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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: Hello, winter! We hardly recognize you compared to a year ago

Lettercarrier Pete Michalowicz makes his way past the Lincoln Build Holiday decoration and back to the downtown post officer after working his route wearing shorts as temperatures reached over the 60 degree mark, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 1, 2021 in downtown Spokane.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Lettercarrier Pete Michalowicz makes his way past the Lincoln Build Holiday decoration and back to the downtown post officer after working his route wearing shorts as temperatures reached over the 60 degree mark, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 1, 2021 in downtown Spokane. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

What a terrific start to December. Highs near 60 degrees, partly sunny skies and not a speck of snow on the ground.

That was the weather in Spokane exactly one year ago today. It’s hard to imagine, but on Dec. 1, 2021, warm air over the Inland Northwest led to record-breaking high temperatures. On that date – the first day of meteorological winter, same as today – Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene climbed to 59 degrees; Pullman hit 61; Walla Walla 67 and Wenatchee 68. Jackets stayed in closets and shovels didn’t see sidewalks.

Even the days leading up to Dec. 1 were remarkably warm. On Nov. 28, for example, the high temperature reached 56 degrees in Spokane. (The average high for that date is 38.) Pullman experienced a high of 57, Lewiston, 62 and Wenatchee, 65.

What a difference a year makes.

This year on Nov. 28, Monday of this week, a winter storm dumped 1 to 3 inches of snow across much of the Inland Northwest. Snowfall tapered off in the evening, only to be replaced by the chilliest temperatures of the season so far, with overnight lows dropping to 7 degrees in Spokane, 4 degrees in Moses Lake and Pullman and minus 6 in Republic.

Yesterday, the last day of November, the biggest snowstorm of the season struck. The morning commute moved at a snail’s pace, schools and colleges closed. A few more inches could accumulate today through Saturday.

So winter is here – literally and figuratively. Not only is it Day 1 of winter in the meteorological world, but the Inland Northwest resembles a holiday greeting card, even though Christmas is 25 days away. Considering that the first big lowland snow typically arrives in mid-December, we’re running ahead of schedule.

All this may be a preview of some of the weather we’ll see in our region the next three months. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is favoring a cold and snowy winter 2022-23, which encompasses December, January and February. Although advances have been made in seasonal forecasting, there’s still some uncertainty. But should the agency’s outlook hold true, snow lovers will be happy.

Nic Loyd is a meteorologist in Washington state. Linda Weiford is a writer in Moscow, Idaho, who’s also a weather geek. Contact: ldweiford@gmail.com.

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