Recent News

12/06/2017 Weathercatch: 'River in the sky' brings tropical Thanksgiving to Inland NWIndication of newly posted news

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"A long plume of warm, moist airflow from the tropics to the Western U.S. put record-warm temperatures and intermittent rain on the Thanksgiving Day menu in Eastern Washington. What began as a massive swirling mass of clouds near Hawaii a week earlier evolved into an atmospheric river that swooped in on Washington state on Nov. 22 and lingered throughout much of the next day. Its appearance made Nov. 23 the warmest Thanksgiving since records started being kept in 1881."...
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11/27/2017 Ask Dr. Universe: What are the northern lights? Do they show every night?

"When the northern lights come out, beautiful, colorful patterns stretch across the night sky. But they begin with a star that is millions of miles away: our sun. Not only does the sun give us warmth and light, but it is also so full of energy that it can be outrageously explosive. These explosions often send tiny particles out to Earth. My friend Nic Loyd, a meteorologist at Washington State University, said this is called a “solar wind.”"...
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11/27/2017 Weathercatch: Surprise thundersnow rumbles across the Palouse

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"A rare weather phenomenon flashed and boomed over parts of the Palouse last Thursday night. Lightning and thunderclaps accompanied tumbling snowflakes in what meteorologists call a thundersnow. The Nov. 16 event moved through areas including Moscow and Pullman within a 10-minute time period. Though brief, it presented an enthralling, seldom-seen show. As the thundersnow moved into Pullman at 9:37 p.m., heavy rain was falling and previously calm winds had gusted to 28 mph. By 9:40 p.m., a rain and hail downpour dropped visibility to 1.75 miles, compared"...
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11/08/2017 Weathercatch: Is our early snow an indicator of another rough winter?

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"Three remarkable calendar events unfolded this past weekend - the season's first snow, a Hunter's Moon and the end of daylight saving time."...
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10/11/2017 Weathercatch: Valleys in the sky portend cooler, unsettled weather

By Nic Loyd, Washington State University
"A blast of cool, wet weather engulfed the region during the first few days of October. Not only did it dig in over the Inland Northwest, but most of the western U.S. It was caused by a massive trough – a term most people associate with feed containers for farm animals. In the meteorological world, however, it’s a U-shaped curve in the jet stream that often signifies cool, wet weather is on the way."...
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09/27/2017 Weathercatch: It's fall? Cue the pumpkins - and flip flops

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"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. In 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."...
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09/13/2017 Weathercatch: Why our fire season hit late - and bad

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"We just emerged from the first week of September, and boy, did autumn feel far away: Temperatures in the Inland Northwest ran about 10 degrees above normal, accompanied by desertlike humidity levels. Nine sizable wildfires burned in Washington state. From the Columbia River Gorge to the outskirts of Cle Elum, charging flames and billowing smoke led to evacuation orders of homes and the closure of roads, popular campgrounds and hiking trails. Smoke-filled skies that blotted"...
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8/16/2017 Weathercatch: Thermostat reset and a breather from smoky skies

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
Two songs best sum up the weather we just left behind - "Heat Wave" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." During a 10-day period, Washingtonians faced heat advisories, air quality alerts and red flag warnings for fire danger. Smoke from multiple wildfires produced a somber haze that came in tandem with peak temperatures ranging from 97 degrees in Spokane to 105 in Goldendale and Vancouver.,".......
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8/2/2017 Weathercatch: In summertime, we're the driest of them all

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
"There's some seriously weird weather out there." So says a recent Weather.com story, referring to near-record cool temperatures in New England, golf ball-size hail in Minneapolis and heavy downpours triggering flash floods in Kansas. All this, in late July,".......
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7/19/2017 Weathercatch: Wet spring produces bountiful fuel source for wildfires

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
Remember all the rain that fell in March and April? One would think a heavy drench would quell this summer's wildfire danger. Not so. Instead, spring's precipitation ramped up the risk by producing a bumper crop of grass, sage and other shrubs east of the,".......
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7/6/2017 Weathercatch: What punched holes in our clouds?

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
The cloudscape threw us a curveball on June 20 when donut-shaped clouds wafted over the Inland Northwest. The unusual display prompted citizen observers to snap photographs and the Spokane office of the National Weather Service to post an explanation with satellite images on social media. What people witnessed that morning were cavums,".......
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6/21/2017 Weathercatch: Temperature seesaw ride wrapping up

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
We just slipped past the year's longest day and highest sun. Ever wonder why the summer solstice isn't the warmest day of the year? Because it takes time to overcome the chilling effects of winter. Temperatures don't peak at the solstice. If they did, May and the first half of June would have produced steadily increasing warmth. Instead,".......
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6/8/2017 Weathercatch: Weather drives intense wallop of tree pollen levels

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
We see it and feel it - pollen madness. Trees have been exploding with tiny particles that coat our cars and make our eyes scratchy and our noses run. Blame it on the weather. Rain and cool temperatures during March and April suppressed the early pollinating cycle of many trees in our region. Then came May, when stretches of warm, dry days "led to a rapid burst of pollen being released at once,".......
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5/21/2017 Weathercatch: Desperately seeking sunshine in Inland NW

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
If you found yourself peering out a window with gritted teeth at another damp, gloomy day this past weekend, join the growing club of sun cravers. Perhaps you're experiencing some weather-related whiplash as well......
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5/2/2017 April fools with above-average rain

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
Last year we enjoyed the warmest April since 1934, a Dust Bowl year. You may recall that, for 25 glorious days, temperatures ran above normal, putting temperatures in the Inland Northwest on par with those in southern California and Florida......
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4/27/2017 What A Difference A Year Makes

By Nic Loyd, Washington State University
If you have been wondering when warmer, late spring-like weather will finally arrive, you are probably not alone. Temperatures in Washington have generally been near or below normal since......
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4/21/2017 Weathercatch: When science slides - wet weather sets off mudslides

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
When it comes to precipitation, the Inland Northwest has really been dumped on. Look no further than the pot holes, soggy lawns and tattered rubber boots for proof......
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4/5/2017 Weathercatch: Why it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad winter

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
Never mind that March was among the wettest on record for the Inland Northwest. Our miserable winter is what still stands out. Just talking about it elicits grimaces and head shakes......
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3/9/2017 Potholes and the groundhog - what they share in common

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
How fitting that when the groundhog saw its shadow on Feb. 2, signaling six more weeks of winter, it would turn out to be February's coldest day in the Spokane area. With a high of 27 degrees and a low of 9, he shivered in temperatures 14 degrees colder than normal....
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1/27/2017 Worsening freezing fog will create icy threat this weekend

By Linda Weiford, Washington State University
The freezing fog that's been coming and going this week in the eastern half of Washington state is expected to intensify, causing slick roads and decreased visibility throughout the weekend....
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1/25/2017 More wacko winter weather - and why

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
If you're feeling weather beaten or weather whiplashed, you are not alone. In a span of a month and a half, the Inland Northwest experienced...
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1/11/2017 Weathercatch: Frigid temperatures and snow drifts is very Midwest-like

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford, Washington State University
If there's one thing this winter has demonstrated, it's that the weather can still turn very cold and snowy in our region. A combination of frigid temperatures, lots of snow and occasional gusts of wind have left landscapes rippled by snowdrifts......
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