Local news

Warm streak may be nearing end

Punxsutawney Phil signaled on Wednesday that there will be six more weeks of winter, but it sure didn’t feel that way in Spokane.

Wednesday, with a high temperature of 52 degrees, was another in a seemingly endless span of mild days that may call into question the wisdom of the famous Pennsylvania groundhog.

Spokane experienced its 16th consecutive day of 40-degree-or-higher temperatures.

“It’s more than average, but it’s not extremely unusual. In fact, it’s rather common in the scheme of things,” said Todd Lericos, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Since the weather service began recording temperatures in Spokane in 1881, there have been more than 50 stretches of 40-plus-degree weather that began in January or February and lasted for at least 10 days.

Friday is forecasted to be the last day of the 40-plus weather for a while. That will put the streak at 18, tied for the ninth-longest stretch (or third-longest for streaks starting in January).

The longest such period started Jan. 24, 1941, and lasted 31 days.

A cold front is expected to cool things down this weekend and may provide some relief to North Idaho ski resorts, giving them 3 to 4 inches of snow, Lericos said.

The warm streak has kept Washington ski resorts idle. Of the 10 ski resorts in the state, only 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort is certain that it will open this weekend.

The Stevens County ski area’s midwinter monopoly doesn’t compensate for lower attendance, said Curt Bishop, 49’s chief financial officer.

“All ships float in a rising tide,” Bishop said. “That’s certainly not the case right now. The tide’s going out.”


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