Cool down, then showers expected until Sunday

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010, 7:24 A.M.

The afternoon forecast from the National Weather Service shows that weather conditions will be cooler and potentially wetter than previously thought.

Highs on Wednesday will struggle to reach 70 in Spokane, and then a 30 to 40 percent chance of showers are possible Thursday and Friday.

Looking ahead to the holiday weekend, the nicest days are likely to be Saturday and Monday with a chance of showers coming Saturday night into the first half of Sunday. Improving weather on Sunday evening should help keep July Fourth revelers dry, forecasters said.

Highs are expected to remain below normal through Sunday. The normal high in Spokane is 78 today. Monday should be close to normal and mostly sunny.

Forecasters also said they are pretty sure that a warm up is coming starting next Tuesday with computer models indicating a strong ridge of higher air pressure forming off the Pacific coast and moving over the Inland Northwest after that.

Today, the warm air left over from Monday’s high pressure system has kept the Inland Northwest nice and comfortable, but the effects of an incoming low pressure system are becoming more evident with clouds, light winds and dry cool air moving eastward from the Cascades.

High and middle elevation clouds have streamed across the region, but for the most part, they have not been producing any thunderstorms.

However, there remains a risk of thunderstorms through the evening in southeast Washington, northeast Oregon and the central Panhandle of Idaho with some severe storms possible to the south and east.

A cold front associated with the incoming coastal low has been slowly making its way across the area and was expected to cross North Idaho today.

Highs in the upper 70s or lower 80s had been expected today in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

At 3 p.m. today, it was 75 at the Spokane airport, Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park and 77 at Felts Field.

The high Monday at Spokane International Airport was 83, making it the warmest day of the year so far.

Wind gusts near 21 mph tonight with increasing clouds will offer another sign of the change in weather.

Wednesday will be up to 10 degrees cooler, but sunny.

Then on Thursday, a 30 percent chance of showers is in the forecast with mostly cloudy skies to be followed by a 40 percent chance on Thursday night and Friday. Both days will be in the middle to upper 60s, compared with an earlier forecast showing highs in the lower 70s.

Saturday should be mostly sunny and 73 in Spokane. Sunday continues cool with better weather by Monday. Overnight lows through the period should be in the upper 40s.

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