Residents of Benewah County can expect more above average precipitation and cold temperatures this winter according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Last Thursday’s winter storm made a major impact on the county as well as the Pacific Northwest, shutting down major freeways, schools and some businesses.
This included the closure of the St. Maries, Kootenai and Plummer-Worley School Districts as well as the closure of Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes in Washington, which disrupted supply chains in the Inland Empire for more than three days.
NWS observers saw six inches of snowfall in the St. Maries region Thursday which mixed with the snow already on the ground, creating an 11 inch snow depth.
Meteorologist Laurie Nisbet said more precipitation and cold temperatures can be expected as the Pacific Northwest experiences its second consecutive La Nina.
“We are currently in a La Nina in the Pacific Northwest which means we can expect wetter and cooler weather than normal,” Nesbet said. “We can expect those conditions for the rest of the winter.”
La Nina is caused by the build up of cooler than normal waters in the tropical Pacific.
Nesbet said the higher precipitation has impacted the snow pack in Benewah County in a good way.
“The snow water equivalent in Benewah County is at about 127 to 136 percent which is really good for that region,” Nesbet said. “That will be good as long as there isn’t a heat wave in May and it doesn’t all melt off very quickly.”
The NWS expects more precipitation in Benewah County starting Tuesday night into Wednesday (today) morning with light patches of snow in the eastern parts of Benewah County and freezing rain towards the Idaho and Washington border.
According to the NWS 10-day weather forecast, even more consistent snowfall is expected starting Monday, January 17.
So far snow fall in the area has partly surpassed 2020’s numbers. In December of 2021, the St. Maries region saw snowfall accumulating to 15 inches compared to December 2020’s three and a half inches of snowfall.
For more information on winter conditions or snowpack in the area, contact the Spokane NWS office at 208-244-6395.