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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: October, the most changeable month of year, is finally going to change

Leaving the all-men’s dorm McMillan Hall, Whitworth University students head toward a burst of fall color on the west side of campus in October 2014.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW PHOTO ARCHIVES)
Leaving the all-men’s dorm McMillan Hall, Whitworth University students head toward a burst of fall color on the west side of campus in October 2014. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW PHOTO ARCHIVES)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Here we are, less than two weeks from Halloween and the weather is about to turn tricky. After back-to-back days of temperatures in the 70s, bright sunshine and no frost, October’s true personality is about to show.

And it’s a personality that’s highly changeable. In fact, October is loaded with more weather changes that any other month of the year: June-like warmth and dryness; nippy winds; warm rainfalls; tumbling temperatures; widespread frost and even snowfall. Changes can be significant and abrupt, much more so than during spring.

Because October is a transitional month, there’s a lot of pushing and pulling going on in the atmosphere as we leave summer and get closer to winter. But you wouldn’t know that so far this month.

Well, the gloriously long stretch of super-nice weather is about to change. What’s more, Mother Nature won’t give us time to acclimate to it.

A robust autumn cold front will swing through the Pacific Northwest Friday, bringing a steep drop in temperatures, along with winds, widespread rain and “significant snowfall potential” for the mountains and mountain passes, according to the National Weather Service Spokane. Although rains are expected to arrive Friday night, we’ll probably feel the biggest jolt on Saturday, when we awaken to gray skies, wind gusts and high temperatures 20-30 degrees cooler than what we’re used to. Saturday’s predicted high temperature is about 50 degrees in the Spokane area. The last time the temperature bottomed out at 50 was on May 8. Also, the overnight low into Sunday may hit the freezing mark – the first time since April 22.

While sunshine and calm conditions will return, don’t expect a stretch of temperatures in the 70s any time soon. The days are growing shorter and the sunlight weaker. Also, as the jet stream, a fast current of air in the upper levels of the atmosphere, makes its annual dip southward, a cold air mass is building above it in the Northern Hemisphere.

As shocking as the change may feel this weekend, keep in mind that the weather will be closer to normal for this time of year. Up until now, conditions haven’t varied much. With so much activity going on in the atmosphere, the forecast may be trickier to predict beyond several days. Even so, there’s one thing we know for certain: Finally, October is changing.

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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