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Randy Mann: April likely to be warmer, drier than normal

Before the colder and rainy weather across the Inland Northwest, conditions were very pleasant as temperatures climbed into the mild 60s on Friday. By contrast, high temperatures plunged into the 30s on Monday.

Despite the recent chilly weather, the rest of the month of March should have near-normal temperatures with showers alternating with sunny periods. There may be some light snow showers or flurries during the colder overnight hours, especially during the normally wetter new moon phase of March 22-29. As is typical for the month of March, we should see some gusty winds at times with the passage of storm systems from the Gulf of Alaska.

Last April was dominated by a chilly La Niña event in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. It was the coldest and wettest month of April on record across some regions of the Inland Northwest. At Spokane International Airport, the average temperature was a whopping 5 degrees below normal. About 1.1 inches of snow fell with 1.81 inches of total moisture, which was 0.53 inches above normal. The 46 degree high on April 26 was one of the coldest maximum readings recorded, with traces of snow on April 29.

This April, we should be under the influence of a milder La Nada, the in-between El Niño and La Niña sea-surface temperature cycle in the Pacific Ocean waters. Conditions in our part of the world should be a bit warmer and drier than normal.

This time around, the chances for snow on Easter are much smaller. We should likely see a daytime high in the 50s to the lower 60s on April 8.

It’s quite likely that we’ll see two or three afternoons this April with high temperatures in the pleasant 70s. There will be some frosty mornings, but that’s normal for April.

May 2011 was another in a long series of much colder and wetter than normal months across the Inland Northwest, including the Spokane area.

The afternoon high temperature on May 16 was only 47 degrees, nearly 20 degrees below normal. A trace of snow was observed on May 24 in the Idaho Panhandle, but not in the Spokane area. Total rainfall was 1.83 inches, which was .23 inches above normal. Temperatures remained cool as the average reading was 2.4 degrees below normal.

This May will likely be one or two degrees above normal. Precipitation should be slightly below normal with at least three thunderstorms this May. Some pea or marble-size hail and strong, gusty winds are also expected.

Next week, I’ll have a detailed outlook for June, July and August.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Randy Mann at wxmann.