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Weekend looks drier, but keep umbrella handy

Fri., May 28, 2010

Wet Memorial Day weekend may not be what we’re hoping for, but it’s not all that unusual

Record rainfall on Thursday should be history as the Memorial Day holiday arrives, but forecasters warned that the risk of more rain or showers isn’t leaving the region completely.

Spokane International Airport broke a 112-year-old rainfall record for May 27, with close to an inch of rain as of 9 p.m. The previous record was 0.84 inches in 1898.

Forecasters said more rain could fall again today, but conditions are expected to improve over the holiday weekend.

A look back at the past 14 Memorial Day holidays shows the weather varying widely – from sunny and dry to soggy and cool. It’s spring, after all.

But the region has nothing to complain about. The past two Memorial Day holidays were among the best since 1996, with no rainfall and highs between 70 and 80.

Rain this weekend is more likely than not. Only five Memorial Day weekends out of the past 14 have had no measureable rain.

Spokane’s rainiest Memorial Day was in 1997, when 1.2 inches fell. The following year brought another wet holiday weekend, as did 2006.

The warmest day for the holiday weekend came in 2003, when Saturday logged in at 91 degrees.

This weekend, temperatures will be on the cool side – near 60 on Saturday with a 40 percent chance of showers in Spokane, 50 percent chance of rain in Coeur d’Alene.

Things will dry out by Sunday, which should be mostly cloudy with no chance of showers during the day in Spokane. North Idaho may get some sprinkles Sunday.

Highs may reach the upper 60s on Sunday and near 70 Monday. There is a 30 percent chance of showers on Monday.

For gardeners, lows are staying in the 40s, well above the record cold of 32 seen on Monday.

“Sunday we get a little ridge moving over us,” said forecaster Jon Fox. “There will still be enough moisture. There could be showers mainly in the mountains of Idaho.”

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