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Weekend weather: Warmer front moves into region

Cool and showery weather will end today as the Inland Northwest transitions to a period of warmer and sunnier weather on Friday through at least Tuesday.

Highs will go from the upper 60s in Spokane today to the upper 70s and lower 80s into next week. Temperatures will be a few degrees cooler in North Idaho and several degrees warmer in the Columbia Basin.

A low-pressure area that brought clouds and showers on Tuesday and Wednesday is moving off to the northeast and will be replaced by strengthening higher air pressure. Sandpoint still has a 40 percent chance of showers today but will also see the warm up.

As the weekend arrives, a persistent low along the California coast will create a chance for high-elevation clouds in this region along with the warmer weather.

In North Idaho, forecasters are calling for a small chance of thunderstorms starting on Saturday night and Sunday.

In the mountains, highs will warm well into the 60s at upper elevations with lows in the middle 40s.

The warming weather could send the Pend Oreille River to flood stage by later next week as high-mountain snow melts off. The Pend Oreille was flowing at 84.6 cubic feet per second this morning and was predicted to rise to 96 cfs by Wednesday. Flood stage is at 100 cfs.

The Kootenai River at Bonners Ferry was expected to stay a couple of feet below flood stage by Wednesday.

In western Montana, the National Weather Service warned that streams and rivers could rise quickly and become dangerously high, including the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers.

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