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Snow shower causes near whiteout conditions

Mon., Jan. 25, 2010, 7:31 a.m.

The National Weather Service said a short but intense snow shower this morning created near whiteout conditions as it moved from west to east across the Spokane region.

The heavy snowfall with large flakes had reduced visibility in the area, forecasters said. Snowfall eased up by 9:30 a.m. as the heaviest shower band moved east into western Montana. As much as an inch of snow was expected to accumulate.

Forecasters said the heavy snow was a threat to drivers, and cautioned motorists to watch out for ice and slush on roadways.

Despite the morning snow today, mild January weather is expected across the Inland Northwest this week with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

Showers are expected to continue today with a high in the upper 30s. Lows this week should be in the middle 20s to lower 30s.

Mountain passes in Washington and Idaho reported a mix of conditions with snow and slush on Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 in the Cascades and icy patches on Lookout Pass and Fourth of July Summit in North Idaho.

A weak Pacific storm system is moving out of the area this morning after bringing light precipitation overnight. The storm could produce additional showers during the day, especially over the mountains.

From 2 to 4 inches of snow are likely in the mountains north of Spokane and in North Idaho. The snow level today is about 2,500 feet.

Higher air pressure should move into the region starting Tuesday and bring another round of sunny weather following last week’s mild sunshine, forecasters said.

At 7 a.m., it was 33 at Spokane International Airport, 35 in downtown Spokane, 34 in Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park and 35 in Pullman.

The normal high for today is 34 with a normal low of 23.

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