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November snow record just inches away

Braden Campbell, 7, takes a bumpy ride down the Manito Park sledding hill Monday.  November is turning out to be one of the snowiest on record.  (Colin Mulvany)
Braden Campbell, 7, takes a bumpy ride down the Manito Park sledding hill Monday. November is turning out to be one of the snowiest on record. (Colin Mulvany)

With more flakes coming, month’s snowfall could top past marks

As of Monday, the National Weather Service had measured 20.6 inches of snow this month at Spokane Internatonal Airport, making it the fifth-snowiest November on record and a good storm short of the all-time record of 24.7 inches in November 1955.

That record might fall today, with light snow this morning expected to give way to heavier snowfall after 11 a.m. All told, more than 7 inches of new snow could fall in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene and other low-lying areas.

Forecasters said Monday that Inland Northwest roads could become clogged again by this afternoon’s commute, and a winter storm warning is in effect in Eastern Washington and North Idaho through 4 a.m. Wednesday.

In yet another storm this week, another 2 to 3 inches could fall Wednesday night and Thursday, forecasters said.

But, “It’s not necessarily going to stick around all winter,” said forecaster Ron Miller. In three of the other four snowiest Novembers, the accumulating snowpacks melted off by the end of the year. Spokane airport had 9 inches of compacted snow on the ground on Monday.

This year could well follow the historical trend, Miller said. The Weather Service outlook for Dec. 7 to 13 calls for above-normal temperatures.

Snowfall records date back to 1893.

Already, Spokane has had more snow than the 13.7 inches recorded in all of the 2009-2010 season.

A La Niña 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.

As much as 6 to 10 inches could fall in the mountains of Northeast Washington and North Idaho through tonight.

Milder air being drawn into today’s storm could bring a short period of drizzle and mixed precipitation tonight, falling mostly in south-central and southeast Washington as well as near Lewiston.

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.

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 and planned to sweep Browne’s Addition streets today and Wednesday.

North-south streets will be plowed today and east-west streets on Wednesday. Drivers are required to move off the streets being plowed or face having vehicles towed, city officials said Monday.

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 working on hills and residential streets.

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 streets so plows could remove snow more efficiently.

The 7.5 inches of dry, fluffy snow that fell on Nov. 22 ranks as the third-deepest single-day November snowfall on record.

The 9 inches that fell on Nov. 4, 1973, is the most ever recorded in November.