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Inland Northwest winding up wet year

There are a few weather stations across the Inland Northwest that are on track to have the wettest year in recorded history. In northwestern Coeur d’Alene, as of early this week, more than 38 inches of rain and melted snow has fallen since Jan. 1. The normal is 26.77 inches. The all-time record moisture for that part of Coeur d’Alene is 38.77 inches, during the big ice storm year of 1996.

At Spokane International Airport, nearly 19.5 inches of moisture has fallen this year. The normal for a year is 16.67 inches. Last year, we had nearly 14.5 inches at this time.

The Inland Northwest is having a very wet year despite one of the driest midsummer-through- early-fall periods in history. That dry spell was right after one of the wettest springs in recorded history.

In terms of snowfall, 5.9 inches has fallen at the airport. The normal to date is near 7 inches. Coeur d’Alene has received 6.9 inches of snow.

Conditions were certainly milder than normal in November. At the airport, the average temperature was 38.9 degrees, which was 3.2 degrees above normal. The mildest days were Nov. 4 and 5 with a high of 57 degrees. Temperatures were mild as late as Nov. 30 with a high of 50 degrees. By contrast, the coldest morning was 20 degrees on Nov. 11.

November’s precipitation total was 3.24 inches in Spokane, 0.94 inches above normal. The wettest period was Nov. 19-20 with 1.25 inches.

Many people are asking when snow will arrive. Some measurable snowfall is expected in lower elevations this weekend. However, high pressure is expected to build in the region bringing us milder, drier and even foggier conditions next week.

As mentioned last week, there still is a better than 50/50 chance of a white Christmas. We could see some measurable snowfall early next week, but the next best chance for heavier snows in our region is around the middle of the month and again toward the New Year. If you haven’t put on your snow tires, I wouldn’t wait much longer.

There is tremendous cold in interior Alaska. Temperatures in Fairbanks have been consistently near 30 to 40 degrees below zero over the past few weeks. Eventually, some of that cold air will make its way south to the northern U.S.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Randy Mann at wxmann, or go to www.longrange for additional information.

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