A crisp, clear day dawned over the Spokane area, but clouds moved into the region from the west this afternoon and are expected to hang over the region for some time.
The fair weather has been coming from a system of higher air pressure that was extending north and south along the western U.S. and Canada and bringing another mild winter day to the region.
Clouds are expected again on Friday before a new Pacific storm system moves onshore Friday night and Saturday.
Earlier today, fog limited visibilities in some locations from Lake Coeur d’Alene northward toward the Canadian border, including parts of northeast Washington.
Low clouds and fog were also reported in the lower and western portions of the Columbia Basin today to the west of Spokane.
Freezing fog had created a driving hazard earlier, forecasters said.
Highs moved into the lower 40s in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene today with lows tonight near 30.
Friday should be a quiet day in the weather, too, with clouds and highs in the middle 40s.
The high-pressure ridge moves east Friday night, allowing a band of Pacific moisture to move inland and raising the risk of rain or top snow through the weekend.
Forecasters are calling for a 30 percent chance of rain on Friday night increasing to a 60 percent chance on Saturday. By Saturday night, enough cooler air will have moved into the area that the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain or snow.
The snow level is expected to drop to 2,300 feet in elevation on Sunday and stay at that level through Monday night.
Spokane International Airport is at 2,370 feet and downtown Spokane is at 1,850 feet. The chance of snow is most likely late at night through early morning when temperatures are at their coolest.
Temperatures are expected to remain several degrees warmer than the normal temperatures for the last few days of January of 35 during the day and 23 at night.
At 2 p.m., it was 40 at the airport, 43 in downtown Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, 40 in Deer Park and 42 in Pullman.