A storm will bring heavy mountain snow and a potentially treacherous morning commute to the Inland Northwest on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning for Stevens and Pend Oreille counties and northern Spokane County in Washington, as well as Boundary, Bonner and Shoshone counties and the eastern portions of Kootenai, Benewah and Latah counties in Idaho.
The watch does not include the city of Spokane, but the city could get 1 to 3 inches of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, said Mark Turner, weather service meteorologist. The snow could be falling as rain downtown by the time the morning commute starts. Snow will last longer in higher elevations.
Up to a foot of snow is expected in some mountain areas. Sandpoint is expected to get 4 to 6 inches. Coeur d’Alene, Bonners Ferry, Colville, Kellogg and Republic are expected to get 3 to 4 inches, Turner said.
Precipitation isn’t in the forecast in Spokane after Wednesday, and high temperatures are expected to be above freezing the rest of the week.
The higher temperatures are in keeping with the trend so far this winter. Spokane’s average temperature so far this month is almost 4 degrees higher than normal, according to National Weather Service records.
Precipitation for January is about average, but the amount of precipitation that has fallen as snow in Spokane is well below normal. But weather service snow monitors in mountain locations in the Inland Northwest mostly are showing levels near normal or only slightly below.
Less than an inch of snow has fallen so far this year in Spokane. The average snowfall by Jan. 20 is 8.3 inches.
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