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Latest Burst Of Cold Air Sets A Record Friday’s 24 Below Lowest Ever For February

Sat., Feb. 3, 1996

As if 22 below zero wasn’t bad enough, the Arctic north sent reinforcements Friday morning, dropping the temperature two more degrees.

The minus 24 at Spokane International Airport at 5:55 a.m. Friday set a record for the month of February.

But warmer weather is on the way.

Forecasters said the region could see a 65-degree swing by late next week. Highs are predicted to reach the 40s by Thursday or Friday.

One more night of frigid cold - with a low near zero - is expected. Then, a weak storm system in the upper atmosphere should bring snow.

The record low Friday comes one year after Spokane set a record high for the same month. It was 63 degrees on Feb. 20, 1995.

Cold air will hug the ground for several days while the warmer air slowly works from the higher elevations to the low-lands, said John Livingston, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Spokane.

This week’s cold has natural gas furnaces and electric heaters working overtime.

Washington Water Power Co. reported an all-time peak in electrical use on Tuesday at 1,720 megawatts, breaking the old mark of 1,660 set on Feb. 2, 1989.

The previous peak came when the temperature dropped to minus 11 and winds gusted to 40 mph in 1989.

Dana Anderson, WWP spokeswoman, said this week’s peak load was due in part to economic growth and expansion of WWP’s service area to Sandpoint.

To meet the demand, WWP switched over to the power generated by its Rathdrum natural gas power plant.

On the natural gas side, consumption increased 67 percent from last week to this week, she said.

The cold weather gave a break to plow crews, which finished clearing streets Wednesday. City crews were patrolling the city for slick spots, laying down sand at intersections and fixing equipment broken during 11 days of snow last month.

Elsewhere in North Idaho, minus 24 was reported at Fernwood about 25 miles southeast of Coeur d’Alene.Ritzville was 25 below zero; Pullman, minus 24;

Colville, minus 4; Davenport, minus 5, and Colton, minus 23.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo Graphic: Fridgid February


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