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Mountains seeing first big snow of season

Snow falling as low as Fourth of July Pass at 3,173 feet

Rain and breezy winds are expected to continue today in lower elevations while snow begins to blow in mountain areas above 4,000 feet in elevation.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the mountains of the region for today and tonight.

The Washington Department of Transportation announced that studded winter tires are being allowed one week before the normal start of studded-tire season.

Four to eight inches of snow are expected above 4,000 feet, including Interstate 90 at Lookout Pass in North Idaho. It is the first significant winter storm of the season.

Several inches of snow were visible on traffic cameras along the side of the travel lanes at Stevens Pass on U.S. Highway 2 in Washington. Light snow was clinging to trees this morning on Lookout Pass, but not sticking to pavement.

By this afternoon, snowfall was visible along the side of I-90 at Fourth of July Pass at 3,173 feet in elevation.

Also, Sherman Pass on Washington Highway 20 at 5,575 feet had slush on the pavement with snow accumulating next to the highway. The weather service said 3 inches of snow was reported there.

To the south in Idaho, snow had fallen as low as 2,800 feet, the weather service said.

Forecasters said the snow may creep onto the pavement of mountain highways this evening as temperatures drop.

Schweitzer ski area near Sandpoint also reported snow this morning.

Winds that blew into the region on Sunday are likely to continue today with gusts as high as 29 mph in the Spokane area.

Lower elevations are likely to see rain showers today and a high near 50 degrees.

Showers are expected to continue tonight and then continue through Tuesday night.

The cooler fall weather this week will bring high temperatures in the upper 40s and lows in the lower to middle 30s.

Rainfall records were set on Sunday at Mullan Pass and in the Columbia Basin. Mullan Pass saw 0.91 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 0.69 inches set in 1946. Records have been kept there since 1938.

Also, Moses Lake had 0.23 inches of rain, breaking a 1984 record of 0.15 inches. Records there date back to 1947. Likewise, Ephrata had 0.26 inches of rain, breaking a 1979 record of 0.13 inches. Records in Ephrata date back to 1948.

Spokane International Airport had 0.34 inches of rain on Sunday, well off the record of 0.79 inches set in 1943.

At 7 a.m., it was 39 at Spokane International Airport, 43 at Felts Field, 39 in Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park and 42 in Pullman.

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