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Wet weather won’t last

Fri., Jan. 7, 2011, 7:44 a.m.

Today’s wet weather is likely to be the last of the liquid precipitation for some time.

National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a cold front to pass over the region this evening and turn the weather more wintry through next week.

Rain began falling in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene about 3 a.m. with accumulations of 0.18 inches by 10 a.m. Rain subsided after that.

Highs today are expected to reach the upper 30s with lows tonight just below freezing.

Portions of the Columbia Basin have been seeing freezing rain. Grant County reported several non-injury collisions from icy conditions, which also prompted the Moses Lake School District to close schools for the day. Ephrata schools and Moses Lake Christian Academy also closed for the day.

A low-lying layer of cold air has been persistent in places like Ephrata, Moses Lake and Tri-Cities where a stagnant air advisory has been in place this week. The advisory expired earlier today.

The same cold air was scoured out in Spokane by the current storm. However, it led to a ban on burning earlier this week in Spokane.

Looking ahead, snow may fall late tonight and on Saturday, but the cold front is expected to open the door to cold arctic air from Canada. Saturday night’s low should be about 20, but Sunday night’s low may reach the single digits.

Lows by Monday night are likely to fall close to zero with highs Monday and Tuesday near 16.

Forecasters said there is a good chance that the area will fall under a snowy pattern at midweek that could lead to substantial accumulations.

The Inland Northwest may be caught between the wintry cold from the north and a mild and moist flow of air off the Pacific, a pattern that could lead to persistent snow by Tuesday night and Wednesday.

At 7 a.m., it was 36 at Spokane International Airport, Pullman and Coeur d’Alene, 35 at Felts Field and 33 in Deer Park

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