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Potent storm bearing down on Inland NW

Winds to gust to 39 mph later today; snow in mountains

Stormy weather is bearing down on the Inland Northwest today with rain or snow and windy conditions expected through tonight.

Light snow was reported at 4 p.m. at Spokane International Airport with a temperature of 34, and light rain was falling in the downtown area at 37 degrees. Snow was also falling in Deer Park. Traffic cameras show that the snow is not sticking to the ground or roadway surfaces.

Snow levels are expected to go from about 2,100 feet to 2,700 feet as the storm moves over the region.

Travel conditions were dicey earlier today across the Cascades with eastbound traffic stopped for an hour on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 this morning. Parts of Central Washington were seeing snow, including Wenatchee and Omak.

At 2 p.m., light snow was reported at Moscow-Pullman Airport.

In Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, the snow and rain may be accompanied by brisk winds with gusts as high as 39 mph in Spokane and 32 mph in Coeur d’Alene later this afternoon. A wind advisory is in effect for the Columbia Basin northward to Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Walla Walla reported wind gusts to 48 mph at 1 p.m.

Highs today may not get above the lower 40s.

The mountains of the region may see substantial snow accumulations. A winter storm warning is in effect for higher elevations. Forecasters are calling for 3 to 5 inches of snow above 2,500 feet in elevation and up to a foot at elevations above 4,500 feet in Northeast Washington and North Idaho.

Snowfall in the mountains should begin later this morning and continue into the nighttime hours, forecasters said.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the Cascades for 1 to 3 feet. Snoqualmie Pass was bare and wet earlier this morning with snow falling, then snow began accumulating on the travel lanes, but conditions have since improved as of early afternoon.

but in the past hour, the travel lanes are getting substantial accumulations near the summit. Snow could slow down the pass again tonight with passage of a cold front expected over the region.

Snow was also accumulating on Elk Heights west of Ellensburg on Interstate 90; at Manastash Ridge on Interstate 82 south of Ellensburg; and Blewett Pass on U.S. Highway 97 north of Ellensburg.

Lookout Pass and Fourth of July Summit were clear this morning, but may become slippery later as the storm arrives.

In the lower elevations, a 70 percent chance of rain continues tonight.

On Saturday, Spokane has a 40 percent chance of rain or snow showers.

Easter has a 20 percent chance of showers after 11 a.m. with a high near 50 degrees.

Tags: snow, weather