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Forecasters predict more of the same

Fri., Dec. 26, 2008, 2:46 p.m.

If you’re feeling tired of the weather, forecasters have bad news: It looks like more of the same.

Though there is a chance of some warmer temperatures and rain over the region in the next few days, the general outlook through early January is for more snow and cold, said John Livingston, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“It doesn’t look like there’s any relief on the horizon,” he said.

Snow was forecast overnight and through Saturday afternoon, turning to rain with highs a bit above freezing. Rain and snow are likely Sunday and Monday in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane – and all the way through New Year’s Day, the weather service says.

On several days, the temperatures are predicted to hover around freezing – give or take a degree or two. That will make a big difference in whether the precipitation falls as rain or snow. But one or the other is considered very likely for several days.

So, what does all this intense winter weather in such a short time mean for the rest of the season? Livingston said that forecasting is most accurate in the short term, and noted that long-term forecasts don’t show a particular pattern that allows them to predict weather patterns in later January or February – something like an El Niño. So the forecasts for the next couple of months aren’t very specific, he said – they show “equal chance” for average, below-average or above-average precipitation.

But in the first week and a half of January, forecasts call for an increased chance of above-average snowfall. January is usually the snowiest month, with an average of 13.1 inches.

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