Travelers be warned: The National Weather Service predicts a strong storm system will bring heavy mountain snow to Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle early this week, along with frigid temperatures and freezing rain.
A low-pressure storm system will roll in from northwestern Canada beginning early today, bringing with it heavy snowfall in the mountains. The National Weather Service predicts as much as 2 feet of snow in the Cascade Mountains beginning today and into Monday, snarling the drive for holiday travelers heading over the passes. Forecasters also predict a foot and a half of snow in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
Heavy, wet snow is expected this morning in valley areas, including Colville, Deer Park, Chewelah and Sandpoint, forecasters predict.
Gusts above 50 mph are possible across the mountain ridges in the Cascades and the Northeast Blue Mountains, forecasters say. Gusts between 40 and 50 mph will sweep across the Upper Columbia Basin into the Spokane and Palouse areas. A second period of strong winds is expected Monday night through Tuesday night, with gusts up to 30 to 40 mph down the Purcell Trench.
Temperatures will remain mild in Spokane today, with highs in the 40s and rain throughout the afternoon. Tonight, however, temperatures are expected to drop rapidly as a cold front moves into the region. Highs in the 30s to low 40s are expected for Monday morning, cooling to the teens by Tuesday. Light, dry snow is expected early this week as drier air pushes into the region.
The National Weather Service also warns that an air stagnation advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. today throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Increased pollutants in the air due to poor air quality could aggravate allergy and sinus issues.