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Winter storm to blow into Inland NW today, Friday

A pair of Pacific storms is heading toward the Inland Northwest and will bring potentially heavy snow to some mountain areas and a mix of snow and rain at lower elevations through Friday night.

Snow began falling late this morning in the Spokane area, but was not sticking to the ground in lower elevations.

National Weather Service forecasters said earlier today that they expect snow levels to be around 2,400 feet, which would bring accumulations to the mountains and only the highest elevations of the urban area around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

A second blast of late winter weather is due on Friday. The Spokane region could see less than an inch of snow before precipitation switches to rain. The storm will start out as snow north of Interstate 90 and across the Palouse.

Mountain areas of North Idaho and the Blue Mountains in southeast Washington may see 8 to 13 inches.

The Friday storm is likely to bring winds with gusts in Spokane reaching 32 mph by Friday night, forecasters said. Winds should be stronger in the mountains. Light snow is possible in the Spokane area after temperatures cool down on Friday night.

Across the state, forecasters say the winter storm Friday will bring high winds and rain in Western Washington, heavy mountain snow, and mixed snow and rain in Eastern Washington.

The National Weather Service says the front will arrive on winds of 20 to 35 mph with 40 to 50 mph gusts in Western Washington. Peak gusts are expected Friday morning on the coast and north interior.

Forecasters expect 1 to 2 inches of rain in the Western Washington lowlands and 1 to 2 feet of snow in the Olympics and Cascades.

The Weather Service says a series of fronts will continue periods of rain showers and mountain snow into next week.