May 14, 2012 in City, Idaho

Warm weather to trigger higher stream flows

By The Spokesman-Review
Mike Prager photo

Yak rhododendrons are reliable bloomers in Spokane. They originated from the Japanese Island of Yakushima and are cultivated in a variety of crosses. They are distinguished by their pink to porcelain colors. This plant is believed to be a native species.
(Full-size photo)

Hypothermia chart

The National Weather Service Hypothermia Chart shows expected survival times based on water temperature.

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Warm weather over the next few days is going to cause the region’s rivers and lakes to rise once again as melting snow makes its way down Inland Northwest streams.

Flooding is not expected on most streams. Minor flooding is expected on the Okanogan River. Higher elevation snow in the Cascades and British Columbia will be melting during this week’s warm weather, forecasters said.

The Spokane River was below flood stage today and flowing at 22,000 cubic feet per second.

The National Weather Service is warning that snow melt will keep water temperatures dangerously cold for recreational pursuits.

A person might lose consciousness within as little as 15 minutes in water just above freezing and as little as 30 minutes if the temperature is near 40. Death could occur within 30 to 90 minutes at those temperatures. The risk of hypothermia continues even with water temperatures near 50.

Higher air pressure along the West Coast is bringing the mid-May warm up. High temperatures in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene should reach the middle 89s today and Tuesday with lows in the lower 50s.

As the higher air pressure weakens, temperatures will start to return to more normal mid-May temperatures. Highs will drop to the upper 70s on Wednesday and into the lower 70s or upper 60s on Thursday.

A cold front is likely to bring a threat of showers on Thursday through Friday along with breezy conditions. The wind is going to pick up as early as Wednesday.

Milder temperatures will hang over the region through Sunday, but forecasters said there is a chance of another warm period next week.

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