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Biggest storm of the winter dropping snow on the Inland Northwest this morning

Courtesy of National Weather Service

Weather forecasters say the Inland Northwest is in for the biggest snowstorm of this young winter over the next 24 hours.National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Brown says the Spokane area is likely to receive between six to eight inches of snow by Thursday afternoon. North Idaho and other higher elevations could receive significantly more.

“Especially in the Cascades and the mountains, feet of snow and it becoming progressively wet and heavy snow during this event. That could lead to tree damage and power outages,” Brown said.

The weather service estimates Stevens and Snoqualmie passes could receive between three and four feet of snow, Lookout Pass between two and three feet. Travel through the passes could be slow, if not impossible, due to the possibility of avalanches.

Expected snow estimates for other cities in the Inland Northwest include 14” in Sandpoint, 12” for Bonners Ferry and Kellogg, 10” for Deer Park and Chewelah, 9” for Colville and 7” for Republic and Pullman. Areas south of I-90 are expected to receive less. Moses Lake is due to receive about 4”, Ritzville and Walla Walla 3” and the Tri-Cities 2”.

By Thursday afternoon, Brown says temperatures may warm enough that precipitation in the lower elevations could turn to rain. By Friday, he says winds will pick up, raising the possibility of drifting snow.

The region will dry out and get colder this weekend, refreezing areas that had begun to melt.