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Randy Mann: A mix of rain and snow is heading our way

Thu., Oct. 31, 2013, midnight

It’s been a dry October across the Inland Northwest.

Only 0.09 inches of rain has fallen this month. The normal for October in Spokane is 1.18 inches.

Until this week, temperatures in our region were climbing into the 50s and 60s, but cooler air from the north has now dropped highs into the chilly 40s in many areas.

I do see some major weather changes toward the wet side beginning in the first week of November. It’s quite possible that we could see some snow mixing in with the rain above 2,300 feet sometime next week – and if the precipitation falls at night, a few lower areas may get measurable snowfall as very chilly air from Canada is expected to filter into our area.

The next best chance for our first major snowfall of this season would be around the full moon on Nov. 17 and the following week. There’s a possibility that we could see several inches of snow all the way down to the valley floor with a foot or more of new snow in the higher mountains. Some of the local ski resorts, especially near the Idaho and Montana border, could open in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Mount Spokane could open as well, but it’s more likely the resort will start the season in early to mid-December.

We still have a very weak La Niña, the cooler than normal sea-surface temperature pattern, in the waters of the south-central Pacific Ocean. However, over the past several weeks, readings have warmed up a bit.

It still appears that the first half of this winter should be a bit colder and snowier than normal across the Inland Northwest. But, if ocean temperatures continue to climb and we see the development of a La Nada (in-between El Niño and La Niña) or even a weak El Niño, we’ll probably see more rain than snow as we move toward the second half of the season.

I don’t think we’ll have the severe-type winter that a few almanacs are predicting. Once again, only time will tell.

Happy Halloween!

Contact Randy Mann at wxmann, or go to www.longrange for additional information.

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