Temperatures well above normal and mostly sunny skies are likely by Friday and Saturday after a weak snow storm passes through the region tonight.
Travel conditions starting Thursday should be favorable in many areas with the exceptions of snow in the Cascades and fog in the lower Columbia Basin.
For today, a snow advisory was issued for the western Columbia Basin, east slopes of the Cascades and Okanogan Valley for 1 to 4 inches of snow.
National Weather Service forecasters said they expect one more light snowfall later today across the rest of the region, but an accumulation of less than an inch or so is about all that can be expected in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas.
That means the snow that’s on the ground after tonight will have to last until Saturday if the Inland Northwest is going to see a white Christmas.
Spokane International Airport had 2 inches on the ground at last report.
Nighttime temperatures in the middle 20s through Friday night should help preserve the thin snow pack, but highs near 40 and partly sunny to mostly sunny skies could threaten to deplete what’s left as the holiday arrives. The high in downtown Spokane on Friday may reach 40 under mostly sunny skies.
Then on Christmas Day, highs should rise to 45 in downtown Spokane and 43 in Coeur d’Alene under mostly cloudy skies.
The chance of lowland rain enters the forecast on Sunday with a snow level of 2,400 feet.
The normal high for Spokane this time of year is 32 with a normal low of 21.
The weak frontal system to cross the region tonight will be the last of the diminished stormy weather of recent days.
That means that travel conditions should be mostly good across the region with the exception of the Cascade passes where snow is still possible until Friday night. However, heavy snowfall is not in the forecast after daytime hours Thursday.
Snow could possibly spill over the Cascades into areas along the eastern slopes where slight chances of snow will persist into the holiday weekend.
Fog is not expected to be a problem in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, although a dense fog advisory is in effect today for the lower Columbia Basin and Yakima Valleys. Fog may recur in those areas on Thursday night into Saturday.
A deep low off the Pacific coast that’s been sending the strongest storms into California and the Great Basin areas this week will promote higher air pressure across the region until Sunday and keep most precipitation west of the Cascades until Sunday.
At 7 a.m., it was 25 degrees at Spokane International Airport, 34 in Pullman, 26 in Coeur d’Alene and 27 at Felts Field and Deer Park.