October 6, 2011 in Washington Voices

Chilly nights upon us in Spokane

Randy Mann
 

Atmospheric conditions are finally changing across the Inland Northwest. Rain showers and cooler temperatures have moved into the region. The rest of October looks like a sun-and-showers type weather pattern. Frosts and freezes will be likely locally by the full moon cycle of Oct. 12-19, close to the average occurrence of such chilly days.

Temperatures during September once again averaged well above normal. At the Spokane International Airport, there were seven days at or above 90 degrees. The latest day with readings that warm occurred on Sept. 24 with a high of 90. The coldest morning was on the 28th, four days later, with a low of 40. Overall, September’s average temperature was 65 degrees, 4.8 degrees above normal.

Only 0.14 inches of precipitation fell at the airport last month. The normal for September is 0.67 inches. Despite the recent dry spell, Spokane is still above normal for annual precipitation. As of early this week, about 12.5 inches of rain has fallen, compared to a normal of about 11 inches to date.

Last week, we printed an article that talked about how sensitive animals and some humans are toward weather changes. I received a number of emails from folks around the area telling me what they think some of these creatures are up to.

Beverly said that she watches the geese and their patterns for the upcoming winter. In 2008, the geese started flying in very large formations during the first week of September. That was the year when 90 inches of snow fell in her area. This year, the geese are also flying early, but a little later than 2008. Beverly thinks we’ll see an average snowfall year.

Sharon has noticed that her yard has been littered with hundreds, if not thousands, of chewed up pine cones over the last 3 to 4 weeks. She wonders if this points to a bad winter.

Thanks for the information. Longer term, if the reborn La Nina – the cooler than normal sea-surface temperature event in the waters of the south-central Pacific Ocean – does indeed gain strength in the next few months as expected, snowfall totals for the upcoming winter season may be above normal levels once again.

But, if we also see increased sunspot activity this winter, our total snowfall will probably be less than last winter’s 69 inches. The chances for our first measurable snowfall increase around the full moon cycle of Nov 10-17.

Contact meteorologist Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com.

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