March 8, 2012 in Washington Voices

Milder weather expected after February of extremes

Randy Mann
 

March started out like a lion, but may go out like a lamb across the Inland Northwest. On March 1, there were traces of snow at Spokane International Airport, but heavier amounts were reported in the Idaho Panhandle and over the higher mountains.

February was certainly a month of wide weather extremes. The first half was milder and a bit drier than normal, while the second half of February was wetter and colder than average.

Through the first 15 days of last month, only an inch of snow was reported at the airport. But, over the last 14 days, there was 8.4 inches.

Overall, temperatures for last month were only 0.4 degrees below normal with a mean temperature of 32.7 degrees. A few February days, however, were very cold with readings at 14 degrees below average on Feb. 27 and a whopping 18 degrees below normal on Feb 28.

Since Jan. 1, the airport has received 3.49 inches of rain and melted snow. This is very close to our average as of early this week. Our seasonal snowfall still remains below normal as only 30.2 inches has fallen since July 1, compared to a normal of about 41 inches.

In Coeur d’Alene, snowfall totals are actually above normal as 67.7 inches has fallen for the season. Normal for the entire season is slightly below 70 inches.

In Spokane, the average seasonal snowfall is near 45 inches.

The best chance for measurable snowfall in our region is expected during the last 10 days of March and into the first week of April during the new moon lunar cycle. Then, the weather should improve overall. I see no more snow and much warmer temperatures than last spring, thanks to the final demise of La Niña, the cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperature in Pacific Ocean waters. In fact, ocean temperatures near the South American coastline have been warming. It’s quite possible that we may be talking about a new El Niño, the warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperature, later this year.

April through early June should feature a weather pattern of sun and showers, great for our lawns, trees and flowers.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Randy at www.facebook.com/wxmann, or go to www.longrangeweather.com for additional information.

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