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Idaho

Rain, melting snow may cause widespread flooding

Fri., May 13, 2011, 7:44 a.m.

A flood watch is in effect for the Inland Northwest, with rivers and streams expected to rise into the weekend. Moderate to heavy rainfall is forecast Sunday afternoon through Monday in Washington and North Idaho.

Also contributing to flooding is warmer air moving through the region today through Monday, the National Weather Service office in Spokane reports. Mountain temperatures will rise above freezing for an extended period, accelerating the melting of a healthy snowpack.

Thunderstorms in the Pullman area this weekend could bring severe hail, heavy rain and “the possibility of a tornado,” the weather service said.

The combination of melting and heavy rainfall will cause excessive runoff into most of the region’s streams and rivers, which are likely to become swollen or flood, the agency said. The potential for flooding includes areas throughout northwestern Washington and all of North Idaho.

A flood watch means that flooding is possible but not imminent in the watch area. People who live in areas prone to flooding are advised to monitor forecasts and stay alert.

The forecast today anticipates a high of 77 in the Spokane area, with wind gusts up to 18 mph. Tonight will bring a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 11 p.m.

The chance of rain will be 50 percent Saturday, even as the high could reach 80 in Spokane. Winds could gust to 26 mph.

Overnight lows will be around 50 the next few nights.

Sunday will bring showers with a high near 63 and more gusty weather. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent, with rainfall measuring a quarter to a half inch. The rain will persist through Sunday night and into Monday.

Showers are possible through most of next week.



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