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Randy Mann: We’re way above norm for moisture

Thu., July 5, 2012

The first six months of 2012 have been among the wettest in some parts of the Inland Northwest in recorded history.

At Spokane International Airport, 12.99 inches of moisture was recorded through June 30. The normal is 8.88 inches. For an entire season from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, the airport normally receives 16.77 inches of rain and melted snow.

In 2011, 11.03 inches of moisture was measured through June 30.

June was another wet month in our region. At the airport, 2.86 inches of rain fell, which was 1.61 inches above normal. In the northwestern portion of Coeur d’Alene, a whopping 5.84 inches of rain was reported for June, an all-time record.

This year, since Jan. 1, Coeur d’Alene has picked up 26.48 inches of moisture. The average for an entire season is 26.77. Even if Coeur d’Alene doesn’t see a drop of rain or a flake of snow for the rest of the year, it would still be an average moisture year.

I sincerely doubt that will happen.

In terms of temperature, June 2012 was generally cooler than average, compared with areas east of the Rockies where sweltering heat has been the story as temperatures and heat indexes have been well above the 100-degree mark. At the airport, the average reading was 59.6 for last month, 2.5 degrees below normal.

Despite the below-normal temperatures, there were a few days with highs climbing into the 80s. The warmest day was June 21, with a very warm and pleasant 85 degrees.

The coolest day was June 9. A cold and wet storm system from the Pacific kept afternoon readings near 50 degrees that day. At the airport, the high was 51 degrees. The normal high was 72 degrees, making it 21 degrees below average. Some parts of North Idaho never made it out of the 40s on June 9.

The wettest day last month was June 26, when 0.65 inches of rain fell in Spokane.

The weather pattern finally looks like it will be changing. Based on current long-range outlooks, the rest of July, August and at least early September should be drier and warmer than usual with at least 20 to 25 days at or above 90 degrees and possibly as many as three to four afternoons near or above the century mark, especially in late July or early to mid-August.

If an El Niño officially arrives by the middle of summer, as the World Meteorological Organization predicts, the upcoming fall and winter seasons of 2012-’13 may also be both warmer and drier than usual throughout the Inland Northwest, including Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

For questions, comments or additional information, contact Randy Mann at wxmann, or go to www.long

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