March 10, 2011 in City, Idaho

‘Atmospheric river’ drenches Inland Northwest

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Extremely wet weather is dousing the Inland Northwest today in a pattern that one forecaster described as an “atmospheric river.”

A moist flow stretching back to the waters off Hawaii is sending a steady stream of moisture across the entire Pacific Northwest, the National Weather Service forecaster said this morning.

Nearly a quarter inch of rain was measured at Spokane International Airport between 4 and 7:30 a.m. About a third of an inch was recorded by 10 a.m.

Forecasters said they are monitoring the possibility that rivers in southeast Washington and the Palouse region could rise as a result of rain combined with melting snow.

Snow pack as of Tuesday was 103 percent of normal in North Idaho and 101 percent of normal in the wider Spokane River drainage. Precipitation since Oct. 1 is at 12.46 inches as of 9 a.m., which is 3.08 inches more than normal.

The fetch of milder air bringing the rain may push temperatures into the upper 40s in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas and to the 50s across southern portions of the region.

A low pressure area offshore this morning should move inland later today and bring a trailing cold front. Typical of a strong cold front, the region is likely to see windy conditions tonight. Gusts could reach 40 mph with a low of 34.

The winds may clear out the clouds and bring a dry and partly sunny day on Friday with a high of 47.

The break in this week’s series of storms won’t last long. More rain and a chance of late night or early morning snow arrive on Friday night and Saturday.

Another wet storm is likely later in the day on Sunday.

Highs for the next several days will hover in the upper 40s to lower 50s with lows above freezing in the middle to upper 30s.

At 7 a.m., if was 43 a Spokane International Airport, 44 at Felts Field, 41 in Coeur d’Alene, 40 in Deer Park and 45 in Pullman.


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