It’s too soon to tell, but a near-record cold December so far might mean a white Christmas.
The average temperature for the past two weeks has been so cold that only twice, in 1919 and 1972, was it as chilly, said forecasters at the National Weather Service.
The average overall temperature in Spokane for December has been 15.9 degrees so far – so cold that some area lakes have frozen over earlier than usual.
Fishermen were poking holes in Hauser Lake on Wednesday morning, said resident Dave Nall. On weekends, 20 to 30 people sometimes will crowd the lake, he said.
Nall estimated temperatures have stayed below freezing for about 16 days.
It doesn’t look to warm up anytime soon, but low clouds and fog will stay for the time being, said meteorologist Bob Tobin.
“If the sun does come through, it would be nice, but it’s tough this time of year,” he said.
High pressure has floated over the area since the beginning of the month, and cold arctic air has flooded into the valleys, he said.
The forecast into the middle of next week shows no storms coming through, but high temperatures may drop down to the lower 20s and high teens again.
Though Christmas weekend is still too far to accurately forecast, there’s a possibility storms will be passing through the region around Dec. 25.
“It does look like we have some pattern changes going on very late in our forecast period, but that’s a big if,” Tobin said.
Computer models cannot tell so far in advance if storms will bring rain or snow, he said.
But if history is a guide, the end of December could heat up.
The last two times that the first weeks of December were this cold, highs by the end of the month were in the 50s, according to the National Weather Service.
“There’s always an outside chance,” Tobin said, “but you’d have to have a pineapple express set up over us.”