Heavier snowfall likely in Northwest mountains

Spokane area to see only light amounts

December 6, 2012 10:06 a.m. - Updated: 10:56 a.m.

A pair of winter storms expected over the Inland Northwest today and Friday could bring heavy snow to portions of the region’s mountains, but Spokane will only see light accumulations, forecasters said this morning.

Snow has been slowing traffic this morning on both Snoqualmie and Stevens passes in Washington’s Cascades. In Idaho, Fourth of July and Lookout passes on Interstate 90 were clear, although Lookout Pass had icy patches, state officials said.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the mountains east of Coeur d’Alene, St. Maries and Moscow in North Idaho as well as parts of the Cascades.

A separate winter weather advisory is in effect for the Northeast Washington mountains and North Central Washington. A winter weather advisory is less severe.

Spokane could see light accumulations of less than a half of an inch today, tonight and Friday for a total of less than an inch and a half. Highs today and Friday in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene should reach 40, minimizing the effect of any snow on area roadways. Lows tonight will be near freezing.

Coeur d’Alene could see up to 2 inches or more of snow tonight and Friday.

The mountains could get pounded, however.

Forecasters are calling for amounts of 15 to 30 inches with hazardous driving conditions likely in portions of major ranges. The heavier amounts are possible in the Central Idaho Panhandle east of Orofino and in the Cascades west of Leavenworth and Winthrop.

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