COEUR d’ALENE — When Press climatologist Cliff Harris misses a prediction, he’s got a great rejoinder: “Hey, I’m in sales, not production,” he’ll quip.
Cliff has been quipping quite a bit lately.
Before snow fanatics go after the affable weather guy wielding torches and Rossignols, however, they might consider the formidability of forecasting this year. Going all the way back to 1895, when documenting local weather data began, the Coeur d’Alene area has never seen a year quite like this one.
“This is the strangest year, snowfall-wise, in the history of Coeur d’Alene,” Harris said Monday.
He got that right.
February, you might recall, was the snowiest February in history, when 56 inches piled up.
April with its puny two-tenths of an inch was the least snowy April ever.
September saw record snowfall.
October saw record snowfall.
Then November came and went with nary an inch — the least snowy November ever.
Oh, we came close. Harris noted that the major storm he expected to hit just before Thanksgiving did its fair share of pulverizing, but it veered south just before reaching North Idaho, causing chaos next door. Last Tuesday, that storm led to a 60-car pileup on I-90 just west of Spokane that left at least six people injured.
“Everybody got snow but us,” Harris said.
Our time is coming, he predicted.
Moisture headed this way later in the week looks like a mixture of snow and rain, “depending on what time of day or night it falls,” he said. Warmer southwesterly winds will rule, he predicted, but that’s not likely to last. Harris said the colder northwesterly winds should follow, bringing skiers a gift mid- to late next week.
“Toward Dec. 11th to the 15th, there’s a chance of a good dump of snow here,” he said, before adding: “if that storm doesn’t also head south.”