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Weathercatch: February fools region with weather in reverse

February is a transitionary month – a bridge from winter to early spring that typically starts out cold and ends with milder temperatures.

This year, however, Mother Nature turned the bridge around, going from spring like conditions to hardcore winter.

February’s first half gave us temperatures mild enough to prod green daffodil blades from the ground and to hint that cherry blossoms might not be far off.

This intermittent taste-of-spring weather brought a mix of sun, clouds, rain and temperatures reaching as high as 58 degrees in Spokane and 54 in Pullman on Feb. 8. Overall, the Inland Northwest saw above average temperatures and very little snowfall for almost two weeks.

Mild weather conditions led many people to think winter was over. That is, until Valentine’s Day.

On that day, 7.3 inches of snow fell in Spokane, shattering the record of 4 inches set in 1923. Less than a week later, winter further tightened its grip when arctic air carried southward brought the year’s first big chill to Eastern Washington. On Feb. 19, the temperature sank to a low of minus 6 degrees in Pullman, breaking its previous record of minus 1 set in 1910. On Feb. 21, the Spokane office of the National Weather Service recorded its coldest day of the year with a reading of minus 3 degrees.

This past weekend, heavy snow and gusty winds pelted parts of the Inland Northwest. Between 6 and 8 inches fell on the Palouse and almost a foot of snow on Mount Spokane. Winds rolled through the region Sunday, with gusts clocking up to 52 mph at Spokane International Airport.

February brought snow, rain and gloomy gray, but the calendar has now turned and spring is just three weeks away.

Nic Loyd is a meteorologist with Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. Linda Weiford is a WSU news writer and weather geek. Contact: linda.weiford@wsu.edu or nicholas.loyd@wsu.edu.


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