Waiting For Spring? Experts Say It’s Here

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1996

Call it a typically soggy spring.

While forecasts are calling for at least another week of wet, cool weather, experts say it shouldn’t come as a surprise in the Inland Northwest.

May ranks among the rainiest months - more so on average than April or October, and right in there with March.

“People keep saying they are waiting for spring. I tell them, ‘This is spring,”’ said Ron Miller, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Spokane.

“This is not abnormal. There have been wetter years. There have been cooler years,” he said.

In 1991, the temperature didn’t rise above 75 degrees until June 1.

More than three inches of rain fell in May 1990.

This year, there was just a quick tease of warmth. The thermometer hit 75 degrees on April 8. That was the last time the temperature topped 70 degrees in Spokane.

But by mid-May, records show, the change toward summer should start to accelerate, so there’s no doubt the cool weather is lingering longer than usual.

On average, Spokane hits 80 degrees on May 11 and 85 degrees on May 31.

There are always exceptions. In 1932, Spokane didn’t reach 80 degrees until June 11, the latest date on record for the first 80-degree day of spring.

As for rain, a half-inch fell Wednesday at Spokane International Airport.

That brings total rainfall so far this year to 9.58 inches, compared with an average of 6.7 inches - nearly 50 percent more than normal.

As a result, the Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the St. Joe River at St. Maries, Idaho. A flood stage of 32 feet is expected there Friday morning before the river starts to drop.

Other North Idaho rivers were expected to stay below flood stage.

The latest spell of wet weather is caused by a strong jet stream over the Pacific Ocean that is sweeping clouds and moisture up from the coasts of Oregon and California.

This is all rotating around a low-pressure center in the Gulf of Alaska, which would normally migrate eastward after a few days, but is being blocked this week by high pressure and hot weather in the middle part of the United States.

But don’t give up on nice weather, forecasters say.

The long-term Weather Service outlook through September calls for normal temperatures and normal precipitation.

, DataTimes


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