Low elevation rain, mountain snow on the way

November 28, 2012 9:21 a.m. - Updated: 9:42 a.m.

This morning’s bright sunrise is going to change over to a four- to five-day spell of stormy weather, forecasters said today.

Lower elevation rain and mountain snow are expected starting tonight and continuing off and on until milder air arrives and raises temperatures and snow levels by the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

Colder air near the Cascades and western Columbia Basin could allow for snowfall as low as 2,000 feet in elevation, especially in north-central Washington.

Rain is expected in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene and could arrive after 4 p.m. Today’s high should be around 40 in Spokand and 43 in Coeur d’Alene.

Highs will increase to the middle 40s by the weekend. Lows will go from around 33 tonight to about 39 by Friday night.

In the mountains, snow is expected during the first few days of the incoming storms, but milder air by Friday and Saturday could bring rain up to elevations near 5,000 feet, or the lower third of ski areas.

The rain at middle mountain elevations should end during the day on Saturday as the colder portion of the storm center moves inland and drops snow levels.

A large upper-elevation low pressure area has moved into the Gulf of Alaska and is expected to rotate periods of precipitation into the region through the weekend.

As that low pressure moves eastward early next week the precipitation should subside, although rain showers are likely Sunday night through Tuesday with snow showers forecast in the mountains.

Another low is seen on forecast models to replace it on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Spokane has seen 4.4 inches of precipitation since Oct. 1, which is an inch above normal. That includes the water equivalent in 5.9 inches of snow.

For the year, the city has received 18.3 inches of precipitation, which is 4.3 inches above normal.

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