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Above-normal temps continue into next week

Wed., Dec. 8, 2010, 9:40 a.m.

Above-normal temperatures have settled into the Inland Northwest and are likely to remain over the region through the middle of next week, forecasters said.

Highs will run in the upper 30s with lows ranging mostly in the lower and middle 30s.

Rain is expected on Thursday with a chance of freezing rain early in the day in Moses Lake, Ritzville and possibly Spokane depending on how cold it gets tonight. The forecasted low in downtown Spokane is 34 with 33 at Spokane International Airport.

Snow is possible in the morning in northern valleys and in cities such as Colville and Sandpoint. A winter weather advisory is being issued for those areas for 2 inches or more of snow.

Rain, snow or rain and snow are likely into next week with a series of storm impulses expected to arrive mainly from the west and southwest.

Normal temperatures in Spokane for Dec. 8 are 34 for a high and 23 for a low.

Snow was falling this morning at Schweitzer ski area near Sandpoint. As much as 10 inches of new snow could fall in mountains of North Idaho through Friday, and 12 to 18 inches in the mountains of the central Panhandle where a winter storm warning was issued for Thursday, forecasters said.

Mountains to the north in Northeast Washington and North Idaho will be under a less-severe winter weather advisory.

Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 Wednesday went from mostly bare and wet early in the day to snowy and treacherous from a second storm impulse at mid-morning.

Heavy snow is likely in the Cascades for the next several days.

The snow level should stay in the mountains until Friday when it falls to 2,200 feet in elevation.

Wet snow could fall over the lowlands and then change to rain as a mild storm system advances into the region Saturday night and Sunday.

Today, a winter weather advisory was cancelled at mid-morning for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas as well as central and Eastern Washington after an early-morning storm brought all rain and good driving conditions to the Spokane region.

The morning commute went well across the urban areas of the region, although some of the outlying roads in rural locations were reportedly icy.

As the storm system raced eastward, parts of the region fell under a spell of bright sunshine.

Forecasters said that a push of warm air from the southwest had overtaken most of the Columbia Basin and was lifting northward into North Idaho.

The line between cold air left over from last weekend and the advancing mild air off the Pacific saw a wintry mix of snow, rain and freezing rain this morning.

Rain had stopped in downtown Spokane by 9 a.m.

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