Much of the Inland Northwest falls under a winter weather advisory for tonight, but forecasters are now talking about mainly snow in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas.
They moved off a morning forecast that had called for a mix of precipitation, including freezing rain in the Spokane area. Freezing rain is now expected to the south and southwest of Spokane.
As much as 3 to 5 inches of snow could fall in Spokane before the snow mixes with rain and then turns to all rain by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Coeur d’Alene could see 4 to 7 inches or more of snow by afternoon on Wednesday and the area is now under a winter storm warning.
The more severe winter storm warning is in effect tonight and Wednesday for North Idaho as well as Stevens and Pend Oreille counties and far northeast Spokane County in Washington.
An incoming weather system from the Pacific Ocean is causing a surge of milder air to move over the region at middle elevations, creating the right conditions for the wintry mix in some locations, and the change from snow to rain in the Spokane area on Wednesday. It is also carrying ample moisture to boost snow accumulations to advisory and warning criteria, forecasters said.
The winter weather advisory is set to expire at 7 a.m.
Later in the week, snow showers could bring additional light snow accumulations to Spokane and an additional 1 to 2 inches in Coeur d’Alene.
A foot or more of snow is possible in the Central Panhandle mountains of North Idaho with 5 to 10 inches in valley locations between the mountains. A winter storm warning in that area starts at 9 p.m. and extends until 4 p.m. on Thursday.
To the north, the mountains around Sandpoint and Northeast Washington should see steady accumulations with 6 to 11 inches in the mountains and 3 to 6 inches in the valleys.