With two more days to go and a big Pacific storm in the forecast, November is going down in the record books as one of the snowiest since 1893.
Already, the National Weather Service has measured 20.5 inches of snow at Spokane International Airport as of Sunday morning, making this the fifth snowiest November on record.
The all-time mark for snowfall is 24.7 inches set in 1955.
And the 7.5 inches of dry, fluffy snow that fell during an arctic air invasion last Monday ranks as the third-deepest single-day snowfall on record.
The 9 inches that fell on Nov. 4, 1973 is the most ever recorded for the month.
The airport measured 9 inches of compacted snow on the ground this morning.
Already, Spokane has seen more snow than the 13.7 inches recorded in the 2009-2010 season.
A La Nina cooling in the tropical Pacific has created a storm circulation that draws colder air from Alaska and Canada to mix with moisture off the North Pacific Ocean.
Snow could resume tonight with less than an inch expected between 4 a.m. and dawn on Tuesday.
Then, forecasters are calling for an additional 3 to 5 inches of snow during the day on Tuesday to be followed by another 1 to 2 inches of snow on Tuesday night.
A short period of freezing drizzle or snow and drizzle mix may fall over the region as a pulse of milder air gets mixed in with the Pacific storm. Generally, the mixed precipitation will stay south of Interstate 90 in south-central and southeast Washington as well as Lewiston, forecasters said.
A winter storm warning is in effect for much of Eastern Washington, North Idaho and the Upper Columbia Basin. The warning is in effect for Spokane starting at 4 a.m. and continuing until 4 a.m. Wednesday. Storm totals are expected to run from 4 to 8 inches in the Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene areas through Wednesday morning.
As much as 6 to 10 inches could fall in the mountains of Northeast Washington and North Idaho.
Snowfall rates should start out light and reach peak intensity Tuesday afternoon before starting to taper off on Tuesday night.
Another storm that will mainly affect far Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle is expected Wednesday night through Thursday night with another 3.3 inches possible in Coeur d’Alene and 2.5 inches in Spokane. Wallace could see 6.7 inches and Pullman 4.9 inches.
Light accumulations are likely from Friday through the weekend, and milder weather may settle in starting around Dec. 7, according to the Weather Service outlook.
Three of the four snowiest Novembers on record were followed by milder weather that saw the snow packs melt away by the end of the year, said forecaster Ron Miller.
“It’s not necessarily going to stick around all winter,” he said.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, a winter weather advisory for lower snow amounts is in the forecast for the Okanogan Valley, Chelan County and lower Columbia Basin from Moses Lake and Connell southward.
A deep low pressure area is moving from the Gulf of Alaska toward the Pacific Northwest and has sufficient moisture embedded in it to bring significant snows.
City and county plow crews continued efforts to clear streets.
In Spokane, the plows were finishing up a sweep of residential areas in time for the incoming storm.
Spokane County crews were working around the clock on 12-hour shifts and had succeeded in clearing arterials, emergency routes and secondary roads and were moving to hills and residential streets as of Sunday afternoon.
In Spokane Valley, crews were maintaining efforts to clear arterials and other emergency routes and also working their way through residential streets.
Coeur d’Alene crews have been working steadily since the first snowfall.
Agencies were asking owners to move their vehicles off strees so plows could remove snow more efficiently.
A passenger car was stranded on Monroe Street between Main and Riverside after going up onto a berm of snow that had been pushed to the center of Monroe as part of the city’s effort to keep downtown streets passable. The center berms are used to keep parking and sidewalks open, but can become an additional hazard for drivers.