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Bitter, but not quite record-breaking cold in Spokane on Sunday morning

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 25, 2020

Heavy snow clung to the remaining leaves frozen in mid- autumnal transition in Manito Park on Sunday morning, but the Bowman family was engaged in more traditional winter fun.

“It’s just right. It’s like 20-something,” said 7-year-old Josiah, prepping for another sledding run down one of the South Hill’s signature runs.

A couple of dozen sledders joined the Bowmans on Sunday morning after a night when temperatures plunged to near- record lows in the Inland Northwest. Even colder temperatures were forecast for overnight Sunday, as crews continued to clean up the mess caused by Friday’s early-season snowstorm.

Spokane International Airport recorded a low temperature of 13 degrees, just a degree warmer than the record low of 12 for Oct. 25 set in 1919.

The coldest temperatures overnight may have occurred in the early evening hours, said Greg Koch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane. Clouds were expected to move in overnight that will help trap the heat, but it’s likely the several inches of snow that fell won’t go away until midweek.

“We did not get the powdery fluff that skiers like to see,” Koch said, noting that the temperatures Friday were hovering right around the freezing mark as 6.9 inches of snow fell on Spokane. “It was more the snowman and snowball stuff.”

That moisture-laiden snow dragged down tree branches in some areas, causing a loss of power for some 22,000 Avista Utilities customers in the area.

Avista reported outages affecting 2,166 customers in the region as of Sunday morning. That number had dipped to just below 2,000 customers by 4 p.m.

The utility said in a news release Sunday morning it planned to have power completely restored by Sunday evening.

Vera Water and Power customers still experiencing outages are asked to call (888) 774-8272.

Inland Power and Light reported Sunday afternoon that it had restored power throughout Spokane County. Some new outages were reported in Lincoln and Adams counties on Sunday afternoon.

Northern Lights reported Sunday afternoon it had restored power to some 77 members northwest of Bonners Ferry.

The Bowmans didn’t lose power at their home on the South Hill, but Josiah and his dad, Greg, did catch a light show while shoveling Friday after a transformer blew.

“It was almost dark, and when I was going to get a shovel – boom – a red light flashed,” Josiah said.

Greg Bowman and his wife, Lisa, said the snow occurred at the perfect time for their family to enjoy a winter weekend. Sledding alongside Josiah on Sunday were his 5-year-old sister, Nyla, and 2-year-old brother, Matai.

“We’ve been playing for two days straight,” Lisa Bowman said. “It’s a good diversion.”

The overnight snow on Friday was enough to set two records at Spokane International Airport. The 6.9 inches during the day Friday set an Oct. 23 record; 0.6 inches reportedly fell after midnight.

That’s good enough to set an Oct. 24 record, breaking the previous mark that was a trace amount recorded in 1956, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds were expected to be calmer Sunday than they were Saturday, which caused some bone-chilling wind-chill readings, Koch said.

“Temperatures are going to tumble quickly this evening,” Koch said. “They may just flatline, or might even warm up with the clouds. We may even see some flurries (Monday).”

Continued cold is expected Sunday into Monday, with low temperatures again having approached record levels overnight Sunday.

Daytime temperatures are expected to warm throughout the week, reaching the upper 40s in Spokane by Thursday, the National Weather Service reported.

Kip Hill can be reached at (509) 459-5429 or

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