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Tropical storms and hurricanes may be increasing very soon

| August 29, 2022 1:07 AM

More hot weather is expected across the Inland Northwest, especially around the middle of the week, as we’ll likely have more 90-degree plus temperatures. For the summer season, there have been 29 days with highs at or above 90 degrees at Cliff’s station. At the Spokane International Airport, there have also been 29 days with highs in the 90s. Weather stations in the Kellogg area have reported 26 days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees this summer season.

Average high temperatures at this time of year around the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area are in the mid-80s. As of the weekend, our average high for August has been around 90 degrees. It’s been a hot summer in Lewiston, as the average high for this month is around 96 degrees. That area has reported eight days with readings at or above 100 degrees.

In terms of precipitation, only 0.04 inches of moisture has fallen this month at Cliff’s station in northwestern Coeur d’Alene. Only trace amounts of rain have been seen at the Spokane International Airport. At this rate, Spokane will have an August with no measurable moisture. However, there was a storm late last week that produced some measurable moisture in Athol, Rathdrum, Kellogg and many other locations to the north and east of our region. A few stations in the Rathdrum area did manage to pick up around a quarter-of-an-inch of rainfall from that system with about an inch of rain in Athol.

We do see some changes in the long-range weather pattern for the Inland Northwest. The huge high-pressure system that has been giving us the dry and hot weather is expected to weaken in early-to-mid September. Temperatures are expected to cool down, so if you’re getting tired of the 90-degree heat, then readings should start to be more pleasant. There are other indications that we should also start seeing an increase in rainfall across the region as well.

The Inland Northwest, as well as the rest of the planet, are dealing with wide extremes. We had the snowiest April on record with the coolest — and one of the wettest — spring seasons in history. Conditions then flipped to the hot and dry side in July. Based on the current sea-surface temperature patterns and other climatological data, we expect our weather to turn wetter and cooler-than-normal later in the fall season.

Speaking of sea-surface temperatures after a period of warming along the Equatorial regions, it now appears that La Nina may be strengthening once again. The Australian forecasters declared La Nina “gone” earlier this summer, but have now issued a La Nina Watch, meaning there is a 70% chance of La Nina returning or strengthening within the next few months. However, according to U.S. forecasters, we still have a weak La Nina that is still influencing global weather patterns. By early next year, it’s predicted that La Nina should start to weaken once again.

Assuming La Nina regains strength later this year, this would be the third time that this phenomenon has reformed. There have been only three other occasions in recorded history that we had a triple La Nina. The most recent triple La Nina was in 1998 to 2001.

The new La Nina pattern would not be great news for the drought areas of California and much of the Far West. There have been recent reports that water has become so scarce due to the extended drought, that over a half-million acres of farmland in California has been left unplanted for this season.

As I mentioned in a previous article, the tropical storm and hurricane season has been very quiet. As of the weekend, there have been only three named storms for the 2022 season. Thanks to areas of strong winds that inhibit tropical storm development called wind shear, dry air and dust from the Sahara Desert, there hasn’t been a report of one named storm since early July. In 2021, there were 12 named storms that had formed through the end of August with 21 systems developing for the season.

Since the satellite era that began in the 1960s, there were only two years with no named storms in August. They occurred in 1997 and 1961. There were other years prior to the 1960s when August did not report any named storms. However, despite the quiet month, tropical storms and hurricanes did form during those years in September and October. In 1961, there were a total of 12 named storms with 11 of them forming from September through November. Hurricane Jenny was the last hurricane of that season that developed Nov. 2.

Despite the lack of named storms through August, many forecasters are still predicting that tropical storm and hurricane activity will pick up in September, like in other years with no named storms in August. With the expanding La Nina and warmer waters in the Caribbean, it’s still possible that we could see at least a dozen named storms between now and the end of November. Stay tuned.

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Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com.

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