Forecasters are now saying that an incoming Pacific storm Saturday night will initially bring snow before warmer air arrives and scours out temperatures at or just below freezing.
The storm system is currently located north of Hawaii today and is expected to stream mild air and rain into the region by Sunday, sending snow levels above mountain tops in the Central Panhandle and Blue Mountains.
In Spokane, forecasters are calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow on Saturday night and 3 to 5 inches in Coeur d’Alene before the precipitation turns to rain after 4 a.m. Sunday.
For tonight, forecasters are calling for rain and mild conditions with the temperature staying near 40 until Friday when cooler air filters into the region. The snow level is expected to drop to 2,200 feet during the day on Friday.
Even so, temperatures are expected to remain above normal into early next week. The normal high for today is 34 with a normal low of 23.
Highs through the weekend should be in the upper 30s to lower 40s with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s. Periods of rain, snow or rain and snow are likely.
Snowfall amounts of 5 to 9 inches are possible in North Idaho’s mountains north of Coeur d’Alene with amounts ranging up to 7 inches in the mountains of Northeast Washington north of Spokane.
Even heavier snow is possible in the mountains of the central Panhandle of Idaho and southwestern Montana where a winter storm warning is in effect. Snowfall amounts of 1 to 2 feet are possible.
A winter storm warning is also in effect for the west side of the Cascades where 5 to 11 inches of snow may fall in the coming two days.
Snoqualmie Pass had snow and slush on the Interstate 90 roadway this morning. In Idaho, Lookout Pass had snow along the roadway, but bare pavement showing in the travel lanes. Fourth of July Pass was showing a wet road surface with snow alongside the freeway.
The high at Spokane International Airport on Wednesday was 40. The snow pack at the airport this morning was 7 inches. November saw 25.9 inches of snow, which set a record for the month.
At 3 p.m., it was 39 at the airport, 40 at Felts Field, 37 in Coeur d’Alene, 40 Pullman and 36 in Deer Park.