Harris: 3.6 inches was legit

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COEUR d’ALENE — Be careful when you cross weather data swords with Cliff Harris.

Reports surfaced late Monday afternoon that the insurer for Clark’s Diamond Jewelers is denying that at least 3 inches of snow fell in Coeur d’Alene between midnight Friday and midnight Saturday, essentially branding Harris, the Press climatologist, as wrong and Clark’s customers counting on refunds as out of luck.

But Harris is standing by his measurement that 3.6 inches of snow fell at his weather station in central Coeur d’Alene during the contest period. Further, he said, he measures on concrete, which is slightly warmer than other surfaces, so 3.6 inches is the bare minimum official measurement possible.

“I undermeasure a little bit on purpose so nobody can say I’m trying to break records,” he said late Monday. “If it’d been 2.8, 2.9, too bad. I’m not going to stretch it. There’s a lot of money [more than $500,000] on the line.”

He added: “They don’t call me ‘Straight Arrow’ for nothing.”

While Clark’s is vowing to carry on the fight for customer refunds, the region is bracing for a cold wave of another sort. Harris said 18.6 inches of snow fell at his weather station between 9:45 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Monday, bringing the season total to 40.8 inches — and paving the way for a couple of really cold days and nights.

Lows could dip down close to single digits, with highs in the 20s Tuesday and Wednesday. Heavier snow is possible this weekend, said Straight Arrow.

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