June 16, 2010 in City, Idaho

Flood watch issued for N. Idaho with more rain on way

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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A flood watch has been issued today for portions of North Idaho and western Montana as a moist storm system moves into the Inland Northwest from the south, carrying the potential for an inch of rain in the mountains and up to a half inch of rain in valley locations.

The moisture will spread into Eastern Washington today as well.

In Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, rainfall could total between a tenth and a quarter inch of rain during the day with another tenth to quarter inch tonight, forecasters said.

A 60 percent chance of showers is in the forecast for Thursday before the system weakens and moves away.

Rainfall amounts through 1 p.m. have been light in Spokane County with Deer Park reporting 0.14 inches; Felts Field, 0.07 inches; and Fairchild Air Force Base, 0.12 inches.

While rainfall amounts were similar in Coeur d’Alene, heavy rain was reported in mountainous areas of North Idaho.

By 1 p.m., Priest Lake had 2.6 inches of rain and Fourth of July Pass on Interstate 90 had 1.89 inches. Harvard Hill in Benewah County had about an inch of rain. Three inches was reported at Five Mile Hill in Boundary County.

The rain comes after a month of wet spring weather that has left several of the region’s streams and lakes filled with water.

The Kootenai River at Bonners Ferry and Lake Pend Oreille are both reported to be just below flood stage. The Moyie River northeast of Bonners Ferry should rise as well with today’s storm.

National Weather Service forecasters said in their flood watch that mountain rains could cause water to collect on roadways and swell small streams over their banks.

The flood watch was in effect for portions of Kootenai County and all of Bonner and Boundary counties in North Idaho as well as northwest Montana.

Spokane International Airport has had 3.6 inches of rain in the past month from a string of wet storms. That amount is nearly an inch more than normal for June and a half inch above normal for the entire month of May.

Highs today and Thursday may only reach the upper 50s before a low pressure system begins to migrate to the east on Friday, allowing a return to temperatures near 70.

The weekend weather should improve to the lower and middle 70s, although there remains a 30 percent chance of showers on both days and even a risk of thunderstorms on Saturday after 11 a.m.

Lows through the next several days will go from the middle 40s to lower 50s.

The rain is coming off a low pressure system currently centered over Oregon. That low is sweeping up moisture beneath an upper-elevation jet stream, which is oriented in a south-to-north direction along the eastern edge of the low.

On Tuesday, the Kootenai River was at 60.3 feet with flood stage at 64 feet. It should begin to recede by Thursday, forecasters said, although the effect of the newest storm has not been seen yet.

Lake Pend Oreille was at 2062 feet with flood stage at 2064 feet. A crest at 2063 feet was expected early next week.

At 7 a.m., it was 48 at the Spokane airport and Coeur d’Alene, 51 in downtown Spokane, 47 in Deer Park and 42 in Pullman.


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