Michelle Schlienger and Samantha Lawless found a picnic table overlooking the Upper Spokane Falls on Monday as their place to take in the summer-like warmth that bathed the Inland Northwest.
“It’s too beautiful to stay inside,” Schlienger said. “I’m happy to see all of the people out walking today and I’m happy to have a sack lunch.”
Lawless said, “The grass is green. The river is flowing.”
They were not alone. Across the region, large numbers of people were out walking, riding, running, gardening, painting or just sitting in the sun.
Afternoon temperatures rose into the middle and upper 70s in the Inland Northwest. Temperatures in the Columbia Basin rose into the lower 80s. The readings were 15 to 20 degrees above the normal temperature for the season.
Monday marked the fifth consecutive day of highs in the mid-60s or warmer.
“It feels like summer almost,” Anthony Cavallucci, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said during a Monday weather briefing.
Like most spring warm spells, this one is not destined to last.
The weather service is calling for one more day of warmer temperatures; Tuesday’s forecast calls for a high near 72 and a 40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms after 11 a.m.
Showers may continue for the next several days as highs drop back into the 50s and lower 60s. Lows will cool back into the 30s by Thursday night. Cavallucci said he expects nicer weather starting Friday and continuing through the weekend.
The Climate Prediction Center said it expects cooler weather to continue next week, but that May, June and July will see above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.
El Niño warming in the tropical Pacific, which was credited with bringing mild weather to the Northwest, is showing signs of subsiding, the CPC scientists said last week.
On Monday, the temperature in downtown Spokane rose to 75 degrees by 3 p.m. Coeur d’Alene was at 73.
The record high in Spokane for April 19 was 81 degrees in 1908. The normal high was 59.