Weathercatch: 60-degree weather gives Spokane the cold shoulder so far this spring
Thu., March 30, 2023
With warming spring weather, crocuses are emerging from their winter slumber like these Tuesday in a front yard on Spokane’s South Hill. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)Buy a print of this photo
The last day of March is Friday, and it’s unlikely we’ll see temperatures hit 60 degrees before the calendar turns to April. That’s unfortunate, because 60 degrees spells spring for many of us.
The season technically began this month, but each time springlike conditions moved into our region, temperatures dropped, fat snowflakes fell and winter seemed to win out.
Spokane’s warmest day of the month (and of the year ) fell on March 22 with a high of 58 degrees. On March 24, the high dropped to 43 degrees and the low to 30. Oh, and it snowed. A brief but heavy snowfall resulted in slick driving conditions and reduced visibility along I-90 between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene late that afternoon.
As March concludes, it will have been 162 days since Spokane experienced a temperature in the 60s. On Oct. 20, the high reached 65 degrees.
Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? More than five months, in fact.
Last year, Spokane’s first 60-degree day was on March 26. In 2021, it was March 5, and in 2020, it was as early as Feb. 28. And talk about early – it reached 62 degrees on Jan. 1, 1918. Happy New Year, Spokane!
The Inland Northwest isn’t the only area waiting for spring to settle in. Much of the Pacific Northwest is behind schedule.
Seattle usually sees its first day of 60 degrees in late February. This year, it arrived on March 17. Portland saw a dusting of snow on March 24. On Tuesday morning, “blizzard conditions” closed a segment of I-5 at the Oregon-California border, the Oregon Department of Transportation stated, warning motorists to stay away.
In the Spokane area, it’s unusual not to see a single day hitting at least 60 degrees by April 1. Even so, it’s not an aberration. One of the latest dates to reach 60 was on April 22, 2017.
There’s no single explanation for this year’s delay, although the lingering effects of a La Niña-influenced winter may have contributed to the cooler and wetter weather this month.
Thursday and Friday are expected to be fairly pleasant, with partly sunny skies and highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.
A storm system should move in Friday evening, meaning Mother Nature will fool us on April 1 with widespread rain, highs in the 40s and snow on the mountain passes throughout the weekend.
Clearly, our journey into spring will be a gradual one. As we’ve seen, winter isn’t going down without a fight.
Nic Loyd is a meteorologist in Washington state. Linda Weiford is a writer in Moscow, Idaho, who’s also a weather geek.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.