A fairly rapid warming of temperatures in the mountains this week, combined with rainfall going into the weekend, could raise Inland Northwest rivers to flood stage or near flood stage.
The National Weather Service this morning in conjunction with the Northwest River Forecast Center issued advisories for flooding as early as Sunday on the Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo and the St. Joe River at St. Maries.
Also on the rise will be the Moyie, Spokane, Kootenai and Kettle rivers, but they are not expected to rise above flood stage.
For now, the region is going to see a pair of warm spring days with highs near 68 in Spokane today under blue skies.
The warm air continues on Wednesday with a high in Spokane of 73, but increasing clouds aloft will be the sign that wetter weather is on the way for later in the week.
A cold front should pass through the region on Wednesday night and Thursday with the parent low pressure area sagging southward along the coast.
That will set up a southerly flow that will bring mild, wet air to the region over the weekend with the chance of thunderstorms and downpours. The east slopes of the Cascades may be in the bullseye of the moist flow, forecasters said.
Temperatures will also be rising with highs near 78 on Friday and 75 on Saturday in Spokane. Coeur d’Alene will be four degrees cooler.
Overnight temperatures will also be mild with lows this weekend in the upper 40s to lower 50s in Spokane and middle 40s for Coeur d’Alene.
The combination of moderate rain and warm mountain temperatures will cause snow to melt rapidly, forecasters said.
Highs in the mountains could reach the lower 60s.
At 7 a.m., it was 41 at Spokane International Airport, 46 at Felts Field, 45 in Coeur d’Alene, 44 in Deer Park and 43 in Pullman.