Regional flooding concerns return on Wednesday

TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012, 11:42 A.M.

A storm system carrying potentially heavy rain is expected to aggravate high water and flooding concerns in portions of North Idaho and Northeast Washington later this week.

Rainfall of 1 to 1.5 inches could fall in Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone counties in Idaho and Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties in Washington.

The National Weather Service has issued a statement warning about potential dangers in places where small lakes, streams and soils are already drenched.

Landslides, washouts and flooding are possible as the precipitation begins to arrive overnight into Wednesday.

Highs today across the region are going to flirt with the lower 70s.

But a weather system running north-south along the West Coast has tapped into moist tropical and subtropical air that will be moving northward over the next two days.

It will combine with colder air from another low out of the Gulf of Alaska to trigger heavy showers and possibly thunderstorms. The greatest chances of precipitation are from Wednesday through the day on Thursday.

Areas to the north and east of Spokane and Couer d’Alene will see the heaviest rainfall, which may trigger snow melt at lower elevations.

The Moyie River at Eastport, the Kootenai River at Bonners Ferry, the St. Joe River at St. Maries and the Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo are of concern along with Cocolalla, Sacheen and Diamond lakes. Ponding in fields and along roadways could be worsened.

Bonner and Shoshone counties already have declared disasters over road washouts in the past several weeks from record March precipitation.

Urban areas could see a quarter-inch of rain in Spokane and a little more than a third of an inch in Coeur d’Alene.

Temperatures in Spokane will retreat to the lower 60s on Wednesday to the 50s later in the week, with lows in the 40s. Improving weather is seen for the weekend.

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