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Looking Ahead: What does late snow mean for spring flooding?

SPOKANE, Wash. - The late winter snow that made this February the second-snowiest on record for Spokane is continuing to compete in March. 

The snow total at the Spokane International Airport on March 1 ties the existing record for that day, according to Mark Turner, the Observation Program Leader of the National Weather Service's Spokane branch. 

With warmer temperatures in the seven day forecast, NWS Spokane is looking ahead to flood season, and what impacts this winter's late snow might have. 

The snow on the ground might be an anomaly, Turner says, but the mountains are a different story. 

Snow water equivalent (SWE) percentages in the basins that create much fo the runoff that affects the Inland Northwest are near or below normal. 

Compare this year's graphic to the past two years, when flooding significantly impacted the Inland Northwest, and the maps look different. Most basins display a SWE percentage at or above normal. 

Turner says the rapid warming in the forecast could threaten to melt the snow on the ground rapidly, but the overnight lows are expected to stay cool which should help slow the process. 

Turner says that, coupled with the lack of any major storms in the near future, currently does not suggest major, widespread flooding for this year. Localized flooding is expected. 

 

 

 

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