Winter storm watch issued for mountains

November 30, 2012 4:33 p.m. - Updated: 4:48 p.m.

The National Weather Service this afternoon issued a winter storm watch for the mountains of the Inland Northwest on Saturday night and Sunday.

As much as a foot of snow could fall across a broad swath of the region at elevations above 3,000 feet in northern mountains and 4,500 feet in the Central Idaho Panhandle.

The storm is expected to develop off a low pressure area in the Gulf of Alaska, circulating moisture initially into southeast Washington but moving northward as a new low pressure area forms over Eastern Washington late on Saturday.

Snow could start falling tonight and Saturday with several inches possible in the mountains.

A stronger storm on Saturday night and Sunday may bring an additional 5 to 11 inches to Northeast Washington and North Idaho above 3,000 feet in elevation. Six to 12 inches could fall in the central Panhandle above 4,500 feet on Saturday night and Sunday.

Some rain may fall in the mountains tonight.

Snow is also expected in the Cascades over the weekend. However, Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 should be just below the snow line during the heaviest part of the storm, forecasters said.

Spokane and Coeur d’Alene will see rain starting tonight with the stronger storm bringing more rain on Saturday night and Sunday.

Gusty winds to 38 mph are expected in Spokane. Strong winds are likely across the region and in the mountains.

Highs will be in the 40s with lows in the upper 30s to low 40s.

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