If you believe long-range weather outlooks, the sometimes brutal winter of 1995-96 should give way to a kinder, gentler spring.
The National Weather Service is calling for above-normal temperatures, but also higher-than-normal rainfall in April, May and possibly June.
At the same time, the outlook for June, July and August suggests a normal summer with warm, dry days.
Professor Bob Quinn of Eastern Washington University is predicting what he calls a “traditional Spokane summer.” Quinn, who teaches geography, is a weather expert.
Spring arrives at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday, putting an official end to one of the nastiest winters in nearly 30 years.
It started out easy enough. Hardly any snow fell through the end of December, and the unusual warmth continued through early January. But all of that changed later in January with 21 inches of powder falling in Spokane.
On Feb. 2, the mercury plunged to minus-24, the coldest temperature in Spokane since 1968 and the all-time low for the month of February.
A week later, a series of subtropical storms unleashed the worst flooding since 1964 in the Pacific Northwest.
Then a foot of snow fell two weeks ago, giving residents more shivers and wondering if winter would ever give up.
Five months ago, Quinn correctly predicted heavy amounts of snow and rain during the winter.
Spokane got 51 inches of snow, right at the average for a typical winter. Precipitation was much higher than normal.
Now, Quinn predicts rainy periods to continue, but the storms will be of shorter duration and lighter intensity. An extended spell of warm weather should arrive by late spring, he said.
“I’m not forecasting a dry spring, but not a real wet one either,” Quinn said.
Quinn bases his prediction on ocean water temperatures and how they affect storm movements.
In the past year, the ocean has cooled. That trend normally allows a strong high-pressure system to nose its way north from California, bringing dry, warm weather, he said.
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