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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Up to a foot of new snow possible by Saturday

Spokane ties record cold at minus-9 today

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service shows that nearly a foot of new snow is likely to fall in the Spokane metropolitan area from Thursday into Saturday. This comes after the region finishes digging out from 8 inches of snow earlier this week. Light snow will begin falling at noon on Thursday, about the time most people will be basting their turkeys for the holiday. Up to two inches of new snow by Friday will be followed by nearly 9 more inches on Friday afternoon into Saturday, said Anthony Cavallucci, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Spokane. Here is part of the text of an e-mail he sent out at 1:05 p.m. today: “By Saturday afternoon there could be an additional 6 to 12 inches of snow accumulations along and east of a Ritzville-to-Davenport-to-Colville line. The worst case scenario spills up to 15 inches of snow on the Spokane metro area.” Blizzard conditions earlier this week led to an arctic cold day on Wednesday. Spokane tied a record set in 1985 of minus-9 at Spokane International Airport today. The coldest temperature overnight was minus-10 at the airport, which occurred before midnight and did not break the record for Nov. 23. The sun at dawn today didn’t do much to take the bite off below-zero temperatures across the region, including minus-24 in Cheney. At 7 a.m., Spokane International Airport was at minus-5, but Moses Lake was reporting minus-17. The National Weather Service office north of Fairchild Air Force Base was at minus-16. It was zero in Coeur d’Alene, minus-2 in Deer Park and 5 in Pullman. Arctic cold is expected to hang around for the remainder of today and tonight with highs having trouble getting above the single digits above zero. Lows tonight will fall back into the single digits. Forecasters said a variation in cold temperatures from place to place is common when arctic cold sets in over snow-covered ground. Lack of cloud cover and calm winds can allow temperatures to drop quickly at night. The coldest spots likely had clear skies for much of the night. Clouds that have moved over the region will inhibit daytime warming and are bringing snow flurries. The high in Spokane is forecast to reach 9 this afternoon. Moderating temperatures are predicted on Thursday through the weekend with highs going from about 20 on Thursday to near 30 degrees on Friday through Sunday. More snow is expected on Thursday with the chances of new snow increasing to 80 percent Thursday night through Saturday. The next storm should wind down by Saturday night and Sunday – in time for travelers returning home from holiday visits. The southern portions of the Columbia Basin and Columbia River Gorge could see a period of freezing rain or sleet on Friday as milder Pacific air rides over the top of moderating arctic air hugging the ground across the region. The gorge should reach the middle to upper 30s on Saturday and Sunday, helping drivers in interstate travel. Nearly 42 million Americans are expected on the roads and in the skies today through Sunday.