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January thaw expected through weekend

Fri., Jan. 14, 2011, 7:43 a.m.

Latah Creek was flowing at full bank today as a result of a quick thaw in the Spokane region. Jan. 14, 2011. (Mike Prager)
Latah Creek was flowing at full bank today as a result of a quick thaw in the Spokane region. Jan. 14, 2011. (Mike Prager)

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for Eastern Washington and North Idaho this afternoon as a January thaw continues to melt accumulated snow.

Temperatures in Spokane reached the middle 40s today.

Rainfall of a quarter to a half inch Saturday night is expected to aggravate the run off. Mild temperatures should continue through the holiday weekend.

Tonight’s low should be about 40.

Highs will stay in the 40s through the weekend with lows in the upper 30s on Saturday through Monday nights.

Forecasters said the melting conditions will cause higher flows on rivers and creeks in the central Idaho Panhandle and in southeast Washington as well as tributaries of the Spokane River. Main-stem flooding is not expected, but ice jams may create overflows where they occur, forecasters said.

Water may also spill over roads and into fields, creating hazards.

Latah Creek in Spokane was flowing this morning at 3,160 cubic feet per second, almost 20 times its normal flow for this time of year.

Snow levels are pegged today at 4,500 feet, which leaves ski hills safe from any serious thawing.

An onshore flow is bringing the mild and moist weather off the Pacific, a pattern that will continue through Tuesday.

Snow below 4,000 feet in elevation is likely to melt under the milder air pattern.

The normal temperatures for Jan. 14 are 32 for a high and 21 for a low.

This morning’s temperatures were running about 20 degrees above normal.

At 7 a.m., it was 41 at Spokane International Airport, 44 at Felts Field, 39 in Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park and 46 in Pullman.


 
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