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Opinion >  Column

Weathercatch: Rare Halloween treat to be dished out in the sky

A super blue blood moon falls in the sky over the Spokane County Courthouse on Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon is especially close to Earth. The term “blue” refers to the second full moon in a calendar month. “Blood” references a total lunar eclipse, when the Earth’s shadow on the moon casts a reddish tint. The previous super blue blood moon in North America occurred March 31, 1866. A blue moon will be visible on Halloween for the first time since 2001. The first full moon this month was on Oct. 1.  (DAN PELLE/The Spokesman-Review)
A super blue blood moon falls in the sky over the Spokane County Courthouse on Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon is especially close to Earth. The term “blue” refers to the second full moon in a calendar month. “Blood” references a total lunar eclipse, when the Earth’s shadow on the moon casts a reddish tint. The previous super blue blood moon in North America occurred March 31, 1866. A blue moon will be visible on Halloween for the first time since 2001. The first full moon this month was on Oct. 1. (DAN PELLE/The Spokesman-Review)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Still reeling from last weekend’s subzero wind chills and a record amount of October snowfall, Spokanites can use a shot of good news for Halloween.

Fortunately, we have some.

For the first time since 2001, a blue moon will be visible on Oct. 31, when two full moons occur during a calendar month. The first full moon was on Oct. 1.

A blue moon is not blue in color. Even so, there are several reasons why the one we see on Saturday night will be special. First, blue moons only occur on Halloween every 18 to 19 years. And in an even more rare treat, Halloween 2020’s blue moon will be visible worldwide for the first time since World War II, astronomy experts say.

What’s more, the planet Mars will shine extra reddish-orange nearby. Just past its closest approach to Earth in two years, Mars’ “fiery” glow will be considerably brighter than any of the stars, according to the science website EarthSky.

What kind of weather is brewing for Halloween? Will stubborn clouds block our view or could bone-chilling winds force us indoors?

As of now, the forecast is pretty decent. Temperatures have been warming daily since Tuesday. Come Saturday, highs are expected to run in the low 50s with lows in the mid-30s overnight. Expect partial sunshine during the day and scattered clouds at night – a welcome change from the wintry outbreak that clobbered the Inland Northwest the past weekend.

Howling winds, ghoulish rains, scary fog and snow – here’s a look at some past Halloweens in Spokane:

2019: Halloween was on the cool side. The high temperature reached 43 degrees and the low 25, running about 8 degrees below normal for that date.

2018: Although temperatures ran normal for that time of year, it was wet and windy, with .21 of an inch of rainfall and wind gusts reaching 25 mph.

2016: Wet and windy, with 0.38 of an inch of rain that topped off the rainiest month recorded in Spokane.

2015: A storm barreled into the Pacific Northwest, bringing wind gusts of nearly 40 mph and .48 of an inch of rain to Spokane. Remarkably, that rain amount exceeded the total rainfall during the entire 2015 summer, which was .44 of an inch.

2014: Dense fog reduced visibility to a quarter-mile, transforming the Spokane area into a Dracula movie-like scene.

2002: The coldest Halloween recorded. The low temperature dropped to 7 degrees.

1988: The warmest Halloween recorded. Highs reached the upper 60s.

1971: Snowed 1.6 inches.

1933: The wettest Halloween recorded. Nearly .90 of an inch of rain saturated the region.

Some of those weather events occur only once in a blue moon. This Halloween, we’ll experience the skyward version of a blue moon, and a rare one at that. Unless Mother Nature pulls a last-minute trick, the weather should accommodate us.

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