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No joke: More rain, wind on the way

Sunshine just after dawn today gives Spokane an early April glow. (Mike Prager)
Sunshine just after dawn today gives Spokane an early April glow. (Mike Prager)

March may have ended as the third wettest in Spokane since records started in 1881, but April is going to pick up where March left off.

Another potent rain storm is headed to the Pacific Northwest in time for the weekend. Clouds will be prevalent throughout the day in the Spokane region.

The National Weather Service said the chances of rain increase this afternoon and evening, and by Saturday morning, forecasters are calling for a 100 percent chance of rain.

Mild air will keep the precipitation as rain in all but the very highest elevations. An inch of rain could fall in mountain areas.

The additional moisture will add to flood and landslide concerns, forecasters said. Saturated ground is vulnerable for collapse on steep slopes.

The weather service this afternoon issued a flood watch for North Idaho, and said that small streams could swell with water, rocks and mud could slide and ponding water may cover roadways over the weekend.

Highs today in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene reached the middle 50s. The gusty winds of the past two days have exited the region, but should return on Saturday with gusts in Spokane to 26 mph. Portions of the Columbia Basin and Palouse could see gusts to 40 mph.

A new low was forming along the Pacific coast today and is expected to send a stream of mild, moist air northward from the California coast.

The chance of rain rises to 40 percent later today and 70 percent tonight. Amounts of a half inch to an inch are possible through Saturday near the mountains across the region.

The rain may continue on Saturday night with a total of 0.28 inches expected in Spokane and 0.48 in Coeur d’Alene.

Once the storm begins to move off to the southeast the incoming air should be much colder, allowing snow levels to drop. Valley lows will be near freezing on Saturday and Sunday nights, bringing chances of rain and snow showers. Snow may accumulate to less than an inch in Spokane on Saturday night and early Sunday.

More wet weather is expected by Tuesday.

Spokane ended March with 3.25 inches of rain, which was shy of the record 3.81 inches in 1995.

The St. Joe River is expected to remain above flood stage through the weekend. The Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo is expected to crest below flood stage. The Little Spokane River should remain just below flood stage through next week, forecasters said.

Tags: weather