The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

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By Bob Valen 

After a dry October, first seasonal snow falls in November

Weather Watcher


Last updated 11/27/2013 at 1:07pm

The home weather station measured a trifling 0.14 inches of precipitation for October. Looking back at past years shows we’ve had more — 1.15 inches in 2012, 0.54 inches in 2011, 1.23 inches in 2010 and 1.36 inches in 2009. The mean for October is 0.72 inches.

We’ve been above the mean three of the last five years. Temperatures were generally on par with a high of 70.7°F occurring on the 6th of the month and a low of 29.1°F on Oct. 30. The all-time mean for October is 51.1°F; all-time high was in 1935 at 90°F with an all-time low recorded in 2002 of 7°F.

Well, our first snow arrived and then departed. We had less than one inch here at weather station headquarters (0.8 inches). The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is showing November as having below-normal temperatures and likely even chances of below- or above-normal precipitation. Long range forecasting, though it has improved, is still a difficult task.

For those who have wanted to know how to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius (I’m sure everyone has!) or the other way around, here is an easy formula to write down and stick on the refrigerator:

From °F to °C, deduct 32, then multiply by 5, and then divide by 9. From °C to °F, multiply by 9, then divide by 5, and then add 32. Another method is to use one of the many “converters” available on the internet.

During the winter months we hear the phrase Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). This phrase and the measurements taken of it are important in many ways. The phrase is defined as: “Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is a common snowpack measurement. It is the amount of water contained within the snowpack. It can be thought of as the depth of water that would theoretically result if you melted the entire snowpack instantaneously.” As we annually watch Lake Roosevelt rise and fall, much of that movement has to do with Snow Water Equivalent. Many communities watch these numbers on a regular basis as it affects their water supply.

Don’t forget to view Comet ISON which continues a journey from space into our solar system. On Nov. 28, Comet ISON swings around the sun, passing very close to the surface of our star. If there is a clear sky, take the time to look for our solar system’s planets. Looking to the horizon you should see Saturn, and above it, Mercury. Higher in the sky sits Mars.


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