Weatherwise, it’s been a crazy April

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We finally got to see some sun last week in Coeur d’Alene and other areas across the Inland Empire. Temperatures later this week are going to be well above normal as highs warm into the 70s. We might even see readings close to the 80-degree mark on Friday. The record for that date is 85 degrees set back in 1980. This is quite a change from the recent wet and chilly weather pattern.

April is typically one of our driest months, but this year, precipitation totals are well above average. So far, Cliff has measured 3.49 inches of rain and melted snow. The normal for the month is 1.77 inches. Most of the week looks dry with spring-like temperatures. Take advantage of the nice weather, because later this weekend and next week, more wet weather is expected to return to North Idaho.

As for snow, barring an unexpected surprise, the season is done. We finished off the 2017-18 season with 90.3 inches of the white stuff, over 20 inches above the normal of 69.8 inches. At Silver Mountain, the seasonal total currently stands at about 415 inches. Other mountain locations to the north were well over 500 inches.

Cliff also told me that we’ve had three years in a row with a White Christmas. According to his records, there have been five other 3-year stretches since 1895 with snow on Christmas. So, is there a chance of another White Christmas, the fourth year in a row? Based on the climatological data, when we’ve had three consecutive White Christmases, there has always been a fourth. In other words, the chances are very good, but in this crazy cycle of “extremes,” it’s still too early to tell.

After this long-awaited dry and warm spell, Cliff and I expect the wetter than normal weather pattern to return in early May. Then, we should take a turn to the drier than normal side later this spring and perhaps into the summer season. We don’t think this summer will be quite as dry as last year, but dry enough to increase the wildfire concerns of many officials.

Speaking of wildfires, many of the blazes in Oklahoma were spreading due to the warm, dry and windy conditions. The biggest blaze in that state is in Rhea, where fire has consumed about 300,000 acres, and recent rainfall has helped the firefighters. Also, there are 16 wildfires that are raging in 7 states, with 3 of them in Texas and New Mexico and 4 in Oklahoma.

Across the northern U.S., especially near the Great Lakes, record snows were reported from April 12-16. From Montana to the Great Lakes region, about one to two feet of snow fell. One of the highest numbers was seen at Amherst, Wis., as about 33 inches of white stuff was reported. That’s nearly three feet in a matter of days.

Canada has also been experiencing much higher than normal amounts of snowfall for the winter and early spring. As of mid-April, a large percentage of the country was covered in snow.

While much of the northern portions of the country were gripped with rain, cold and snow earlier this month, Europe has been experiencing a heatwave. Last week, temperatures warmed up in to the 70s and 80s. At St. James’s Park in London last Thursday, the high temperature climbed to just over 84 degrees. That was the warmest April temperature since 1949, when the mercury hit 84.9 degrees.

More weather extremes this month, as record rains were a problem for some residents of Hawaii last week. What has been called “a historic torrent of rain” hit the island of Kauai with more two feet of rain last weekend. The town of Hanalei picked up 27.52 inches of rain from the morning of Saturday, April 14 to the morning of Sunday, April 15. Officials say that it was raining as hard as 6 inches per hour. This particular location averages about 78 inches per year. Kauai is also one of the wettest place,s as Mount Waialeale usually receives more than 400 inches of rain each year. Our average annual precipitation total in Coeur d’Alene is 26.77 inches.

A relative in Honolulu told me that the recent heavy rains have created some of the worst flooding she’s seen in many years. There was so much water, some of the roadways were flooded and she could literally see waves on some of the main highways. Many of the homes near the shores had thick mud in their rooms. Our pattern of wide weather “extremes” continues.

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Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com

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