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Spokane sets March rainfall record

Steady moderate rain late this afternoon brought enough precipitation for Spokane to set a new record for the soggiest March since record keeping began in 1881.

Spokane received 0.3 inches of rain through 5 p.m. at Spokane International Airport, pushing the monthly total to 3.89 inches, which surpasses the previous record of 3.81 inches in 1995.

Precipitation records have been kept in Spokane since 1881.

Bonners Ferry broke its 1950 March record with 4.62 inches as of Wednesday.

Several other cities in the Inland Northwest were close to setting records for March precipitation on Friday.

A series of storms through Saturday is going to push those records even higher.

“It’s unusual. It’s remarkable,” said John Livingston, meteorologist in charge of the Spokane bureau of the National Weather Service. “More significantly, it’s going to cause problems.”

All of the water has raised flooding concerns in the Inland Northwest. The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory on Thursday through Sunday afternoon for rises in smaller creeks and streams, ponding water in low-lying areas and the chance of land slides.

Moderate flooding is expected on the Palouse River at Potlatch on Friday and minor flooding on the Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo on Sunday.

The weather service is also keeping an eye out for flooding on the South Fork of the Palouse at Pullman and the St. Joe River at St. Maries

Elsewhere through Wednesday, Lewiston had recorded 3.3 inches; Colville, 3.01 inches; Kellogg, 6.43; Sandpoint, 6.1 inches; and Pullman, 3.85 inches, all this month.

Those amounts are close to monthly records.

Forecasters are calling for additional precipitation from Thursday through Saturday of 1.3 inches in Spokane to nearly 2 inches in the Silver Valley of North Idaho.

That rain could combine with low and middle elevation snow melt to raise the region’s rivers and creeks.

Forecasters said that saturated ground across the region could be sufficiently unstable now that the weight of additional rain could trigger land slides.

A low pressure area along the British Columbia coast has caused a strong southwesterly flow to develop over the region, and that flow is carrying subtropical moisture that is aimed at the Inland Northwest.

Tags: rain, weather