Winter weather advisory calls for 2 to 5 inches

December 18, 2012 9:24 a.m. - Updated: 5:38 p.m.

The National Weather Service posted a winter weather advisory this afternoon for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas for 2 to 5 inches of snow Wednesday through early Thursday with the heaviest amounts likely to the north and lower amounts to the south.

The snowfall should arrive Wednesday afternoon with moderate snowfall possible in the evening, which could make driving conditions difficult with cold air arriving in advance of the storm. Temperatures on Wednesday will start out in the middle 20s and rise to near freezing in Spokane.

On Thursday, milder air pushing northward should cause snow levels to rise to 2,300 feet, which is about the elevation of Spokane International Airport and Coeur d’Alene. Rain is likely to mix with the snow in Spokane with negligible accumulation during the day. The higih could reach 38.

A more severe winter storm warning was issued for areas to the north of Deer Park, Athol and the Columbia River in Lincoln County. Some areas could see up to 10 inches or more, including Sandpoint and Colville. Cold temperatures and snow are likely to continue to the north on Thursday.

An earlier winter storm watch today said Spokane might get 6 inches of snow, but the later advisory this afternoon has reduced accumulations to 2 to 5 inches. The Palouse region is outside the advisory area with lighter amounts likely.

In addition, gusty winds from the south or southeast at 20 to 24 mph may cause snow to drift, especially in the West Plains area.

For today, there is a chance of scattered snow showers.

The chance of snow increases at mid-morning on Wednesday, and then increases by evening. Moderate snowfall in the evening should be followed by light snow during the overnight hours. A second round of moderate snow is expected on Thursday.

Snow chances diminish late in the week, but continue at 50 percent on Friday night and Saturday before dropping again on Sunday.

A broad area of low pressure is moving over the Gulf of Alaska today and is expected to send precipitation into the region as it moves eastward.

Four years ago today, Spokane had 11.1 inches of snow in the second of a two-day onslaught of 23.6 inches. That set the stage for a seasonal snowfall record of 97.8 inches.

So far this year, Spokane has had 15.3 inches of snow or a half inch above normal.

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