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Wet fall giving way to dry winter

| December 23, 2004 11:00 PM

An extended warm spell has given way to more seasonable temperatures, but meteorologists are still giving less than even odds that southern Lincoln County will have a white Christmas.

After a brief snow squall on Wednesday afternoon, the weather is expected to remain relatively clear until Christmas Day, when a 30-percent chance of snow is predicted with the odds improving into the night. High temperatures are anticipated to range from the upper teens to the upper 20s with lows ranging from the low teens to low 20s.

The area saw a wetter than normal early fall, with September precipitation, at 2.83 inches, outpacing the eighty year average of 1.10 inches by almost a factor of three. But only 1.16 inches were recorded in November, where the average is 2.25 inches, and as of Wednesday only 1.67 inches had fallen in December, where the average is also 2.25 inches.

Persistent upper-level high pressure off the West Coast since October has pushed most storms to the north or south, leading to a mild and dry late fall and early winter across the Northwest, said Gene Petrescu of the National Weather Service in Missoula. There¹s a ³better than even chance² that the pattern will continue through the winter, Petrescu said.

Locally, Turner Mountain remains closed due to a lack of snow. As of Wednesday the ski area had about 6 inches of snow at the base and over a foot at the top.