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Weather forecast is for 'a very normal summer'

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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Retiring EWU professor Bob Quinn looks one more time at the months ahead

Eastern Washington University geography professor Bob Quinn has been quite accurately forecasting the weather for decades, and teaching others along the way, too.

As he retires after 49 years of work at the university, Quinn offered one final look at the months ahead, particularly, summer, which officially began June 20.

"Fundamentally I think we're going to have a very normal summer," Quinn said. "Of course that means hot and dry."

But not terribly blazing hot, he said. Like 2015, when, according to the U.S. Weather Service, the average daily temperature was 72.7 degrees, up from the previous record of 71.3 set in 1922.

Currently there is a weak high-pressure ridge over the region, Quinn explained. A trough in the Gulf of Alaska and along the West Coast will pump periodic disturbances through the region every 48-72 hours.

"They're not strong enough to produce significant rain, (but) just strong enough to kick some clouds in, throw a little wind, maybe a few little sprinkles and mountain showers," Quinn said.

The ridge will strengthen later this week, ushering in the more typical summer weather with highs in the mid-80s.

And what about the crystal ball looking into fall and winter?

"The sea surface pattern that is generally going to dictate the fall and winter weather gets established pretty much by mid-summer," Quinn said.

While June is a little early to do more accurate long-term forecasting, the stubborn and strong El Nino — a warming of the sea surface temps that has dominated our weather the past two years — is disintegrating.

What's left is in the central Pacific Ocean, near the equator, Quinn said.

But down along the west coast of South America near Peru and Ecuador, there's hint of cooler water being pulled up. "It's not strong enough yet to even say, 'Here comes La Nina,' but it's a hint of what seems to be the way we're leaning," Quinn explained.

Having a strong El Nino followed by a La Nina is not at all unusual, he said.

"Often you get a little La Nada in between before it forms," Quinn said, referring to an in between phenomenon.

Basically, Quinn, one of the top experts in long-range weather forecasting, is hedging his bet and saying by the end of July there will be a much more clear picture.

Paul Delaney can be reached at

"The sea surface pattern that is generally going to dictate the fall and winter weather gets established pretty much by mid-summer."

_EWU professor Bob Quinn

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Original Publication Date: June 23, 2016

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