Inland NW winds Friday could bring isolated damage

UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2012, 5:05 P.M.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to kick off with an unusual wind storm out of the northeast on Friday morning, which could bring damaging gusts to narrow valleys near mountains north and northeast of Spokane, forecasters said today.

The National Weather Service is calling for northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, the central Columbia Basin and northern Palouse. Gusts could be higher.

In the mountain and valley areas of Northeast Washington and far North Idaho, the weather service has issued a high wind warning for gusts of 55 to 60 mph in channeled valleys.

Similar weather events in the past have felled trees at Priest Lake and caused dock damage at Deer Lake, forecasters said.

Northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph are likely across the Okanogan region, Lewiston area, southern Columbia Basin and southern Palouse.

A hazardous weather outlook was issued today for the winds.

On Saturday, breezes to 10 mph from the east are likely.

The weekend itself is shaping up to be cool at night and mild during the daytime hours with highs in the middle 60s and lows in the 40s. A chance of showers at 20 percent is possible each day under partly sunny skies.

Normal temperatures for today are 69 for a high and 46 for a low.

The weather pattern setting up for Friday features a low pressure area over Utah with a low-pressure trough extending northward into the Columbia Basin. Forecasters are calling the low an “inverted trough” because it reverses the typical spring pattern on the West Coast. Winds normally blow from the southwest under low pressure systems in the region.

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