The National Weather Service this morning said that Eastern Washington and North Idaho stand a “decent chance” of seeing thunderstorms this afternoon.
A frontal system following overnight rainfall could create atmospheric conditions that are conducive to electrical storms with colder air aloft and moist unstable conditions in place.
The storms are most likely between 2 and 5 p.m. when daytime heating increases upward motion in the atmosphere, forecasters said.
The strongest storm cells are capable of producing hail, downpours and gusty winds. A hazardous weather outlook is in place across the region today.
The greatest storm potential is from the Blue Mountains and Walla Walla area northeastward into the Central Panhandle mountains of Idaho.
Snow may accumulate above 4,500 feet in elevation in the mountains.
A warm front overnight triggered a steady rain that totaled 0.41 inches at Spokane International Airport before tapering off about 8 a.m. Southwest winds later in the morning were gusting to 28 mph.
An occluded cold front is expected this afternoon, which will create greater instability in the atmosphere and the chance of showers or thunderstorms.
The chance of showers with breezy winds continues Friday through Sunday, mainly during afternoon hours. Highs will be in the 50s and lows in the upper 30s.
Elsewhere, the Associated Press said snow and rain the Cascades are creating a new threat of avalanche.
AP quoted the weather service as warning of avalanches on the west slopes of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon Thursday morning because of heavy snow and rain in the mountains.
Forecasters say wet, loose slabs of snow could avalanche in the area that includes Mount Hood and Mount Rainier. Hikers and climbers are advised to stay out of the back country.
More mountain snow is falling as the latest storm moves into the Northwest.
Seattle is close to breaking a rainfall record this spring.
The Weather Service says the Seattle precipitation record from Feb. 1 through April 30 is 18.97 inches set in 1972. As of 4 a.m. Thursday, the total this year was 18.91 inches.
Spokane remains 3 inches below normal for precipitation since Oct. 1 with 8.6 inches recorded in that time.