Many areas received measurable snowfall earlier this week. The airport received a record 1.9 inches of snow on Tuesday, bringing the seasonal total to 2.5 inches. I’m still looking for heavier snows around the full moon – Nov. 17. I would recommend that you have the snowblowers ready and snow tires put on your car by that time.
Our winter is often dictated by the abnormal warming and cooling of sea-surface temperatures along the equatorial regions near the west coast of South America along with sunspot activity. Earlier this year, we were in the cooler La Niña. However, within the last several weeks, ocean temperatures have warmed. We no longer have a La Niña, but a La Nada, the in-between cooler La Niña and warmer El Niño event.
Last winter, Spokane International Airport picked up 43.5 inches of snow, a little below average for the season. The normal is about 47 inches. In Coeur d’Alene, 73.6 inches was measured compared to the normal of about 70 inches.
I don’t believe we’ll come close to the record of 97.8 inches, set during the 2008-09 season. In December 2008, 61.5 inches fell. Coeur d’Alene ended that season with 145.6 inches – its record, 172.9 inches, was set the year before. From late 2007 into early 2009, we had a moderate to strong La Nina and solar activity was extremely low.
Based on the current data, our snowfall season should be near to a little above normal.
I expect more snowfall in the first half of winter. The Spokane International Airport should end up with approximately 55 to 60 inches of snow for the 2013-14 season. I predict 57 to 62 inches of snow in the Spokane Valley, and 60 to 65 inches on the South Hill and North Side. The areas south of Spokane should see approximately 50 to 55 inches of snow. Coeur d’Alene’s snowfall total is projected to be 69 to 74 inches.
Remember, if ocean waters start warming more dramatically in the coming weeks, then these snowfall projections may be lowered. Stay tuned.