Fine line defines weather

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It’s a matter of degrees.

That’s how Press meteorologist Randy Mann describes North Idaho weather.

A few degrees this way, and it dumps rain.

A few degrees in the other direction and the roads fill up with snow.

Those degrees south of freezing Thursday turned into just enough snow and slush to slicken Interstate 90 and result in several Panhandle crashes and slide-offs, according to Idaho State Police.

“Troopers are responding to SEVERAL crashes on I-90 in the CDA area. Expect delay and temporary road closures,” state police tweeted around 4 p.m. Thursday.

In a crash near milepost 15, near the Sherman Avenue exit on a road surface with one whitened, snow-covered eastbound lane and another slushy, gray lane of pavement, a car struck a concrete median. The vehicle was towed. There was no report of injuries.

Mann expected Thursday’s snow showers to become rain showers today and through the weekend as another similar weather front moves across the Panhandle.

“It will probably be rain showers after that,” Mann said. “And that will go into next week.”

But a couple degree temperature change could turn those showers into snow, he said.

“We could have a lot more coming as rain, and we could have a lot more coming as snow,” he said.

That’s because a southwesterly air flow is behind the wet stuff.

“It’s a fine line,” Mann said. “If it had been two or three degrees warmer (Thursday), all that snow would have come as rain.”

So far this snow season, which runs from July to June, the Coeur d’Alene area and its surrounding hills and valleys have received 50 inches of snow. Usually the area receives around 70 inches of snow per year.

Mann said area residents can expect daytime highs in the mid-30s and lows, usually in the morning, around freezing. That translates into snow and rain mixed throughout the coming week.

“Again,” Mann said, “it’s a fine line.”

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