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Heavy showers expected until sunset

Wed., April 18, 2012, 3:25 p.m.

National Weather Service forecasters are warning that heavy showers across the region this afternoon will persist until sundown, and may bring heavy wind gusts, snow pellets or hail.

The showers have been persistent since midday, but forecasters at 3 p.m. issued a short-term forecast advising that outdoor activities could be affected, including after-school events.

The showers are moving with some unpredictability and could result in rapidly changing conditions. Road conditions could quickly deteriorate, they said.

The areas involved are the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, northeast Columbia Basin and the Palouse region, including the Moscow area.

A deep low pressure area across the Pacific Northwest has brought a lot of moisture onshore from the ocean and cold air aloft. Warming conditions at the surface are causing upward movement in the atmosphere, triggering the showers.

Blasts of downward-moving cold air may also be felt in the intense spring conditions.

Drier conditions are expected on Thursday with a high of 56, but another Pacific storm is likely by Thursday night and Friday.

A big warmup is likely this weekend with partly sunny to mostly skies and highs on Saturday of 68 and on Sunday of 75. Monday should continue the mild trend.

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