Freeze threat added to dusty, windy, fiery forecast
The National Weather Service in Spokane this afternoon has added a freeze warning on top of a red-flag warning for high fire danger from a wind storm that has kicked up today.
The freeze warning is in effect for northern portions of the region for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, while the Palouse region has a freeze warning for Wednesday morning only.
Spokane and Spokane Valley are not included in the freeze warning, but Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene are included for Wednesday morning.
Spokane should see lows in the upper 30s while temperatures in some locales could drop into the 20s, forecasters said.
Spokane International Airport at 10 a.m. had sustained southwest winds of 24 mph with gusts to 31 mph.
Forecasters are calling for winds later today at 26 mph with gusts to 37 mph.
Coeur d’Alene could see gusts to 33 mph.
The fire warning includes nearly all of Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Fires in the western side of the Columbia Basin and in the Cascades will be sending smoke across the region.
Those fires and any new ones will spread quickly with low humidity and stiff winds.
A cold front has moved through the area, setting the stage for the quickly filling winds behind it.
The state Department of Natural Resources this morning reported that 39 separate fires were started on Sunday in Yakima and Kittitas counties along the east slopes of the Cascades. Other fires were reported near Wenatchee, Grand Coulee and Odessa.
Additional firefighting teams are expected to arrive in the region today.
Temperatures will drop markedly from Sunday with highs in Spokane expected to reach about 71 in Spokane today and 66 on Tuesday.
A return to warm late summer weather is expected later this week with highs reaching the 80s by Thursday and Friday.
The storm that is bringing wind and dust to the Inland Northwest dropped enough rain in Seattle overnight to end a 48-day dry spell there, the second-longest dry streak on record. The longest dry spell in Seattle was 51 days in 1951.