Drivers looking to hit the roads in the inland Northwest for the holidays this week should be wary of snow, while even colder weather is expected for the week leading up to the new year.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area that could bring up to 3 inches of snow until noon Wednesday.
Miranda Cote, meteorologist with the NWS in Spokane, said the snowfall could make Wednesday’s morning commute a bit slick. The snow could transition to rain Wednesday afternoon with a high of 40.
Rain and snow is then likely to fall Wednesday night and Thursday morning. With a low of 34 on Wednesday night, significant accumulation is not expected, Cote said.
Rain and snow is likely through Thursday afternoon, with a high of 41. Wind gusts are expected between 20 and 25 mph.
A 40% to 50% chance of snow is expected Thursday night through Sunday in the region, except for Friday and Friday night, when Cote said the forecast calls for a 60% chance for an inch or so of fresh snow.
She said it’s difficult to estimate how much snow the area will receive on the weekend, but that forecast models are showing pretty light snowfall.
As for the mountain passes, at least 1 foot of snow could fall on Snoqualmie, Stevens and Lookout passes Thursday and Friday, Cote said.
Stevens Pass could see 18 inches during that 48-hour period.
Cote said drivers should keep an eye on the conditions, as they can change rapidly. She said snow is likely through the weekend on the three passes.
For those flying to their holiday destinations, expect a great chance for rain Wednesday through Friday, then a rain-snow mix Saturday and snow Sunday in Seattle, according to the NWS.
For Salt Lake City, forecasters are calling for a rain-snow mix Thursday through Saturday and a chance of snow Sunday.
For Portland, expect a 90% to 100% chance of rain Wednesday through Friday, then a chance of rain Saturday and a mix on Sunday.
After highs in the 30s and 40s this week, temperatures will drop steeply in the Spokane area starting next week, Cote said.
She said average high temperatures this time of year are around freezing.
“It starts to dip Sunday a little bit below normal,” Cote said.
She said highs will drop into the teens and by Wednesday, highs could dip into the single-digits, with lows potentially below zero as cold air sinks in from Canada.
Cote said people should take precautions with pets and livestock, and household pipes could freeze during this stretch of frigid temperatures.
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