Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow Seasons: 1968-69 vs. 2008-09

The first two snowstorms of the season have passed through and dropped several inches of snow on their way by. I thought I'd combine the theme of my two blogs and show a little photo project I made with some estate photos taken during the landmark winter of 1968-69. I was not in this area for that one, but I have read that it was brutal. I was here for the highest snowfall season on record, the winter of  2008-09.

I looked at the setting of the old photos and thought it looked like the Shadle area of Spokane. I could see the distinctive bluff on the west end of town, in the background. I used online aerial imagery to look for the house and managed to find it, near the intersection of Northwest Blvd and Ft. George Wright Drive. A little creepy, don't you think? Well...maybe not as creepy as hitting the ground to try to duplicate the angles shown in the originals.

The amounts of snow look similar, but the snow in the old shots came in on a bitter cold wind. The snows of '08-'09 seemed fluffy and gentle, in comparison. The total for the '68-'69 season was 77.5 inches and the depth of the '08-'09 season was 93.6 inches, barely getting over the previous highest total of 93.5 inches, set during the winter of '49-'50. Hmm...I wonder what the margin of error is in this? I was here for the first, third, and fifth snowiest winters.

Funny thing, after setting the record for the snowiest winter, the following winter of '09-'10 almost went down as the least snowiest.

Yes, it's not Great Falls, Fargo, Marquette, or Buffalo...but it's enough for Spokane!


 
Both series of shots taken after the New Year.

 
If you didn't know any better you might think the shots are the same vintage, with that 1974-ish Mercury land yacht there. The neighborhoods up that way haven't changed much since 1968.



 
This is a shot from the winter of 1992-93, Spokane's fifth-snowiest winter, taken at Fairchild AFB. There was a parallel to '08-'09 in that after this winter, there wasn't much snow in the following winter. I drove a 1965 Ford pickup through this winter and then bought a brand new 1994 Toyota 4X4 the following fall, and then it barely snowed. 

 
A shot from the biggest storm of '08-'09, which dropped almost two feet on us. Only three of us bothered to try to make it to work, in two SUV's and the Jeep. You can see that the Xterra had a bow wave going in the snow in our parking lot.

 
Side streets were rutted and mostly impassable to low-clearance cars. Even if you did make it down the street, you then had to clear the berm at the arterial. This is East 24th Avenue and if I remember correctly, city crews were just getting to it as I finished my shooting.
 
This winter's long-range forecast? Warmer and wetter, which is how this last snowstorm ended.

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