September’s ‘historic’ storm in the North Country

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Winter in North Idaho and other parts of the Pacific Northwest got off to a very early and rare start last weekend. For the 2019-20 season, Cliff has measured 1.1 inches of snow at his station. In Montana, this ďhistoricĒ storm dumped 4 feet of snow in Browning, a town near Glacier National Park.

Snow was also reported in Missoula last Saturday. It was the first time since records began in 1893 that snow was measured in Missoula on Sept. 28.

Rare snowfalls were also seen in Nevada last weekend as well. The National Weather Service reported that 0.8 inches of snow fell on Sunday, Sept. 29. That was also the first snowfall on that date for Winnemucca since records began in 1877.

We seem to be in a weather pattern where Spokane has been receiving more moisture than Coeur díAlene. The big snowstorm dumped 3.3 inches at the Spokane International Airport last weekend, more than 2 inches than what was measured in Coeur díAlene and some surrounding towns in North Idaho.

Despite the very rare early snows in our region, Cliff and I donít expect to see the next snowfall in the region until around early to mid-November. However, with these crazy weather patterns, anything Is possible.

In terms of moisture, September ended up with a total of 1.90 inches of rain and melted snow. The normal is 1.98 inches, so it was just a touch below the average. As I mentioned in previous articles, moisture totals should start to climb to above-normal levels later this month and into November.

Cliff and I are still watching the main ingredients for our winter pattern, solar activity and the sea-surface temperature pattern. Sunspots, or storms on the sun, continue to be minimal. However, the latest sea-surface temperature data continues to show a large area of warmer-than-normal ocean waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic regions.

Based on the current data, we are currently in the in-between cooler La Nina and warmer El Nino event. Most models are forecasting La Nada conditions through the end of the year and perhaps into early 2020. Previously, most forecasts were leaning toward the formation of a new La Nina within the next few months. Also, some of the forecast computer models are indicating that we may head toward a new El Nino later next year.

Despite the fact that we believe that a La Nina is an essential part of our big winter snows, many forecasters are also pointing to a very cold and snowy winter weather pattern across the North Country as well as over northern Europe.

For the rest of this article, Iím going to have a change of pace based on a recent event. During the weekend of snowfall in North Idaho, yours truly suffered a mild heart attack. The event came as quite a shock as my health has been very good and I am considered to have a low risk for heart disease.

The episode began late Saturday night, Sept. 28. I honestly thought it was a bad acid reflux attack as there was a lot of tightness in my chest but no pain. When it spread to my arms, I became concerned and made the decision to go to emergency and get it checked out. After 8 hours and multiple blood tests, the doctors informed me that I had a heart attack. Wow, I didnít see that one coming.

I was later informed that there was a 90% blockage of one of the arteries, but not the one to the main chamber of the heart. Blood clots formed where there was a small rupture, so the doctors have to dissolve the clots first and then put in the stent to open up the artery. I should be home by the time this article goes to press, and yes, I did write it from my hospital bed.

In my 56 years of life, Iíve never had to spend one night in a hospital until now. However, the doctors and nurses have been great and I should back to normal very soon. Fortunately, the damage to my heart was minimal.

I mentioned this event because I had a friend who was an EMT, Emergency Medical Technician, who told me that if I ever had any kind of chest discomfort or pain then I should get to the hospital immediately, preferably by ambulance as any delay could result in a situation that could be much worse. Since I thought it was something else, I didnít call an ambulance, but at least took the advice and went in, which the doctors told me was a good decision.

I have also put updates on my Facebook page and am very appreciative of the support from my friends, family and a wonderful woman who has taken great care of me. So, from my personal experience, if an unusual health condition pops up, donít waste time. Get it checked out. Iím glad I did.

• ē ē

Contact Randy Mann at

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