On Sunday, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his snow-covered lair and saw his shadow at Gobbler’s Knob in central Pennsylvania. According to the legend, when the groundhog sees his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of harsh winter weather, especially east of the Rockies.
Here in the Inland Northwest, many call them woodchucks instead of groudhogs. Thanks to the recent snow and very cold temperatures, many are hibernating like bears and are not expected to come out of their dens until at least early March.
Phil may be right about six more weeks of winter, even here in the Inland Northwest. We finally got our big weather change during last week’s new moon that brought snow to the region. Since the snow started flying again, the airport has picked up about 6 inches, bringing our seasonal total to 15.3 inches. Coeur d’Alene has measured more than a foot of snow within the last week. Their total snowfall for the season stands at 27.9 inches.
In terms of temperature, February is starting off on the frigid side. As of early Tuesday, many forecasters, including myself, were projecting morning lows to be near or even below the zero mark across the region Wednesday and today. Last month, despite the fog and chilly readings, the average temperature for Spokane ended up at 29.6 degrees, which was 0.1 degree above normal.
Next week’s weather looks like more snow, especially Sunday through Wednesday, before changing to rain around the middle of the month. February should also end up as this season’s snowiest month across much of the Inland Northwest, which doesn’t happen very often. Our weather cycles are usually six weeks long, therefore this snowy period should end in early.