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2012 was another year of weather extremes

Last year was another year of extremes across the Inland Northwest. Precipitation totals were above normal levels over the region. We had one of the wettest springs and driest summer and early fall seasons in recorded history.

At the Spokane International Airport, a total of 2.58 inches of moisture was measured in December. That amount brought the total to 21.32 inches for 2012. The normal annual precipitation is 16.56 inches. In 2011, there was a total of 15.40 inches at the airport.

Although the precipitation total at the airport was impressive last year, Coeur d’Alene’s moisture was almost twice its normal. For 2012, the northwestern portion of the city logged a whopping 43.27 inches of rain and melted snow, breaking the previous record of 38.77 inches measured in 1996, the year of the big ice storm. Coeur d’Alene’s normal annual precipitation is 26.77 inches. It’s quite doubtful that Coeur d’Alene will see another year above 40 inches of moisture within the next 10 to 20 years.

In terms of snowfall, December had 18.1 inches at the airport, 3.5 inches above normal. On Monday, the airport received a record 6.9 inches of snow, beating the old record of 6 inches in 1950. Since the beginning of the snowfall season, 33.2 inches of snow has fallen at the airport, compared to a normal to date of 25.4 inches. In Coeur d’Alene, 46.8 inches of snow has fallen for the 2012-’13 season.

Average temperatures at the airport for the second half of 2012 were above normal. Last month the average temperature was 31.2, 3.8 degrees above normal. For the entire year, the airport had an average temperature of about 49 degrees, which was about 1 degree above normal.

After a chilly end to this week, weather conditions should be milder and drier later next week as high pressure builds into the region. More snow is expected toward the end of the month and into early February. Snowfall totals for the season should be slightly above normal, or close to 50 inches in Spokane.

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