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Winds kick up dust

Cooler weather coming Saturday

Gusty winds today were raising a light haze of dust in Spokane late this morning and early afternoon from a mostly dry Pacific frontal system that was crossed the region.

Air quality in Spokane went into the unhealthful range for about an hour from noon to 1 p.m. when air pollution devices atop the Spokane Regional Health Building showed the air contained 258 micrograms of dust per cubic meter of air.

The reading dropped to 177 micrograms during the hour from 1 to 2 p.m., and continued to drop as the dust storm eased, said Ron Edgar of the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

The federal air quality standard is based on a 24-hour average, which Edgar said would probably fall in the moderately polluted range as a result of the storm.

Isolated thunderstorms were possible across the region through today, and the National Weather Service had warned boaters on Lake Roosevelt to take precautions against winds associated with any potential storms.

Winds at Spokane International Airport were being clocked at 24 mph with gusts to 35 mph just before noon. Gusts to 38 mph were reported in Pullman.

Highs today were expected to reach the upper 70s across the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, but the temperature was in the middle 70s at the airport at 3 p.m.

The cooler, windy weather brought a noticeable change from the high of 90 on Wednesday at Spokane International Airport.

A Pacific cold front was moving across the region this morning, and bringing with it the risk of showers. Thunderstorms were possible across the upper Columbia Basin and Okanogan region today.

The National Weather Service posted a “red flag warning” for fire danger through 9 a.m. for that area. Radar images this morning showed precipitation in the Wenatchee and Omak areas.

Friday’s weather is expected to be a bit of a rebound to summer conditions. Sun is forecast for Friday with highs in the lower 80s.

Then a series of weather disturbances from a Pacific low pressure area will move onshore starting Saturday, forecasters said. Highs should continue in the lower 80s on Saturday, but a cold front will raise the chance of showers to about 40 percent Saturday night and cause significant cooling on Sunday and Monday when highs drop to the lower 70s on Sunday and middle 60s on Monday. Overnight lows may fall to the upper 40s across the region,

The chance of showers is pegged at 40 percent Saturday night and Sunday in the Spokane area. Light snow could fall across the highest peaks of the region Sunday night, forecasters said.

But today, highs should reach 80 in downtown Spokane, Spokane Valley and Coeur d’Alene with 79 expected in Post Falls. Temperatures should rebound by a few degrees on Friday as a break between cold fronts provides mostly sunny skies.

At 7 a.m., temperatures were summer-like with 68 at Spokane International Airport, 64 in Coeur d’Alene, 55 in Sandpoint, 59 in Deer Park and 66 in Pullman.

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