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Next Pacific storm due in tonight

Thu., Dec. 29, 2011, 7:26 a.m.

Mountain passes could see lots of snow

The next and maybe last in the current series of strong Pacific storms is moving onshore today and should reach the Inland Northwest by tonight.

Rain and wind are expected at lower elevations with substantial snowfall above 3,500 feet. As much as a foot is possible in the mountains of Northeast Washington and North Idaho.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the Washington Cascades, including Snoqualmie Pass.

Winds have subsided this morning and the sky was mostly clear at dawn.

National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a high of 44 today with a 60 percent chance of rain later. Southwest winds will blow at 9 to 15 mph.

Heavier rainfall is likely overnight with a quarter to a half inch possible in Spokane.

Stronger winds are not likely until Friday when gusts from the southwest could blow to 33 mph.

The weather is likely to calm down over the weekend as an area of higher air pressure moves over the Pacific Northwest. Highs through the holiday weekend should be in the lower 30s with lows in the lower to middle 20s. Those temperatues are near normal for this time of year.

Partly sunny skies are forecast for each of the three holiday weekend days.

The calmer weather is likely to continue until Wednesday.

The high temperature on Wednesday at Spokane International Airport was 49, just two degrees shy of the record of 51 for the day. The low temperature for Wednesday was a mild 42, which was 20 degrees above the normal low.

The airport also recorded 0.25 inches of rain on Wednesday and a peak wind gust of 48 mph. The highest sustained wind was 37 mph.

Winds were at their strongest in Spokane between 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. today.

Tags: rain, weather

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