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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Snowfall record remains in forecast

Randy Mann Correspondent

The winter of 2008-09, Part II, will be upon us from now until at least early-to-mid March. The full moon cycle of this week has brought another change in the weather pattern as snow has been increasing across the Inland Northwest.

Over the last several months, we’ve seen wide weather extremes across our area and other parts of the world. Prior to the full moon in December, snow was relatively scarce across our region. Then, from that mid-December to early-to-mid January, many regions received nearly double their normal seasonal snowfall in a matter of weeks. The full moon lunar phase in January brought us a new weather pattern of nearly snowless weather along with foggy and cold temperatures.

As I’ve been saying for weeks, it’s possible that the Spokane International Airport will challenge the all-time record of 93.5 inches set back in 1949-50. Last year was close to that record with 92.6 inches of the white stuff. As of Tuesday morning, the airport has received 81.5 inches with more snow expected.

If we don’t see the largest accumulation of snow ever recorded this season, the combined winters of 2007-08 and 2008-09 will be the snowiest in history. The combined seasons have a total of 174.1 inches as of early Tuesday. The closest two winters back-to-back with the largest accumulations occurred in 1949-50 and 1950-51. The record 93.5 inches in 1949-50 was followed by 71.7 inches in 1950-51, for a total of 165.2 inches.

By the way, the following season in 1951-52, the total snowfall was 79.6 inches and the winter of 1948-49 had 70.7 inches. Those four years observed much above normal snowfall. If history decides to repeat itself, it’s possible that we may be in for another harsh winter in late 2009 and early 2010, especially if sunspot activity remains low and we don’t see a new El Niño, the warmer than normal sea-surface temperature event that forms in the south-central Pacific Ocean.

Above normal amounts of snow are expected until early-to-mid March. Therefore, I think the chances are good that we will break that all-time record for snow at the airport.

Conditions should start turning a bit milder and drier than normal around the middle of next month. Much warmer weather with below normal precipitation is likely from the middle of April until the end of June.

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