Wind, rain, snow headed this way

FRIDAY, NOV. 11, 2011, 7:35 A.M.

Air pollution levels rise again this morning

A strong November storm is bearing down on the Inland Northwest today with wind, rain and snow likely before it ends.

The weather this morning is starting out calm with sun peaking through high clouds and an early morning temperature of 27 at Spokane International Airport.

The high today should reach 48.

A wind advisory has been issued for the Columbia Basin extending into Spokane and a winter storm warning is in effect for the mountains of North Idaho.

A strong cold front arriving from the northwest should move through the region overnight into Saturday.

The storm is going to start out as rain late this afternoon or evening and then turn into a rain and snow combination after 10 p.m.

Steady winds to about 22 mph are expected with gusts to 32 mph tonight in Spokane with stronger winds in the Columbia Basin. The low tonight is forecast at 28.

Mountain areas of North Idaho could see 6 to 10 inches of snow, including Lookout Pass on Interstate 90 at the Idaho-Montana state line. Northern valleys near the mountains could see 1 to 3 inches of snow. The concentrated period of precipitation tonight is not likely to bring snow accumulations to the Spokane area. Coeur d’Alene could see as much as a half inch.

Saturday’s high may only reach 42 degrees. There is a chance of snow during the day, although accumulations are going to be light, if at all. The storm may continue through Saturday night with a chance of snow. Again, accumulations are not likely. Precipitation should wind down by Sunday, but a chance of rain or snow continues in the forecast through Monday.

Highs will be in the middle 40s with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s.

Air quality was teetering this morning on the edge of the unhealthful range. The air quality index in Spokane stood at 94, just shy of the unhealthful range that starts at 100. Wood smoke is the main pollutant. Burning was still being allowed. The storm was expected to bring relief from the stagnant air conditions this week.

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