By Nic Loyd, WSU meteorologist, and Linda Weiford, WSU News
Hello autumn. Well, sort of. When the first day of fall arrived last Friday, some of us in the Inland Northwest woke up to the first frost of the season.
In a week’s time, it went from sunny and in the 80s to literally, frost on the pumpkins.
Between the hot spell and sporadic frost, we got our first significant rainfall since May. In fact, more rain fell in Spokane during a single hour on Sept. 18 than the total amount received since June 28. Higher elevations, including Schweitzer Mountain Resort and 49 Degrees North ski area, got their first snow.
Plunging temperatures, replenishing rains, the first frost and first snow — autumn felt right on schedule.
Even so, against the familiar backdrop of waning days and red and gold leaves, summer is making a comeback.
Thanks to the building of a high-pressure system, a warming trend is unfolding. Bright skies and climbing temperatures are making conditions warmer than usual for this time of year. The Tri-Cities, Yakima and Lewiston, Idaho, are expected to break 80 degrees approaching this weekend. Spokane and Pullman should hit the upper 70s before dipping to the 60s and low 70s as we enter the first week in October.
As the season hangs in balance, tomatoes will get a little extra time to ripen more fully on the vine and summery clothes can get some extra wear.
These mild conditions appear to be a taste of what’s to come for much of autumn. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-normal temperatures for most the U.S., including Washington state.
As for winter, early indicators call for a shift from mild conditions to brisk temperatures and plenty of precipitation December through February. In other words, it could be a good ski season.
Weathercatch is a bimonthly column that appears in The Spokesman-Review. Nic Loyd is a meteorologist with Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. Linda Weiford is a WSU news writer and weather geek. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org