May 29, 2007 in Idaho

Mercury to hit mid-90s by weekend

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Go ahead and plant those tomatoes.

Record heat is expected this week, with temperatures hitting the mid-90s on Saturday and Sunday, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

The warm weather will start building today, with highs reaching the upper 80s by Wednesday, said Spokane meteorologist Jeff Cote.

The high Saturday is expected to be 94 – 2 degrees warmer than the record set 70 years ago. Sunday’s high is also supposed to hit 94.

According to a report posted on the agency’s Web site, forecaster confidence for the coming heat wave is “very high.”

The ridge of high pressure causing the late spring heat wave will likely begin weakening by Monday.

Cool, wet weather over the weekend left traces of snow on Idaho’s Silver Mountain and on Mount Spokane. It was hardly enough to revive the region’s rapidly diminishing snowpacks, however.

Because of earlier-than-usual melting, snowpack in the mountains that feed the Spokane River now stands at 59 percent of average for this time of year, according to measurements taken by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.

With much of the snow gone, Avista Utilities intends to close the spill gate on its Post Falls Dam this week, likely today, according to the company’s weekly stream-flow report.

The dam controls the level of Lake Coeur d’Alene, as well as the amount of water in the Spokane River.

The energy company also expects to open its boat ramp at Q’emiln Park after next weekend, likely June 4.

Once the spill gate closes, flows over Spokane Falls also diminish, so these are the last days before September to catch a glimpse of the waterfalls at full force.

Post Falls resident Joe Gentili and his family admired Upper Spokane Falls at sunset Monday.

Although the family has lived in the region for four years, it was their first visit to the falls in downtown Spokane.

“This is pretty intense,” Gentili said, peering down at the roiling, jade water. “It’s impressive. You’re so close to so much water moving so fast.”


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