Snow, then bitter cold
The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow over the easternmost portion of Washington and North Idaho until nightfall today, with a blizzard warning posted for the Palouse region.
As much as 10 to 12 inches of snow could fall in some locations with amounts of 6 to 9 inches considered very likely over the region.
The snow was expected to fall from the approach of a low pressure system moving northeast off the Oregon Coast and deepening as it tracked inland.
As the low passes through the region, it will open the door initially to gusty west winds to 22 mph before changing to a bitter northerly wind of up to 10 mph by tonight in the Spokane area.
The Palouse could see westerly wind gusts above 40 mph today.
The wind could prove troublesome by causing visibility and drifting problems in exposed areas. Drivers are warned to be prepared for difficult travel conditions.
Temperatures are going to drop tonight and Thursday with the invasion of arctic air.
The cold could deepen by Friday morning with lows at or near zero.
The cold will moderate some over the weekend so that highs go from the middle teens on Friday and Saturday to near 20 in Spokane on Sunday.
Skies are likely to be partly sunny Thursday and sunny to mostly sunny on Friday and Saturday.
Snow that was forecast over the region Tuesday morning did not materialize at lower elevations of Spokane, although a couple of inches of snow fell at higher elevations, including Spokane International Airport.
Coeur d’Alene had up to 2 inches of very heavy snow.
Snow was also reported in southeast Washington.
On Monday night, drivers on Interstate 90 were slowed by near whiteout conditions caused by heavy snow northeast of Ritzville about 9 p.m. Rain was reported in Spokane in the late evening hours.