Freezing temperatures set records across the Inland Northwest on Monday morning and left gardeners downcast from damage to tender plants.
Spokane International Airport hit a record low of 32 just before dawn, breaking the old mark of 35 in 1975.
Lows in the middle and upper 20s were recorded throughout the region, including a reading of 28 at Coeur d’Alene Airport. It was not immediately confirmed whether the Coeur d’Alene low set a record, according to the National Weather Service.
Pullman set a record of 31, breaking the old mark of 32 in 1975. Omak also set a record of 31. It previously had gotten to 33 there on May 24, 1935.
Lori Rice at the Plant Farm, 14208 E. Fourth Ave. in Spokane Valley, said customers were showing up today to replace tomato plants killed by the frost.
“We’ve had people coming in – some of them in for the third time – to replace tomatoes,” she said.
Some customers were blaming themselves since Spokane-area weather can be trouble in May, she said.
But summerlike temperatures at mid-month may have fooled gardeners into thinking the chance of frost had passed, and in most years it would have.
May has been 2.4 degrees below normal through Monday. Freezing lows were recorded on May 4 and 5 along with several mornings with lows of 33 at the airport. If the airport drops to 33, it is likely that other locales in the region would have seen frost.
But tomatoes and other tender plants are likely to be safe from now on.
National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a bit of a warm-up for the rest of the week with lows of 50 tonight in Spokane and then 40s for the rest of the week. Today’s highs should be near 70 with mostly sunny skies.
There is a chance of rain Wednesday through Friday from a slow-moving low-pressure area that should hang over the region until Saturday.
Potential planting weather should return by Sunday with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the middle 40s, although peppers, basil, cucumbers and squashes prefer lows of 50 or warmer.