Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top Weather Events of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, let's take a look at the weather of the past calendar year. The year began with a cold and snowy January. Then, spring was marred by flooding and landslides. Our summer featured long periods of dry weather with many smoky days during August and September. The fall was relatively quiet followed by a couple of big winter storms during the second half of December.

This chronological list takes a look at ten or the Inland Northwest's top weather events of 2017.

#1. The Central Washington and Palouse Blizzard of Jan 10, 2017 is the first on our list. Drifting snow closed several highways and left cars stranded over portions of Douglas and Grant counties.

#2. The Central Washington Ice Storm: January 17-18. Freezing rain coated the I-90 corridor from Snoqualmie Pass to east of Moses Lake with more than a half inch of ice.

#3. February Ice Jam Flooding. The St Joe River, the Grand Ronde River, and several other creeks and streams in Spokane and Shoshone counties experienced ice jam flooding. Arctic cold in January gave way to heavy rains in February. The subsequent ice jams caused flooding and threatened to damage bridges in southeast Washington and the southern Idaho Panhandle.

#4. March Flooding. Above average rain on top of a deep snowpack pushed many rivers in Idaho and Washington above flood stage. Sprague Washington experienced weeks of high water as the creek entering town flooded fields and streets.

#5. April Landslides. Record amounts of precipitation over the winter combined with the release of frost in our soils caused landslides over the steep terrain of Washington and Idaho.

#6. Number 6 on our list of Top Ten Weather Events of 2017 actually features a day of beautiful weather. During a summer plagued by wildfire smoke and grey skies, eastern Washington and north Idaho enjoyed perfect conditions for viewing the solar eclipse.

#7. Camas Prairie Thunderstorm Wind. Residents of the southern Idaho Panhandle will likely remember number 7 on our list of Top Weather Events of 2017.  Back to back days of damaging thunderstorm winds hit the Camas Prairie on August 29 - 30. Trees were damaged and lightning sparked wildfires.

#8. September Smoke. Number 8 on our list of Top Weather Events of 2017 is a period of weather many of us would like to forget...the wildfire smoke. Cough!  Smoke flooded the Inland Northwest on Labor Day and lingered for the next 4 or 5 days. Spokane experienced some of the worst air quality on record during the first week of September. 

#9. Spokane Record Dry Streak. Our winter and spring featured record amounts of precipitation. Mother Nature did an about face during the summer. From June 29th through September 16th, the Spokane International Airport received no measurable precipitation. 80 consecutive dry days...a new record. 

#10. Heavy Wet Snow: December 19th. A big dump of heavy wet snow rounds out or list of Top Weather Events of 2017. For residents of Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry, and Naples, this storm is still fresh in your memory.  Bonner, Boundary, and Pend Oreille counties receive a foot of heavy wet snow.

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