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Wild weather

Sat., Jan. 5, 2013

Extreme storms of 2012 brought floods, fires, fallen trees and more

The weather in 2012 – as in many years – will be remembered for the damage it brought.

Unrelenting snow and rain in March set precipitation records in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and other parts of the Inland Northwest.

So much fell that roads were washed out in Bonner and Shoshone counties, prompting disaster declarations. Subsequent spring runoff triggered more flooding.

On July 20, one of the largest thunderstorms in years dropped torrential rains and large hail. Winds felled large trees, which closed roads. Two people were killed and numerous homes were damaged. Baseball-size hail pounded Juliaetta, Idaho.

An Aug. 14 storm triggered a huge wildfire near Cle Elum that eventually destroyed 70 homes.

Several days after Labor Day, thunderstorms struck again in Central Washington with renewed ferocity. Wind on Sept. 9 and 10 fanned the flames, which consumed huge swaths of forest and sent smoke across the entire Pacific Northwest. The worst air was near Wenatchee.

Spokane ended the year with 51.6 inches of snow, 12.8 inches more than normal. Precipitation was 5 inches above normal with a total of 21.32 inches.

Summer saw some of the hottest weather in years with 20 days over 90 degrees and the year’s high of 98 on July 8. The coldest temperature was 6 degrees on Feb. 8.


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