Dedicated weather man
Climatologist Cliff Harris’s extensive North Idaho weather records go back to 1895. He also maintains a professional weather station in his back yard near Coeur d’Alene Public Golf Course, which he checks every four hours, every day.
Yes, every day.
By MIKE PATRICK
COEUR d’ALENE — Add white to North Idaho’s fall colors.
And don’t blame those beautiful leaves for shivering when there’s no wind.
Wednesday’s high in Coeur d’Alene was only 39. Lows in the lower 20s were forecast for this morning.
Better get used to it, said Press Climatologist Cliff Harris, who in 2014 predicted — in print, no less — that 2019-2020 could see record snows.
So far, so bad.
“This has led to the earliest winter we’ve ever seen,” he said Wednesday after dusting off from Cd’A’s second snowfall in less than two weeks.
Winter has rudely superseded fall.
“We had icicles on our house at 10 a.m. today,” Harris lamented. “In my 30 years here, I’ve never seen icicles in October. Never.”
Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, Dalton Gardens reported nearly 4 inches of snow, Harris said. Rathdrum saw 4.5 inches, while Coeur d’Alene registered a more modest but extraordinarily unusual 1.8 inches.
Rewind to the last weekend in September, when 1.1 inches fell at Cliff’s weather station, and you have a two-fisted phenomenon.
“Going back to 1895, we’ve never had this happen before — a record snow in September and a record snow in October,” Harris said.
He further noted that February’s record 56-inch dump — shattering the previous February record of 39.5 inches — is shaping 2019 up as a potential calendar year calamity.
Harris was urged to go out on an icy limb and make some educated guesses on a couple of key dates. Here’s what he said:
Halloween: High temp 48, low 37. (We couldn’t get him to predict rain.)
Christmas: 95 percent chance of a white Christmas. The average, he says, is 60 percent.
As to the why, Harris and his better half weather-wise, Press Meteorologist Randy Mann, insist that the absence of sunspots and presence of increasingly cold waters in the Pacific Ocean add up to North Idaho snow. This winter, maybe tons of it.
“The 1-inch snowfall in September 1926, that was a fluke,” Harris said. “This is a whole different pattern here, with virtually no sunspots and the Pacific waters cooling.”
Disconnect hoses from your house, Harris said. Get your sprinkler systems blown out ASAP. Warm up your snowblowers. And hold on.
“Who knows what’s coming after this?” he said.