How much difference does a tenth of an inch make? Enough to set the record for snowiest winter season ever.
By today, the National Weather Service in Spokane had recorded a seasonal snow total of 93.6 inches at Spokane International Airport, besting the previous record set in 1949-50 by a mere tenth of an inch.
A daily record of 3.9 inches of snow that fell on Sunday at the airport beat out the previous record for March 29 of 1.9 inches set in 2008.
Sunday’s snow was just enough to push the season total to its new all-time record.
And the record could go a little higher if another half inch of snow falls tonight as forecasters are currently predicting. A new Pacific storm could bring the snow early Tuesday.
Last year’s total of 92.6 inches fell just shy of the all-time record.
The season currently winding down and last year’s season now rank as No. 1 and No. 3 respectively on the all-time list of snowiest in Spokane. Snow records have been kept locally since 1893.
Officially over the weekend, 4.0 inches of snow fell at Spokane International Airport.
In a related event, pilots reported that volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt in Alaska was seen above Spokane on Sunday evening at an elevation of 35,000 to 39,000 feet. Steering winds flowing southeastward out of Alaska apparently carried the ash aloft across the region.
Gusty west winds and cool conditions were expected through the region on Monday as the Inland Northwest gets a break from the March parade of storms, but more precipitation is forecast to fall through the day Tuesday.
Forecasters said the most likely weather is a mix of rain and snow tonight, especially at lower elevations, then rain on Tuesday to be followed by rain and snow through the rest of the week.
A wind advisory was issued this afternoon for Tuesday in the wake of a cold front. Winds could gust to 45 mph across the Columbia Basin northward to Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls.
This week’s storms are all likely to bring mountain snow.
Milder weather and a break in storms is expected Saturday and Sunday.
March snowfall has been nearly three times normal for the month with 9.2 inches measured at the airport so far compared with a normal monthly total through March 29 of 3.5 inches.
Total precipitation from rain and melted snow in March is 2.3 inches compared with a normal of 1.45 inches.
Normal highs for the end of March are 53 degrees for a high in Spokane and 32 for a low.