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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Winter’s cold start could turn around next week

Jan. 12, 2017 Updated Thu., Jan. 12, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

Pete Michalowicz, a U.S. Postal Service employee, pulls a bin of mail across a snow-covered road in Spokane, Wash., Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Pete Michalowicz, a U.S. Postal Service employee, pulls a bin of mail across a snow-covered road in Spokane, Wash., Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane temperatures from Dec. 1 to Jan. 9 are tied for the 10th coldest on record. The persistent cold could go away next week.

The average temperature was 21 degrees during that period, a number that comes from combining highs and lows each day.

It is the coldest start to winter since 1992-93, when the average temperature was 20.8 degrees, according to figures compiled by the National Weather Service in Spokane.

The coldest on record was 1979 when the average temperature was 15.3 degrees for the same period.

As for snow, this winter ranks 14th for Dec. 1 through Jan. 9.

Spokane has seen 29.5 inches in that time compared to the record of 77.8 in the all-time snow year of 2008-09.

Forecasters are calling for the current round of arctic cold to continue with lows on Thursday night in single digits moderating to 11 on Friday night and then to the teens on Saturday and Sunday nights. Highs should be in the teens and 20s until changes arrive starting on Monday.

The cold should also be accompanied by sunny periods, although patchy freezing fog is possible on Friday morning.

The potentially big reversal in the weather could come on Monday when snow chances increase, followed by the possibility of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Forecast models show that highs might make it to the low 40s in Spokane on Tuesday.

Forecasters said that rain and moderating temperatures could trigger excessive runoff and lead urban and small stream flooding along with other hazards.

Early next week may be under the influence of an “atmospheric river” of moist clouds stretching from the subtropics of the Pacific to the Inland Northwest.

“The impacts from this transition could be fairly substantial depending on how long the warmer weather and atmospheric river remains poised over the Inland Northwest,” forecasters said in a discussion on the NWS Spokane website on Wednesday.

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