend. Drier weather is expected early next week.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were 27 at Spokane International Airport, 28 in downtown Spokane, 30 in Coeur d’Alene, 21 in Deer Park, 27 in Sandpoint and 25 in Pullman.

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