October 21, 2010 in Washington Voices

Mild, dry fall days about to give way to cold, snow

RandyMann
 

Last weekend, we finally saw temperatures fall below the freezing mark in the Spokane area.

The coldest morning was 30 degrees on Sunday. Despite the chilly mornings with occasional fog, the weather has been nice across the Inland Northwest. But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The full moon lunar cycle of Oct. 23-29 is expected to bring some major weather changes to our region.

By this weekend, the upper-level jet stream winds will dip southward across our area. Colder temperatures along with increasing rain showers can be expected. The air looks cold enough to produce some snow in the higher mountains next week. Don’t be too surprised to see a few flakes of snow mixing with the rain in the lower elevations, especially toward the Idaho Panhandle.

As far as moisture is concerned, the first half of October was close to normal in rainfall, at half an inch. In terms of temperature, the average reading at Spokane International Airport, as of early Tuesday, was 53.3 degrees, which is 3.4 degrees above normal. However, as mentioned earlier, the weather will be changing soon.

Long term, I still see above-normal moisture in the Spokane area and the rest of the Inland Northwest in the 90-day span from late October through late January. This is due, at least in part, to the strengthening of the cooler La Niña in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and rather low sunspot activity.

Temperatures should be slightly below normal overall in the next three months, resulting in the above-normal snowfall. As I mentioned last week, snowfall totals are expected to be above normal this winter. The airport should see approximately 50 inches of snow.

Unless weather patterns change, the local ski resorts may be able to open for business in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Ski resorts in Idaho may actually open prior to Thanksgiving, if they gauge above-normal amounts of snow as expected during the first two weeks of November.

It’s possible that we could see some measurable snowfall in the next week to 10 days, but our best chance for the first measurable snow of the season, in the lowlands below 2,300 feet, should arrive sometime around Veterans Day, Nov. 11.


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