Rain, snow starting to taper off across region
December 7, 2012 10:55 a.m. - Updated: 5:33 p.m.
A vigorous storm has pushed through the Inland Northwest today, bringing a mix of rain, snow and thunderstorms. Heavy snow was occurring in the mountains and travel over the passes was slowed as a result.
Forecasters said the storm has pretty much ended in the Spokane area with a 20 percent chance of rain or snow through 7 p.m.
Precipitation was lingering over the mountain areas, however.
Sunshine could appear on Saturday when a high of 32 is expected. A 20 percent chance of snow showers return to the forecast on Sunday.
The snow level in the Spokane area was 2,300 feet, which was above the downtown and Spokane Valley areas.
Moderate snow was reported toay at Deer Park Airport. Thunderstorms occurred over the Palouse. Heavy snow was reported in the mountains.
Traffic cameras late this morning showed a layer of wet snow on U.S. Highway 395 at the summit of a low pass just east of Loon Lake in southern Stevens County.
Winter storm warnings were in effect for the Cascades, the Blues and the mountains of the central Idaho Panhandle. A winter weather advisory is also in effect for portions of Northeast Washington and North Idaho.
A wind advisory is in effect for the southern Columbia Basin and Palouse areas. Gusts from the west could reach 45 mph.
Mountain passes on Interstate 90 were open and snow was visible on traffic cameras throughout the day.
Chains were required this afternoon on Snoqualmie Pass on all vehicles without all-wheel drive. Compact snow and slush was reported along the roadway. To the north on U.S. Highway 2 in the Cascades, Stevens Pass was getting heavy snow with compact snow on the roadway. Traction tires were required.
In Idaho, snow and slush were along the roadway on both Lookout and Fourth of July passes on I-90.
Forecasters for the National Weather Service said they expect moderate to heavy precipitation in the Inland Northwest starting this afternoon and lasting into the evening.