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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Weather bomb’ of higher winds, much colder temps could drop Sunday

Heavy traffic west bound I-90 into Spokane was at a crawl, left, as east bound motorist avoided an accident near the Altamont Street exit during the Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 morning commute in a snow storm that left several inches on the ground. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The region’s soft slide into winter is about to get a lot more rugged.

The rain-snow pattern of the past few weeks could come to an end on Sunday with a “weather bomb.”

National Weather Service forecasters see a potential clash between moist Pacific air and cold polar air.

That could trigger what meteorologists call “bomb cyclogenesis.”

The term describes a fast drop in air pressure, and while uncommon in the Inland Northwest, it is possible Sunday.

If the weather bomb happens, the result will be strong winds, rain and snow, all just ahead of the season’s first hard freeze as temperatures descend into the teens early next week.

One forecaster said gusts on Sunday could potentially reach 45 to 50 mph, which is right on the edge of bringing down trees and power lines. Forecasters don’t agree that the wind will be that strong, however.

They do agree Sunday’s storm will bring snow down to lower elevations on Sunday night as the polar air arrives.