2008 was a year of weather extremes
In terms of weather, 2008 was a year to remember, especially with the cold and snow in our region. The frigid winter of 2007-’08 had record snow totals across North Idaho. Parts of northwestern Coeur d’Alene reported an unbelievable 172.6 inches of snow. At Spokane International Airport, 92.6 inches of snow fell, just short of the 93.5 inches that fell in 1949-’50.
January 2008 started out cold and snowy. Exactly 40 inches of snow fell, and the average temperature was 2.6 degrees below normal. February was only slightly below average in terms of temperature along with 9 inches of new snow. March turned out to be another cold and snowy month as 15.8 inches was measured and readings averaged 3.2 degrees below normal. April of 2008 was another chilly month as the mean temperature was 4.5 degrees below normal. More snow fell as 4.8 inches was reported.
Warmer weather finally prevailed in May, as temperatures were 2.5 degrees above normal, and there was no measurable snow at the airport. However, just when everyone thought the snow season was over, traces were reported on June 10. The same morning, Pullman gauged two inches of snow on the Washington State University campus. The previous latest seasonal snowfall at Pullman was an inch in May 1913.
July was a warm and pleasant month with temperatures about 1.7 degrees above normal. August readings were near normal despite a hot 103-degree reading on July 17.
September and October were slightly warmer and drier than average as October received only .30 inches of rain, which was .76 inches below normal.
November received 1.55 inches of rain at the airport, but that was 0.55 inches below normal. Drought concerns were increasing at this time. Many folks were also worried about the lack of snow as the Inland Northwest had to wait until Nov. 28 before 1.5 inches fell. Then came December.
The last month of 2008 was the snowiest month in recorded history. An amazing 61.5 inches of snow fell with the majority falling from the Dec. 17 through 31. The old record was 56.4 inches in January 1950.
Despite the nearly 4 inches of moisture last month, the seasonal precipitation total of rain and melted snow ended at 16.21 inches. The normal is 16.67 inches. December 2008 was also a frigid month as the average temperature was 5.3 degrees below normal. The coldest day at the airport was minus 18 degrees on the 20th.
A drier weather pattern is expected by early next week, but more cold and snowy weather is likely toward the middle to the end of the month.