SPOKANE, Wash. — Several more inches of snow are expected in Spokane this afternoon, as forecasters expect a heavy band of snow to develop in the area.
The National Weather Service revised its forecast late Wednesday morning, calling for "increased additional snowfall totals from Spokane to the Palouse."
NWS expects a narrow heavy band of snow to develop in the afternoon hours and slowly move southeast. Local snowfall rates will likely exceed 1" per hour.
The NWS Additional snowfall forecast calls for 4" more of snow to fall in Spokane from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. This is on top of several inches of snow that fell on Wednesday morning.
The Pullman area could also see an additional 3"-4" of snow.
Here are the key details from the NWS in Spokane:
- A frontal boundary will stall over the area producing local heavy bands of snow.
- 195 and 95 corridors likely to have significant impacts
- 2-4" of snow with localized 4-8" of additional snow is possible in this area.
One of the biggest snowstorms we've seen in years hit Spokane and the Inland Northwest on Wednesday morning. Snow started falling between midnight and 2 a.m. in most areas.
By late Monday morning, several inches of snow had already piled up, with more snow still on the way. A Winter Storm Warning continues in the Spokane area until Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Updated snow totals
Here's how much snow is expected. Totals could change as the snow continues.
- Spokane 6"-10"
- Coeur d'Alene 7"-11"
- Sandpoint 10"-16"
- Omak 8"-12"
- Moses Lake 3"-6"
- Pullman 4"-7"
- Moscow 6"-10"
Snow showers will continue into Thursday which will continue to add to the snow totals.
Why so much snow?
The weather setup is cold arctic air is currently in place and stays put this week. And when a strengthening storm out of the North Pacific arrives, the overrunning deep bands of moisture will produce heavy snow throughout the region with few exceptions.
The key ingredient is the atmosphere will have about 0.4 - 0.5 inches of precipitable water, which is exceedingly high for the winter season. If all that were rain, then it'd be 0.4 to 0.5 inches. But as snow that's approximately 5 to 6 inches.
Then the topography does the rest of the work, which squeezes out the moisture as snowfall while the supply of moisture from the Pacific Ocean is continuously fed into the region. This is what gives the mountains feet of snow over the course of a single storm.
How much snow?
The forecast is for up to 10 inches of snow in Spokane and upwards of 12-16" for a corridor to the north; near Chewelah, Newport, and Sandpoint. This forecast can and will change, so check back for any updates.
Another metric we look at as meteorologist is the probability for a minimum amount of snow. For Spokane, there's a 95%+ chance for 4" of snow. It's about 50% chance for 8". And just shy of 10% chance for 12" of snow! So it's not likely, but not impossible to get a foot of snow.
There's a 40-50% chance of 12" or more of snow for the corridor referenced earlier, Chewelah, Newport, to Sandpoint.
Area mountains in North Idaho could see 1-2 feet of snow and the Cascades likely even more.
If you are planning to drive on Wednesday, the National Weather Service warns that travel could be very difficult. Snow is expected to impact both the morning and evening commutes.
Here is the advice from the NWS:
- If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
- The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5-1-1.
- Persons should delay all travel if possible. If travel is absolutely necessary, drive with extreme caution and be prepared for sudden changes in visibility. Leave plenty of room between you and the motorist ahead of you, and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Avoid sudden braking or acceleration, and be especially cautious on hills or when making turns.
- Make sure your car is winterized and in good working order.
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