If July felt unusually hot this year in the Inland Northwest, you are right.
An analysis by the National Weather Service in the region showed that the average temperature for the month broke the record for Sandpoint and Kellogg.
Other cities in the region set record highs for their July averages.
In Spokane, it was 7 degrees higher
than the 30-year average, making it the second-hottest on record for the Lilac City.
The heat was more intense in Western Montana and other locations along the Rockies.
“Missoula, Boise, Pocatello and Salt Lake City all had their warmest month ever,” according to an online report (www. wrh.noaa.gov/otx/) posted this week by the Spokane weather service office.
Missoula was 11.2 degrees above normal and set a record high of 107 degrees. The high temperature there fell short of 90 degrees only one day.
Closer to home, Ritzville, Omak and Colville also had their warmest July on record.
In Sandpoint, the average temperature was 72.2 degrees, breaking the 1998 record of 71. In Kellogg, the average of 73.9 broke the 1985 record of 73.5.
The average temperatures are reached by adding the highs and lows and dividing the total by the number of readings.
A strong and persistent high pressure ridge over the Rockies allowed heat to build and prevented storms or cooler Pacific marine air from penetrating inland, the weather service said.
“The pattern that developed was more persistent than normal,” meteorologist Steve Bodnar said.
Spokane’s July average was 75.6 degrees. The other cities in the region with records had averages in the mid-70s.
Lewiston, which had its second-warmest July on record, reported 10 days with temperatures of 100 degrees or hotter last month, including 108 on July 5. The average for the month in Lewiston was 80.5 degrees.
The heat in Spokane peaked at 101 degrees on July 5 and again July 11. Spokane also saw 16 days at 90 degrees or hotter and 22 days where the low stayed at 60 or above overnight.
Whether the hot July is an indication of climate change is uncertain. Scientists have said that the best indication of global warming is found over long-term averages, not in a hot month or single heat wave.
“It’s really hard to give a direct answer that this relates to global warming,” Bodnar said.
However, a recent analysis showed that the average temperature in Spokane has increased by about 2 degrees since 1948, the year the weather service moved its official reporting station to what’s now known as Spokane International Airport. Even larger increases in average temperatures over the past decades are showing up throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Warm weather is expected to resume this weekend with highs in the upper 80s in both Coeur d’Alene and Spokane. The normal Spokane high for this time of year is 84 degrees.
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