Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Another run-of-the-mill winter predicted for region


Like the exacting clock one has on their cellphone that automatically changes crossing time zones or when it’s Daylight Savings Time, fall arrived almost as if on cue.

Seemingly within minutes of the official entrance of the Autumnal Equinox at 1:44 p.m. back on Sept. 22 a turbulent dust storm, followed by a welcome cleansing rain, rolled across the region.

And while the rest of early and mid fall was pleasant and very dry, as Bob Quinn, Eastern Washington University professor of meteorology predicted in October, pattern changes in early November would signal the opening of the door to a likely normal winter.

So as if on cue from the director of a stage play, the first snow of the season hit the area in a here today, gone tomorrow manner Nov. 4 with just a dusting of the white-stuff to remind everyone of what’s ahead.

As is the case with most of our weather, how things shake out depend on sea surface temperatures, commonly either La Niña – cooler than normal – or the warmer waters found in an El Niño pattern.

The region is currently influenced largely with the “tweener” pattern Quinn calls La Nada but that should shift to a La Nina providing us with a normal winter.

Uncertain as to exactly where the weather driver might ultimately reside this winter, it has settled and will offer “A long over-water trajectory,” Quinn explained. “So once the winter gets going I think you’re going to see a fairly wet winter.”

Skiers will be reasonably happy because there will be plenty of snow in the mountains. “But down in the lowlands here we’re not going to see bitter cold, monster snowfall,” Quinn said.

“What we’re going to see is rain, rain and then a little bit of snow, then it goes back to rain, back to a little bit of snow, then it goes back to rain, back to a little bit of snow, rain, rain, rain, back to a little bit of snow.”

In the end, Quinn sees the area having the normal lower level snow of our “near average” of 45 inches of snow, half the record 92.6 inches that fell in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010’s 97.8 inches. The winter of 2012-13 produced about 44 inches of snow.

“But it will basically for us be a more of – I hesitate to say balmy warm because I don’t mean that – a little warmer than normal, definitely wetter than normal and not a monster, bitter cold snowfall winter,” he said.

Earlier this fall the North Pacific storm track has been what Quinn called, “pretty pathetic.” The end result was a ridge of high pressure formed and that was the major weather influence with its generally dry conditions.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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