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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

After record-warm October, Spokane gearing up for first freeze, snow this week

Mary Kruse walks with Bailey, her 10-year-old goldendoodle, through their Liberty Lake neighborhood on Tuesday.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

After enjoying the warmest October on record, Spokane residents can expect to see the region’s first snowfall of the season later this week, followed by winds that could knock power out and high temperatures that will drop to around freezing early next week.

One to 4 inches of snow is forecast Thursday night into Friday morning, with heavier amounts east and north of Spokane, according to Jon Fox, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Spokane.

He said it’s possible some residents, especially in higher elevations, saw snowflakes, potentially mixed with rain, late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. It started to snow in Pullman Tuesday night, but Fox expected little to no accumulation.

Fox expected Thursday night’s snowfall to accumulate on grassy surfaces, trees and roofs, but whether the snow sticks to roads and sidewalks is up for debate.

“The biggest unknown will be whether or not this will stick to the roads,” Fox said of the area’s first snowfall.

He said drivers should allow extra time to get to work in case the snow does stick to roads Friday morning.

He said the weight of potentially heavy and wet snow and on branches that still have leaves could cause damage to trees Friday. Adding 50 mph wind gusts to the equation late Friday afternoon into Saturday morning could knock tree branches down and lead to power outages in the Spokane area.

“Just based on those ingredients, we suspect that we’ll see more damage than we typically would for 40-to-50 mph wind gusts,” Fox said of the heavy snow, leaves and strong winds.

He said residents should have flashlights, candles and generators powered and ready in case they lose electricity.

Early next week, high temperatures are expected to dip to around freezing with lows in the low 20s, Fox said. Forecasters are calling for a 40% chance of snow Monday and Tuesday, according to the weather service’s website.

“Winter looks like it’s coming from Monday through much of next week,” Fox said.

With widespread freezing temperatures expected this week for the first time this year, Fox said residents should unhook water hoses from their homes. He said freezing temperatures will start Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Rain or snow is possible or likely every day this week.

Meanwhile, Fox said Spokane’s average temperature of 55 degrees in October broke the record of 54.5 degrees set in 1952.

The average high temperature was 66.1 degrees last month – the fifth-warmest for October on record and the warmest since 1952. The average low temperature last month was 44 degrees – the third-warmest October on record.

Spokane is coming off one of its hottest summers and one of its warmest Septembers on record.