A dry cold front passing over the Inland Northwest this morning is expected to lead to gusty winds later today and cooler temperatures that could approach freezing by Wednesday night.
A red flag warning for heightened fire danger is in effect for the region from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today.
Winds will shift to the northwest today and could bring gusts to 28 mph, continuing through the evening.
The cooler air is arriving from Alaska and Canada and has low humidity levels that will heighten fire danger.
The northerly flow is expected to continue into the weekend. As the winds die back on Wednesday, temperatures could bring the first frost to gardens in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas. The threat of frost continues through Friday night. Temperatures will be in the lower 30s all three days, National Weather Service forecasters said.
Air quality this morning in Spokane was in the good range with an air index reading of 46. Moderate pollution begins at a reading of 50.
The northerly flow should bring cleaner air, except in locations where wind gusts are strong enough to lift dust off the ground. Dust storms are possible in the western portion of the Columbia Basin where the outflow from the Okanogan Valley could bring stiff gusts today, forecasters said.
Wind gusts are already picking up along the east slopes of the Cascades and the western basin.