Heat not excessive by historical standards
July has certainly been very warm across the Inland Northwest.
In addition to the heat, the Spokane International Airport has seen only traces of precipitation. However, just about 40 miles to the east in Coeur d’Alene, about 0.4 inches of rain has been received in July from passing thunderstorms.
However, the airport hasn’t had any measurable precipitation this month, and is about 0.5 inches below normal. In terms of temperature, the average reading for Spokane, as of early this week, was 73.2 degrees, which is 4.4 degrees above normal.
Some people are wondering if this summer has the potential of ranking as one of the warmest in history. According to information from the National Weather Service, it has been warm in Spokane, but the heat has not been excessive. In fact, we’re fairly close to normal when you factor in June’s numbers. The last time we had a summer this warm was in 2009. Perhaps we’re just not used to feeling the long stretches of very warm to hot temperatures.
The warmest summer, June to August, based on maximum temperatures, occurred in 1961 with an average high of 86.1 degrees. The second-warmest was in 1922 with an average high of 85.3 degrees. By contrast, the coolest June through August occurred 20 years ago in 1993 with an average high of 73.8 degrees.
Based on the expected high temperatures early this week, we’ll likely have 14 to 15 days with 90 degrees or higher at the airport before cooler weather moves in. The average for an entire season is 19 days. Despite the cooler weather, I expect to see more hot days with highs at or above 90 degrees in August. We’ll probably end up with about 23 to 28 days in the 90s for the 2013 season.
According to the National Weather Service, there were three years when Spokane reported 34 days with highs at or above 90 degrees: 1958, 1961 and 1970. In 1928, records show six days at or above 100 degrees. We’ve stayed out of the triple digits so far this year, with the closest being a high of 99 on July 1.
Fire danger remains high throughout the region. Because of drought conditions in the West, the 2013 wildfire season will likely to be one of the worst in recorded history. So be careful if you’re outside as drier and warmer than normal weather is expected to continue through early September.