When will we hit 90 degrees? Check out a new contest...

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We had a taste of summer on Friday as temperatures soared into the 80s across the region. The record for that date in Coeur d’Alene was 85 degrees, set back in 1980. Cliff reported a near-record high temperature of 83 degrees.

However, as is often the case at this time of the year, conditions change quickly. A storm system moved into the area and dropped our temperatures about 25 degrees and brought some rain shower activity. Conditions will be dry later in the week, but more wet weather is expected in early to mid-May.

Our precipitation total for April is going to end up above 3.5 inches, compared to a normal of 1.77 inches. For the season, beginning on Jan. 1, Cliff will have measured close to 14.2 inches of rain and melted snow. The normal to date is about 9.5 inches. Last year, however, it was very wet as we had nearly 21.5 inches, more than two-thirds of our normal annual precipitation total which is 26.77 inches.

There are indications that we will be moving into a warmer and drier weather pattern later in May and June. The summer of 2018 also looks drier than normal, but we don’t think it will be quite as dry as last year. Hopefully, we will see some moisture, as we don’t need an extended period of rainless weather to help make for another tough fire season.

June’s 2017 precipitation total was 1.21 inches, which was below the normal of 1.93 inches. July of 2017 was extremely dry, as only 0.03 inches of rain fell, all on the 15th. August of 2017 only had 0.07 inches of rain, making it another very dry month in Coeur d’Alene. September was better, as 1.44 inches of rain fell, just slightly below the normal of 1.48 inches.

Cliff tells me that we had the driest summer period from June 17 through Sept. 16, 2017, as only 0.23 inches fell. For 2018, we don’t think there will be long stretch of dry weather like last year. Finally, from Sept. 17 through 21, 2017, 1.44 inches of rain was measured, but that was it for the rest of September. Spokane also broke the record for the longest streak without measurable precipitation last year, as there was no rain for 80 straight days. That was longer by a full week than the previous record, which was set in 1917.

With the cooler than normal sea-surface temperature phenomenon, La Niña, still holding on to life in the south-central Pacific Ocean, the front part of the summer season may turn out to be drier than normal, but conditions could start to turn a little wetter in August. During the late spring or summer, many forecasters believe that the current La Niña will turn into La Nada, the in-between La Niña and warmer El Niño event. This is one reason why we believe that our summer won’t be as dry as the one in 2017, as last year’s La Niña was stronger.

We’ve already seen our first 80-degree temperature. So, when do YOU think we’ll have our first 90-degree reading of the 2018 season? Give us your guess, and you’ll have the chance to win up to $700 in gift cards from area restaurants and food servers.

The contest is located at www.cdacontest.com. It will run until May 31, or when our first 90-degree temperature is hit. But, you only get one guess per email address. (By the way, I promise that email address will not be shared or sold.) As always, our temperatures will be monitored by Coeur d’Alene’s long-time climatologist, Cliff Harris. He will provide the exact date and time when Coeur d’Alene hits 90 degrees (89.5 degrees).

There will be prizes awarded for first place, second place and third place. In the event of a tie, the person who has the earlier submission will be declared the winner. By the way, Cliff and I already have an idea on when the 90-degree temperature will occur, but we’ll keep quiet on that one.

However, here are a few facts that may help your guess. The earliest 90-degree temperature occurred on April 24, 1977 with a high of 92 degrees. The following day, it was 94 degrees. The average high temperature in Coeur d’Alene does not hit 70 degrees until May 26. Our first normal 80-degree high temperature occurs on July 5.

Last year, we had 32 days with highs at or above 90 degrees. The first one we had in 2017 occurred on May 30 with a high of 90 degrees. There were only 2 days in June with readings in the 90s. July and August were hot and dry months. July had 13 days while August reported 15 days with highs at or above the 90-degree mark. Sept. 3, 2017 was the final day with a high temperature in the 90s in Coeur d’Alene.

Good luck, and be sure to check out the links of the participating restaurants.

•••

Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com

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