Rain mountains raising river levels, causing landslides
A wind advisory remains in effect through 8 p.m. today for gusts to 45 mph in the Spokane area.
Highs are expected to reach the upper 50s and lower 60s across the region.
The wind advisory from the National Weather Service includes the upper Columbia Basin, Palouse and Lewiston regions. Gusts to 36 mph were clocked at Spokane International Airport earlier today.
Heavy precipitation has been reported in mountain areas with snow levels rising to 6,000 feet in the Inland Northwest.
A combination of rain and snow melt is causing streams and rivers to rise.
Flood advisories are in effect for the St. Joe and Palouse River basins. Small streams may also bring flood hazards, the weather service said.
The Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo is expected to crest early Friday just below flood stage.
Palouse Mayor Michael Echanove said water from the Palouse River was halfway up the picnic tables of Lions Club Park around 6 p.m. Wednesday. The river was expected to crest around 3 a.m. at about 15 feet, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Paradise Creek at the University of Idaho and Potlatch River at Julietta have potential to flood, the National Weather Service said this morning.
Landslides have been reported along the Coeur d’Alene River Road and Hauser Lake Road has water covering a portion of it on the north side of the lake.
Snow slides at Stevens Pass have closed U.S. Highway 2 until Friday morning at least, the Washington Department of Transportation said. Also, the Mount Baker Highway to the north of Stevens Pass was closed this morning near the popular ski area on the highway because of avalanche danger.
An avalanche warning remained in effect for the Cascades.
Rivers draining the central Cascades in Western Washington are under flood warnings, including the Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Green, Tolt and Snohomish rivers. Up to 4 inches or more of rain fell in those watersheds over the past day.
Locally, added rainfall over the next 24 hours could aggravate flooding conditions. Ponding water along county roads is expected in some locations, forecasters said.
While areas closer to the mountains have seen plenty of rain, locations in the Columbia Basin to Spokane have been mostly dry due to a shadowing effect from the Cascades.
In Spokane, the forecast calls for partly sunny skies today and Friday. Southwest winds should diminish tonight with a low around 37.
The low tonight should be around 37.
The next Pacific rain storm is expected on Saturday with temperatures cooling down to the lower 50s for highs. Mountain snow levels are going to drop with the storm.
At 7 a.m., it was 49 at Spokane International Airport, 51 at Felts Field, 48 in Coeur d’Alene, 49 in Deer Park and 53 in Pullman.