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Originally published Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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In Spokane, it's the winter without end

Steve Bodnar and his colleagues hear plenty of begging these days. They're not lottery winners. They're meteorologists for the National...

The Associated Press

SPOKANE — Steve Bodnar and his colleagues hear plenty of begging these days.

They're not lottery winners. They're meteorologists for the National Weather Service.

"We get a lot of, 'Make it stop. No more snow, please,' " Bodnar said Tuesday.

The Inland Northwest remains locked in the grip of the second snowiest winter in its history, with more snow on the way.

The city's golf courses remain closed. The deadline to remove studded snow tires was pushed back a week. Area ski hills are still open.

About the only people happy with the snow are Spokane police, who were able to follow footprints in the snow last week to arrest a man accused of abandoning a stolen car after a chase.

So far, 89.5 inches of snow have fallen on Spokane during the winter of 2007-08. That includes 1.7 inches last weekend, after city schools were closed for "spring" break.

The only winter with more snow was in 1949-50, when 93.5 inches was recorded during what, after all, was known as the Cold War era.

Last weekend's snowfall pushed this winter past the 89 inches recorded in 1974-75.

Snow fell on Spokane starting around Thanksgiving and has stuck around since, except for an occasional short thaw. The city was walloped by 13.7 inches during a 30-hour storm over the weekend of Jan. 26-27.

This winter, Spokane schools closed for four snow days, which is very rare. U.S. 195 from Spokane to Pullman was closed for the first time in decades.

So much snow fell in the mountains that hungry moose showed up in large numbers in people's backyards, prompting the state to warn residents to stay away from the big animals.

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Winter isn't exactly melting away.

March was the second snowiest on record, with 15.8 inches.

Below normal temperatures are expected to creep into the more seasonal 60s by this weekend. But Bodnar said more snow is forecast for next week, as the La Niña system that pummeled the region is sticking around.

"We will have another trough of cooler air and a storm system from the northwest, possibly by next week," Bodnar said.

"I couldn't count [winter] out yet."

It's hard to say if future winters will be as snowy, Bodnar said.

This winter's heavy snow was caused by La Niña, a condition in which sea-surface temperatures near the equator are cooler than normal, which can push Pacific storms down from the cooler Gulf of Alaska.

It's also unclear if there will be a warm summer to compensate for all the snow. The government's Climate Prediction Center says there is a 40 percent chance that temperatures will be above normal in June, July and August.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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