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Heavy showers falling in upper Columbia Basin

A heavy band of rain showers moved from south to north across the upper Columbia Basin late this morning, producing up to a quarter inch of rain per hour and reduced visibilities.

In addition, more heavy showers and thunderstorms were seen on weather radar in northeast Washington, far North Idaho and western Montana.

The National Weather Service has issued two short-term forecasts and warned about fog and changing conditions beneath those widespread storms.

Areas affected late this morning were Lind, Ritzville, Odessa, Wilson Creek, Nespelem and Wilbur, including Interstate 90 and U.S. highways 2 and 395 along with state Highway 28.

Also, early afternoon storms were expected in the vicinities of Northport and Metaline Falls.

Across the region, more rain showers are likely throughout the rest of the day as the Inland Northwest undergoes what should be a dramatic change in the weather after a series of thunderstorms crossed the region Monday night.

A large low pressure area has moved from the Pacific coast into the Great Basin area of the U.S., and is sending waves of moisture northward today.

At the same time, a flow of cold northerly air is expected to form over the next few days, bringing the risk of frost by Friday night through Sunday morning.

A cold front is associated with the weather pattern today.

Highs today should only reach the lower 60s compared with highs in the 70s and lower 80s over the past several days.

A second round of precipitation is expected Wednesday night with a 70 percent chance of rain now in the forecast. The high may reach 70 on Wednesday.

Highs going toward the weekend should drop to the upper 50s while lows go from the 40s to middle 30s in the overnight period of Friday to Saturday morning. The cold lows will return on Sunday morning before dawn.

Forecasters said the chance of frost this weekend is most likely in exposed valley locations that are prone to early and late frosts.

Gardeners may want to take precautions and protect cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and squashes. Old buckets or large potting containers work well for smaller plants. Plastic milk jugs with the bottoms cut out also are a method for creating a small greenhouse for tiny, tender plants.

Many nursery annual flowers such as begonias and impatiens are tropical in nature and could be killed. Containers with those types of plants may be moved temporarily to a protected location.