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Pacific storm promises heavy rainfall today

Tue., June 26, 2012

The Kootenai River at Bonners Ferry overflowed its banks on Monday with minor flooding, and forecasters said the river may rise to a foot above flood stage by today.

High river flows out of Canada combined with higher-elevation snowmelt and near-record rain in June are contributing to the flood.

More rain is on the way today for the Inland Northwest.

A strong Pacific storm could bring accumulations of an inch or more to the region, forecasters said.

Rainfall should be the heaviest from Spokane and Coeur d’Alene northward and is expected to pick up in intensity by late morning.

The National Weather Service is predicting rainfall amounts of 0.76 inches in Spokane, 0.82 inches in Coeur d’Alene, 0.87 inches in Sandpoint, 0.82 inches in Bonners Ferry and 0.67 inches in Colville.

Minor flooding on the Kootenai River is expected through Friday, forecasters said, and a flood warning was issued. On Monday, the river was 4 inches above flood stage of 64 feet at Bonners Ferry.

In addition, the Pend Oreille River below Albeni Falls Dam was near flood stage. The river was at 45 feet in Newport on Monday.

A small stream and urban flood advisory was issued and is in effect until 5 a.m. Wednesday for Pend Oreille, Bonner and Boundary counties.

Cities such as Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry could break records for June rainfall with more than 5 inches recorded there already this month.

A low pressure system that began with a round of thunderstorms late last week has been stalled along the West Coast, sending mild, moist air northward for several days.

The low is going to move inland today, focusing another round of rainfall locally.

Cooler air will arrive today, with a high reaching only about 57 in Spokane. Thunderstorms are possible with the cooling.

Sun and warm weather are expected starting Wednesday afternoon and continuing into the weekend.

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