Mostly mild for holiday

Colin Mulvany photo

During a strong gust of wind, Michele Purkey’s umbrella flips back as she crosses the intersection of First Avenue and Wall Street on Monday in downtown Spokane.

November 20, 2012 - Updated: 11:38 a.m.

A storm whipping the West Coast is causing high winds and rain in Eastern Washington.

Ron Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said the wet, blustery weather is expected to continue through Wednesday, but Thanksgiving should be dry.

Winds of up to 20 mph are expected today.

In Oregon, rainfall in the higher elevations was expected to total 4 to 7 inches, the Associated Press reported Monday. One man, a 52-year-old elk hunter, died in the storm when a fir tree crashed on his tent near Nehalem.

East of the Cascades, the storm is much less severe, Miller said.

Still, wind speeds reached 43 mph in Moses Lake and Rathdrum, he said, and downtown Spokane saw gusts of 39 mph.

“We’ve gotten several reports of wind gusts up to 60 in the mountains,” Miller said.

No damage in the Spokane region had been reported to the National Weather Service as of Monday.

Miller said wind damage is usually not a problem until wind speeds reach about 50 mph.

Thursday should be a dry travel day, he said, along with Sunday as people return home from the holiday weekend. Every other day between now and Sunday, however, will be wet and breezy.

Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing over the weekend and into next week, Miller said, but with no precipitation.

“We don’t see any snow for Spokane in the near future,” he said.

North Cascades Highway closed

The Washington Transportation Department said it was closing the North Cascades Highway at 6 p.m. Monday because of avalanche danger from quickly deepening snow.

Forecasters expect 9 to 30 inches of snow in the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, mostly above 4,000 feet. Changing periods of rain, snow or freezing rain will likely make driving a challenge through the Cascade highway passes.

Associated Press

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