Scientific Forecaster Discussion

Return to Local Conditions & Forecast

Without Abbreviations
With Abbreviations

fxus66 kotx 221054 

Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service Spokane Washington
254 am PST Wed Feb 22 2017

the widespread wet weather of the past couple days will begin to
subside as a cooler and unstable air mass takes up residence
across the region later today. This air mass will deliver periodic
showers to the area, with most of them occurring over the
mountains. Temperatures will remain cooler than normal for this
time of year with highs generally in the mid 30s to mid 40s and
nighttime lows in the teens to middle 20s.


today and tonight...the widespread wet weather of the past few
days will finally come to an end during this period as any
remnants of the atmospheric river continue to shift southward with
the advance of a cold upper level trough. As of 2am, it appeared
most of the moisture from the atmospheric river was fixed from the
southeast corner of Washington and toward the Silver Valley. This
moisture has combined with weak to moderate isentropic ascent in
this region and was responsible for the increase in light
precipitation during the past couple hours. The best ascent and
moisture availability was focused over locations south of Pullman
and onto the Camas Prairie. The models are fairly consistent on
weakening this ascent as the upper level trough begins to shift
toward the north Cascades by late morning. Before that happens its
possible some moderate snow could develop on the Camas Prairie and
perhaps into the clearwaters. A Winter Weather Advisory was issued
for this area last evening and we will continue with it for now.
Snow levels in this area will generally be 2000' or lower. By
afternoon the focus will shift from the stratiform precipitation
over this region to more of a showery regime as the upper level
trough shifts into NC Washington. 500 mb temperatures plummet to
-37c or colder which will combine with any daytime heating
resulting in some fairly good instability. The NAM is forecasting
lifted index values of zero or slightly lower across the northern
third of Washington by afternoon and this will likely lead to a
diurnal increase in shower coverage. Additional showers are also
expected across the Idaho Panhandle, especially south of i90. The NAM
sounding show relatively deep convection with cloud top
temperatures likely of -20c or colder. While this can support the
remote chance of thunderstorms, we suspect the cloud bottom
temperatures will be a little too cold to support a good charge
separation in the cloud. We suspect the setup will lead toward
more graupel showers than anything else. For tonight, the upper
level trough will continue to drop southward with good
destabilization occurring across the entire region. Despite this
trend we suspect the chances of showers will wane as the lower
portion of the atmosphere cools just as fast if not faster than it
does aloft. While a few showers will be possible over the
mountains, it should be dry most locations overnight. Temperatures
could be tricky. As the trough moves in there is a decent chance
the widespread stratus currently over eastern Washington should
break. The clearing skies (if they occur) will lead to rapid
cooling and temps will dip to their coolest levels in a few days.
We expect lows to be in the teens to mid 20s. This could lead to
some rapid fog development, however a transition to light north
winds in the boundary layer would suggest otherwise. Expect to see
lows in the mid teens to mid 20s for most locations, however there
is a high amount of uncertainty with this forecast. Fx

Thursday through tuesday: the inland northwest transitions to a cooler,
showery west-northwest flow. A long-wave trough sets up over the
western U.S. And the jet stream and primary storm track largely
steer the more robust systems and deeper moisture away from the
region. Yet smaller scale features and the flow will still provide
some risk for showers, largely in the form of snow, with the best
risk around and just downwind of the mountains and across the
eastern Columbia Basin. Precipitation amounts look rather light,
compared to more recent systems. Yet details will need fine-
tuning. The night/early morning will have a patchy fog threat.
Otherwise expect a mix of clouds and sun. A notable feature of
the period will be temperatures, as they will be below seasonal
norms by some 6-11 degrees /j. Cote'


06z tafs: quite the aviation mess out there with IFR/LIFR stratus
and fog stretching from Moses Lake to Spokane to Coeur D Alene.
Weak lift into the low clouds is squeezing out drizzle in the form
of freezing drizzle at kgeg. Drizzle will fluctuate on and off
through 10z. Meanwhile...low stratus and periods of light snow
will impact Pullman with a lesser chance for rain/snow mix at
Lewiston. Pcpn is winding down at this hour in the southeast but
looks to incr again overnight as another wave tracks through.
Once this wave passes, drier NW flow should provide improving
conditions for all terminals but after dark...expect winds to
decrease and areas of fog to redevelop. /Sb


Preliminary point temps/pops...
Spokane 36 22 35 19 33 19 / 20 10 10 10 20 10
Coeur D'Alene 37 21 36 17 35 16 / 30 20 10 10 30 10
Pullman 38 22 36 21 36 19 / 10 10 20 10 20 10
Lewiston 43 28 41 26 41 25 / 20 10 20 10 10 10
Colville 39 20 37 18 36 19 / 20 20 10 10 20 10
Sandpoint 37 21 36 19 33 17 / 20 20 10 20 20 10
Kellogg 36 22 34 20 33 18 / 30 10 30 20 30 10
Moses Lake 40 20 36 20 35 21 / 0 0 0 10 10 10
Wenatchee 39 23 35 20 33 21 / 0 0 10 10 20 20
Omak 38 19 35 19 32 20 / 10 10 10 10 20 20


Otx watches/warnings/advisories...
Idaho...Flood Watch through this afternoon for central Panhandle
mountains-Coeur D'Alene area-Idaho Palouse.

Winter Weather Advisory until 11 am PST this morning for central
Panhandle mountains-Lewis and southern Nez Perce counties-
Lewiston area.

Washington...Flood Watch through this afternoon for Spokane area-Washington

National Weather Service Glossary of Abbreviations