A Friday snow storm should arrive in time for the official start of winter and cover the Inland Northwest in a layer of white prior to Christmas.
Winter officially begins at 9:11 a.m. on Saturday.
Forecasters for the National Weather Service have issued special outlooks for varying amounts of snow across the region on Friday.
Spokane and Coeur d’Alene should see 1 to 3 inches of snow while the Palouse region, Silver Valley and central Idaho Panhandle could see as much as 5 inches. Those areas are under a winter storm watch.
Today’s weather will continue to be mostly sunny with a high near 30 and a low tonight of 17.
Snowfall should approach Spokane before dawn Friday. Computer models suggest that the main batch of snow will start falling about 10 a.m. through nightfall.
The timing of the snow appears likely to create difficult driving conditions during what is typically one of the heavier traffic periods of the week. The heavier traffic, especially with Christmas approaching, could increase the hazards for drivers.
Friday’s high should be about 30.
Light amounts of snow are possible overnight into Saturday morning.
The region sees a break in storms on Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s.
The next storm with rain or snow moves into the region on Sunday night and Monday with a high in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene on Monday of 40. Rain is expected in valley locations on Monday, creating uncertainty about how long the white layer will last. But snow is likely above the valley levels and on mountain passes.
The Friday and Monday storms are forecast to arrive from the British Columbia coast with cold air mixed into them.