March 15, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Winter isn’t ready to give up

Michelle Boss
 

Though spring is just around the corner, winter weather has definitely been hanging tough across the Inland Northwest.

Four to six inches of snow fell across the area earlier this week, fulfilling the snow “average” for the entire month in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Spokane has now moved up to fourth place among the snowiest winter seasons (with 88.5 inches), half an inch behind the winter of 1974-’75, and only 4.1 inches behind last year’s total. Coeur d’Alene remains in second place to last winter, with nearly 135 inches. If that weren’t enough, arctic air filtered in after the snow leading not only to record-breaking cold temperatures Wednesday morning, but continuing with record-breaking low maximum temperatures later that afternoon.

Spokane managed to remain above zero Wednesday morning with a record low of 2 degrees, while Coeur d’Alene plunged to 11 below. Afternoon temps did not make it out of the 20s, though highs this time of year are supposed to be near 50 degrees. So far this month, temperatures overall have averaged nearly 6 degrees below normal. January and February saw below normal average temps as well.

March can be a roller-coaster month when it comes to weather extremes, but our weather fluctuations during the last two weeks don’t hold a candle to some of the wild weather seen elsewhere across the U.S. My hometown city of Tulsa, Okla., is a prime example. Residents started the month with a high temperature of 39 degrees on March 1, hit 83 degrees on March 6, and six days later were back in the 30s with snow.

Long-range models are showing a pretty wet weather pattern, which is good as both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene have seen below-normal precipitation so far this year. A boost in the snowpack will go a long way toward having a good water supply during the warmer and much drier summer season ahead.

Michelle Boss can be reached at weatherboss@comcast.net

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