Another hot summer day is baking the Inland Northwest and bringing an increased danger of fire today before a low pressure system starts to cool and dampen the weekend, forecasters said.
Temperatures were moving into the upper 90s at some locations across the region.
At 4 p.m. Felts Field was 98, Deer Park, 97, and Pullman, 98. Pullman had reached 100 earlier in the day.
A highway weather station at Division Street and Hastings Road showed a temperature of 104.
Spokane International Airport was at 95. Coeur d’Alene and Liberty Lake were 93 and 94 respectively.
The National Weather Service had predicted a high of 97 at the airport, the city’s official weather measuring station. The record high for today in Spokane is 99 set in 1929.
Highs were expected to reach 100 in downtown, 99 in Spokane Valley and Post Falls and 98 in Coeur d’Alene.
The hot weather is also bone dry. The dewpoint at the airport was 38 degrees at 2 p.m., leading to a relative humidity of 15 percent
A strong ridge of higher air pressure has strengthened today across the region, but a change in the weather is expected to develop today along the Pacific coast and move inland over the weekend.
The ridge is forming a kink on its western side along the coast and that is creating a low-pressure system that is now moving onshore in western Oregon.
Rather than riding up over the northern side of the ridge like several earlier cold fronts this month, today’s developing system is expected to undercut the ridge and meander across southern Washington over the weekend.
Increasing high clouds are already approaching the region in advance of the low-pressure system and that should bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms through Sunday. The system is picking up moisture left over from tropical storm Ignacio and moving it northward.
Radar images from Oregon show moderate rain now in the Willamette Valley south of Portland, and that moisture is expected to move eastward into the Inland Northwest.
The moist system will replace the current low humidity with a muggy or sultry feel, forecasters said.
Temperatures on Saturday should drop to the upper 70s, but rebound to the lower to middle 80s on Sunday. The risk of showers and thunderstorms will be about 40 to 60 percent across the region.
Improving weather is expected next week with sun and warm temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s.
A red-flag warning was posted for today for high fire danger across Northeast Washington, North Idaho and the upper Columbia Basin.
A hazardous outlook was issued for the lower Columbia Basin, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, northeast Oregon and surrounding mountains for thunderstorms, although the weather service said they did not expect severe storms.