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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

Weathercatch: Turkey with a side of milder weather

Snow clings to a maple tree in Post Falls.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Snow clings to a maple tree in Post Falls. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Several turkey trot foot races are taking place in the Spokane area Thursday, but earmuffs and hand warmers shouldn’t be necessary. After a week of midwinter-like weather, milder conditions have returned to the Inland Northwest.

A cold front rolled through the region last Thursday, bringing the coldest weather of the season on Nov. 18 and 19. Spokane, Pullman and Sandpoint all experienced a low of 10 degrees, which is 20 degrees colder than average for those dates. In addition, Spokane and other communities were stuck in an inversion, when the cold air close to the ground was trapped by a thick layer of warmer air above. Areas of fog resulted, along with a dip in air quality.

All that dissipated with the arrival of a storm system that swept through the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday. Ending a two-week dry streak throughout much of Washington state, precipitation ranged from rain and freezing rain to snow. Thanksgiving travel remained slick overnight and into Wednesday morning.

Fortunately, the wintry precipitation was short-lived, with warmer and dryer conditions in place by Thanksgiving 2022. Highs should reach close to 40 degrees in the Spokane area Thursday, with partly sunny skies and a light east wind. Last Thanksgiving, a trace of rain fell and the high temperature reached 44 degrees. The last time we saw measurable snowfall on Thanksgiving day was in 2011, when 0.4 inches of snow fell in the city.

The Thanksgiving weather menu changes each year, so here’s a look at some notable conditions, taking into account the different dates the holiday is held each year:

Nov. 28, 1985: During one of the longest spells of bitter cold in November, Spokane’s high reached only 8 degrees on that Thanksgiving day 37 years ago, with an overnight low of -12. (To put this in perspective, consider that the chilliest low temperature recorded on Thanksgiving in Washington, D.C., is 19 degrees in 1903. We’re talking a difference of 31 degrees.)

Nov. 24, 1960: The rainiest Thanksgiving on record, with 1.37 inches of rainfall.

Nov. 23, 1955: The snowiest Thanksgiving on record, following 6.6 inches that fell the evening before.

Nov. 25, 1914: The warmest on record, with a high of 57 degrees.

Enjoy this holiday’s quiet weather. There’s a chance of rain or snow this weekend, followed by cooler temperatures early next week.

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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