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

2010 had mild start but a cold, snowy finish


There’s little doubt that our cycle of wide weather extremes continues across the Inland Northwest and the rest of the world. Thanks to the cooler-than-normal, sea-surface temperature event in the south-central Pacific Ocean, La Niña, our region will be enduring another year of much above normal snowfall.

However, January of 2010, thanks to El Niño, started off mild and practically snowless. The average temperature was 35.1 degrees, which was 7.1 degrees above normal. Only 1.4 inches of snow fell during the first month of 2010, very different from what I’m expecting for January of 2011.

The warmer-than-normal weather continued into February with a mean temperature of 37.9 degrees. That was 5.4 degrees above normal. Most of the precipitation fell as rain as only 0.9 inches of snow fell at Spokane International Airport. The weather for March and April of was only slightly warmer and drier than normal.

In early 2010, El Niño was weakening and a new La Niña was beginning to form. The average temperature for that month at the airport was 51.3 degrees, which was 3.1 degrees below normal. Precipitation totals increased as 2.15 inches of moisture fell, and that was 0.55 inches above normal.

Heavier rainfall totals in June helped to keep average temperatures below normal in June. An impressive 2.56 inches of rain fell, compared to a normal of just 1.18 inches.

Summer finally arrived in July with drier-than-normal weather and near-normal temperatures. The hottest day of that month was on July 26 with a high of 95 degrees, also the warmest day of the year. August was also a bit drier than normal with normal temperatures. The warmest days were on the 17th and 25th with a high of 93 degrees. September’s weather was relatively normal.

October turned slightly warmer and wetter. However, November turned out to be the snowiest November in recorded history. Total snowfall was an amazing 25.9 inches, breaking the old record of 24.7 inches set back in 1955. That was almost double the 14.4 inches that fell for the entire 2009-10 season. In addition to the heavy snows, temperatures plunged to 10 below zero on Nov. 24. Despite the frigid weather, the average temperature for November of 2010 was only 1.8 degrees below normal.

December was above normal in terms of temperature, liquid precipitation and snow. The average reading was 29.4 degrees, which was 2.2 degrees above normal. Precipitation, rain and melted snow, came to 3.19 inches. That was 0.94 inches above normal. At the airport, 17.4 inches of snow fell. Total precipitation for 2010 was 19.03 inches, compared to an average of 16.67 inches.

Contact meteorologist Randy Mann at randy@longrange
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