December 27, 2010 in City, Idaho

Winter is back: snow and cold ahead

By The Spokesman-Review
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Winter weather is making a grand return to the Inland Northwest this week.

A pair of snow storms is projected to reach the Inland Northwest tonight through Wednesday morning ahead of an arctic air intrusion this weekend.

As much as 10 inches of new snow could fall by Wednesday afternoon in Spokane and 13 inches in Coeur d’Alene.

The National Weather Service has posted winter weather advisories for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas along with the northern portion of the Palouse and Columbia Basin.

Accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible tonight in Spokane with 2 to 4 inches likely in Coeur d’Alene through about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Northeast Washington and much of North Idaho are under a more severe winter weather advisories where snow is expected to accumulate to as much as 7 inches.

The second half of the storm arrives with accumulations in the 6 to 10 inch range Tuesday night and Wednesday, said forecaster Matt Fugazzi.

A relatively mild storm system is swinging into the region from subtropical latitudes of the Pacific Ocean, which will create a mix of snow and rain at times on Tuesday when highs reach the middle to upper 30s. Higher elevations and cities near the mountains will see more snow than rain.

Fugazzi said there will be enough cold air in place on Wednesday to keep that part of the storm event as all snow in the region with the highest amounts in far Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Then on Thursday, temperatures start to plummet with highs only in the lower 20s and lows on Thursday night in the single digits as arctic air invades the region from the north.

It should get even colder in time for New Year’s Eve with highs on Friday in the teens. The rest of the weekend will remain frigid as well.

On Sunday, a fast-moving thunderstorm brought a mix of snow and rain to Spokane, and as it moved to the northeast, it brought an electrical storm to the ski area at Mount Spokane. Ski lifts were temporarily evacuated until the storm passed.

At 7 a.m. today, it was 29 at Spokane International Airport, 31 at Felts Field and 30 in Deer Park and Coeur d’Alene.

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