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Summer heat, few rainy days, may harken an unusual autumn

Thu., Aug. 15, 2013

It’s been another hot week across the Inland Northwest with above-normal temperatures in the upper 80s and 90s at Spokane International Airport.

Despite the warm week, the average temperature at the airport for the month has been near 72 degrees, about a degree above normal.

Cool weather during the first four days of the month have helped keep average readings close to normal. On Aug. 2, the high was a mere 61 degrees, more than 20 degrees below average. That was also the day when heavy rains fell across our region.

Despite the cool start to August, Monday was the 20th day this summer with a high at or above 90 degrees. The normal for a summer season is 19 days.

And though it seems like our summer has been drier than normal, precipitation totals have actually been near-to-above normal.

An impressive 0.53 inches fell on Aug. 2 at the airport, while a record 1.31 inches fell in Coeur d’Alene. More rain fell that night and early Aug. 3 as strong thunderstorms moved across the region. More than 10,000 lightning strikes were reported in parts of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. A golf course in Post Falls lost power as well as its computer system.

In June, the airport picked up 1.86 inches of rain, which was .61 inches above normal. In July, there were only traces of moisture, which was .64 inches below normal. So far in August, rainfall totals are about 0.4 inches above normal.

It still looks like the high pressure ridge that’s been providing us with the very warm weather will hold on through the end of the month. In fact, I expect the first few weeks of September to have relatively nice weather as well.

Often when we have a weather pattern with few days of rainfall and very warm to hot temperatures during the summer, the fall season will turn much wetter and cooler than normal. I believe that once we get into late September or October, we’ll see more precipitation.

We still have a very weak, cooler-than-normal La Niña sea-surface temperature event in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Assuming this La Niña holds on through the end of the year, our winter season may turn out to be a bit colder and snowier than normal.

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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