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

Weathercatch: After lackluster November snowfall, a brief shot of winter is about to arrive

Before heading to work, Colin Burkhalter cleared his car of several inches of snow on Nov. 30, 2022.  (COLIN MULVANEY/SR)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Thursday is the last day of November, and our region’s weather is poles apart from Nov. 30 of last year. On that day, a snowstorm dumped more than 7 inches of snow in the Spokane area, closing schools, causing a slew of traffic accidents and setting a snowfall record for that date.

In fact, the entire month of November 2022 featured a parade of winter storm systems. Naturally, it was only fitting that the biggest snow dump occurred on its final day, bringing the snowfall total to 18.5 inches. That’s three times higher than the normal November average of 6.2 inches. All told, it was the sixth-snowiest November on record, going back to 1881, and the fourth coldest.

By this time last year, the Inland Northwest resembled a holiday greeting card. But this November, a much different snow story unfolded. The month’s snowfall total reached a paltry 0.5 inches in Spokane, which came from a single event on Nov. 19. Most precipitation fell as raindrops, not snow. And since Wednesday’s forecast calls for a slight chance of light snow or rain, snow prospects for the waning hours of November 2023 are slim.

As we close out the month, the landscape and pavement are bare. But hold on to your sleigh horses, because snow is on the way. The stagnant weather pattern that kept our region mild, dry and occasionally foggy during the latter part of November is about to change into active, wet weather.

“A significant pattern change at the end of this week will bring several rounds of snow to most of the Inland Northwest with the potential for heavy snow near the Cascades,” the National Weather Service Spokane said in its online forecast discussion.

As the calendar flips to December, a series of storm systems is expected to bring about an inch of snow to the Spokane area after midnight. A second round forecast to arrive Friday may deliver another 1-3 inches. Then, a temperature warm-up could bring a mix of rain and snow on Saturday and Sunday. In the Cascades, however, we’re talking pure snow – up to 2 feet by Sunday night. Powderhounds, rejoice.

Nic Loyd is a meteorologist in Washington state. Linda Weiford is a writer in Moscow, Idaho, who’s also a weather geek.