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Heavy showers, thunderstorms hit Inland Northwest

Raindrops today cling to the underside of an old chain. (Mike Prager)
Raindrops today cling to the underside of an old chain. (Mike Prager)

The National Weather Service tonight said that a line of potent showers moved northward from Lincoln and Whitman counties into Spokane and North Idaho.

The storms produced some scattered thunderstorms and hail that caused problems for some travelers this evening.

Two cars slid off the road on eastbound Interstate 90 near Ritzville and Sprague Lake about 7 p.m., according to a Washington State Patrol dispatcher. One of the accidents blocked a lane, slowing traffic in the eastbound lanes, but no injuries were reported.

A short term forecast for the cellular storms was issued at 3:44 p.m., but they are expected to taper off about 9 p.m. Dark cumulus clouds were visible around Spokane.

“We had some scattered thunderstorm activity that started around the Pomeroy area and moved north across extreme Eastern Washington and into the Panhandle of Idaho,” said Meteorologist Ellie Klech. “These are just run-of-the-mill spring time thundershowers. We’re finally getting out of winter into spring.”

Kelch said some areas experienced pea-sized hail. Wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph are possible, forecasters said.

The advisory comes after the Inland Northwest dropped back into the gloom of a prolonged wet weather pattern this morning.

Rain was falling across the Inland Northwest this morning, and forecasters said more is on the way for the next week or longer.

Temperatures this afternoon were in the middle 40s. Lows tonight should drop to the middle 30s. A break from the steady rain is expected tonight but increase again on Saturday and Saturday night.

More rain is expected on Sunday.

Snow is possible at some lower elevations during the early morning hours both days.

Mountain areas should see snow, and the region’s passes may have snow or ice on the roadways through the weekend.

Storm impulses off the cool waters of the North Pacific are being flung inland around the base of a low pressure area along the Washington and Oregon coastlines.

That pattern should continue for several days.

Forecasters said the periods of rain or showers will continue into next week.

March so far has seen 2.31 inches of rain at Spokane airport, which is nearly double the normal amount for the month to date. That amount includes a record 0.49 inches for the date on Monday.

At 7 a.m., it was 37 at Spokane International Airport, Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park, 40 at Felts Field and 34 at Pullman

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