"She's in a good mood today," said Mike Ayres about his dog Sandy as kept the rain off himself and his dog at the bus stop on Northwest Boulevard in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Thawing conditions bring chance of rain

Temperatures above freezing tonight and Friday is releasing the icy grip that’s made many of the region’s streets treacherous for the past week, but the moist Pacific air isn’t going to last.

National Weather Service forecasters said that a cold front Friday night into Saturday morning will start a cooling trend that could result in lows in the single digits by Monday night and Tuesday night.

The chance of significant snow is possible by midweek next week. Computer models are showing a Pacific flow butting up against arctic cold over the Inland Northwest, a recipe for good accumulations if the models pan out.

For tonight and Friday, forecasters are calling for light rain before 10 p.m. and again afer 10 a.m. with a high Friday of about 38 degrees. The chance of rain is 60 percent tonight and 70 percent Friday.

A chance of snow returns to the forecast overnight Friday and on Saturday, although the risk of precipitation starts to fall on Saturday in the wake of the cold front.

A surge of milder air laden with moisture has overtaken the region, but is expected to move eastward by Saturday to be replaced by a deep low pressure area that should draw air southward from the cold north.

Snowfall amounts in urban areas on Wednesday varied from 1.4 inches at Spokane International Airport to 4 inches near Coeur d’Alene to 5 inches in Kellogg. Pend Oreille County saw 3 to 4 inches.

Cold air in the Columbia Basin has been stubborn to yield to the warmer air at higher elevations, and forecasters said those areas have a chance of freezing rain for the next day or so.

Ephrata was 22 this morning. An air stagnation advisory was still in effect there and along the east slopes of the Cascades as well as southeast Washington

Tags: weather

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