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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Final decision on state cuts, layoffs to come by Oct. 1

State health care programs could shrink or disappear in the coming months, at least one state prison could close and college classes could be more crowded next semester as state agencies strive to cut $520 million to keep the general fund from falling into a deficit. “Our communities will feel it, our services will be reduced throughout the state,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday after ordering state agencies to cut 6.287 percent from most budgets outside of basic education.

Budget forecast darkens

OLYMPIA – The state’s projected budget gap grew by about $200 million Friday. Chief economic forecaster Arun Raha said revenue won’t be off that much, but the state is expecting to pay out more for services.

Recession at bottom, WA forecast dips slightly

Washington's chief revenue forecaster said the recovery continues, but with significant risks that involve tight credit and low consumer confidence. The overall revenue forecast, coupled with a higher demand for state services, bumps budget gap up to $2.8 billion.

Economists forecast income growth in region

Some economists see Washington state workers enjoying an average 4 percent boost in personal income this year. Idaho workers could see a 2.3 percent gain in income, according to the Arizona State University Blue Chip Economic Survey. The ASU survey, prepared by regional economists and researchers, covers 12 Western states.

Rain to accompany Friday shopping frenzy

Black Friday also will be a wet Friday in the Inland Northwest. Rain tonight is expected to continue into the morning as thousands of shoppers line up at stores for post-holiday bargains.

Temperature, precipitation records make year remarkable

Our long-term cycle of wide weather extremes continues across the globe. According to information from the National Climatic Data Center, 93,224 temperature and precipitation records have been tied or broken across the U.S. since Jan. 1. Based on this figure, I would estimate at least a half-million weather records have been broken worldwide this year. Of the 93,224 extremes so far in the U.S. in 2009, 43 percent were precipitation records, 28.7 percent were warm records and 28.4 percent were cold records.

Get ready for some rain

Cooler, wetter weather is heading our way, the National Weather Service said today. A Pacific low-pressure system is moving slowly across the Northwest this weekend, and steady rain is falling along much of the Cascades.

El Niño could mean less snow this winter

Over the past several weeks I’ve received a number of questions about what this coming winter will be like. Well, I certainly don’t think we’re going to see record or near-record snowfall for a third year in a row, but with all these weather extremes, anything is possible.

Forecasters predict respite from the heat

After a run of hot temperatures, cool weather and thunderstorms are expected to reach Spokane and Coeur d’Alene by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. While the weather outlook is improving, however, smoke from wildfires and high temperatures have combined to worsen air quality throughout Central and Eastern Washington.

March storms top off snowpack

Good news for irrigators and thrill-seeking rafters. Below-average mountain snowpacks in the Inland Northwest rebounded in March, thanks to chilly temperatures and late storms that pelted the region with heavy, wet snow. The current snowpack should keep local rivers flowing at 85 percent to 100 percent of normal during the summer months, according to the latest water supply forecast.

A gray morning followed by strong winds

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook as an unseasonably cold low pressure system moves through eastern Washington and North Idaho.