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White Christmas watch: Snow predicted overnight Sunday for Santa’s arrival

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 24, 2017, 7:39 p.m.

A pedestrian walks past holiday decorations at Riverpark Square in Spokane on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The latest storm dumped more than a inch of snow on Spokane for Christmas. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
A pedestrian walks past holiday decorations at Riverpark Square in Spokane on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The latest storm dumped more than a inch of snow on Spokane for Christmas. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Overnight snow was expected to arrive alongside Santa’s sleigh on Sunday, with forecasters confident the area would wake up to a White Christmas.

The National Weather Service downgraded its prediction of overnight snowfall Sunday to 1 to 2 inches of snow for Spokane and up to 6 inches in Pullman, Colfax, Lewiston and other southern points. Coeur d’Alene can expect about the same amount as Spokane.

“We’re not looking for too terribly much,” said Todd Carter, with the National Weather Service in Spokane, noting that the sun is leaving right on time for the holiday. “It’s going to be light and fluffy, too.”

The snowfall isn’t expected to break any records, and this year is far from the snowiest Christmas the area has experienced.

In 1998, 5.2 inches fell on Christmas day, the record. For second place, the record books reach back 120 years, to 1897, which had 2.8 inches of snow. The year 1923 comes in third, with 2.7 inches.

As for the years with the most snow on the ground, 1951 takes the cake with 23 inches. And 2008 had 20 inches on the ground on Christmas day.

For this year, snow is expected to start Christmas Eve at around 7 p.m. and last until nearly midnight for folks in the Spokane region and points south. Further north, residents will see snow fall from 11 p.m. through the morning. Not much accumulation is expected on the holiday itself.

Any snow that falls will likely stick around for much of the week. Temperatures aren’t expected to climb above the freezing point until Friday, with highs in the upper 20s and overnight lows in the teens until then. Chances for snow showers, with accumulations a half-inch or less, are forecast throughout the week after Christmas.

The Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Spokane and regions south of town on Sunday afternoon. Drivers returning from holiday festivities should use caution, as roads could be slick.

Travel conditions will be affected. Treetops are anticipated to glisten, and children are encouraged to listen for sleigh bells in the snow.


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