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Washington Voices

Record November total doesn’t mean the snow’s over

Thu., Dec. 2, 2010

The total snowfall for November at the Spokane International Airport was 25.9 inches. That amount breaks the all-time record for snow in November.

The old record was 24.7 inches, set in 1955. And, that’s almost double the total we received for the 2009-’10 season, as only 14.4 inches was measured at the airport. The normal snowfall for a season in Spokane is 45.6 inches.

In Coeur d’Alene, 38.3 inches fell in November. This breaks the record of 31.6 inches set in 1973.

It’s almost hard to believe that early November had temperatures above normal in our region. On Nov. 6, the high was a warm 60 degrees with a low of 43 degrees at the airport, which was 14 degrees above normal. The warmer-than- normal weather continued on Nov. 15 and 16 with average temperatures about 8 degrees above normal.

As we all know, the warmer-than- normal readings came to an abrupt end. Since Nov. 20, average temperatures have been below normal. The most frigid days occurred on Nov. 23 and 24. The mercury only managed to get to a high of 11 degrees, after a low of 10 below zero, on Nov. 23. The next day the high was only 9 degrees after a low of 7 below zero. For both days, the average temperature was 1 degree, an amazing 31 degrees below normal.

For the month of November, the mean temperature is about 33. The normal is near 35. With all of the new snow, liquid precipitation totals are about a half-inch above normal for November. For 2010, the Spokane International Airport has received around 15 1/3 inches of total precipitation. The normal for the year is 16.67 inches.

Our region seems to be locked in a six- to eight-week snowy cycle that started near the full moon lunar phase of Nov. 21. I expect to see more snow and chilly temperatures between now and the middle of January. Unless there is a surprise big warm up, a white Christmas for much of the Inland Northwest looks like a certainty.

Assuming that La Niña, the cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperature in the south-central Pacific Ocean doesn’t strengthen over the next four to six weeks, conditions in our region should turn drier and milder during the second half of winter.

My original prediction was approximately 50 inches of total snowfall at the airport. However, the record snowfall in November may push that figure to near 65 inches.

Contact meteorologist Randy Mann at

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