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By Bob Valen 

Drier than usual

Weather Watcher


Last updated 1/29/2014 at 10:08am

For December, here at the home weather station, we only had three days of low temperatures in the single digit area — the 5th, 7th and 8th.

The lowest was a 3.5°F on the 8th, while our high temperature came in at 42.8°F on the 1st. Record temperatures for December are an all-time low of minus 16°F in 1968 and the all-time high of 58°F back in 1936. The mean for the month is 29.5°F and this December ours was 26°F, 3.5°F lower.

Again, we were on the dry side of precipitation. Only 0.15 inches and just 0.8 inches of snowfall occurred, on Dec. 21. The mean for the month is 1.39 inches and an all-time high of 3.44 inches in 1996.

It appears that we broke a record for the lowest amount of precipitation for the month of December. The old record was 0.26 iches in 1976.

I’d like to give you a mini preview of next month’s column. I’ve been pulling data together for the full year of 2013 in chart form – high, low temperatures, total and monthly precipitation (rain and snow) and a look into the crystal ball of climate prediction. If you haven’t already noticed, we are now in drought conditions.

I read the postings on Inland Northwest Weather Blog. It’s a blog written by one of the meteorologist swith the National Weather Service in Spokane. This is from a recent posting: “For climate purposes in the western U.S., the water year is defined as the 12-month period beginning in October. Since October, the western U.S. has generally been affected by a persistent ridge of high pressure fixed just off the coast. Meanwhile, the remainder of the U.S. has seen a rather persistent trough of low pressure.” The discussion is about the dry conditions we are experiencing here in the Inland Northwest. The “ridge of high pressure” is the culprit responsible for your current cool and foggy conditions.

Looking to the sky, well heck, why bother with this fog! Why the fog anyways? There have been several factors involved that lead to air stagnation. This is what the National Weather Service office in Spokane said: “Strong high pressure formed over the Inland Northwest last Wednesday (Jan 15). Since then, winds have been light and the atmosphere has been very stable. Widespread fog and low clouds have filled the valleys of Central and Eastern Washington.”

So, it’s cold, moist static air due to high pressure, to put it in a nut shell.

[Editor’s note: For up-to-date forecasts and reports, check Bob Valen’s local weather website devoted to local weather at]


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