Randy Mann: El Nino likely poised to put damper on late-summer heat
We received our first taste of summer earlier this month as temperatures across much of the Inland Northwest approached near-record levels.
The warmest day was May 15, when it was 80 degrees the Spokane International Airport. Coeur d’Alene and other places were also in the lower 80s.
After the warm spell, temperatures cooled to near-normal levels with showers across the Inland Northwest. However, it looks like temperatures will rebound to near or above the 80-degree mark this weekend.
While I do think this summer will be relatively dry and warm, I don’t think this early heat means the season will rank among the hottest and driest, especially with a new and warmer El Nino forming in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The hottest summer recorded in the Spokane area came in 1922, with an average temperature for June, July and August of 71.3 degrees. The normal reading for those months is 66.3 degrees. Another hot summer was 1998, with an average high of 83.9 degrees and a mean temperature of 69.8. That summer, 38 days were at or above 90 degrees – second only to 1958 with 39 – and four days at or above 100.
Last summer was warmer than usual. May started out with 7 days at or above 80 degrees. There was one 90-degree day in June. July had 11 days in the 90s, with 10 of them in a row from July 17-26. That month’s temperatures were 4.1 degrees above average. August was also very warm, with eight days at or above 90 degrees, which ended at 2.9 degrees above normal. September was another warm month with 6 days in the 90s.
This year, I expect 20 to 25 days to reach or crest 90 degrees. Don’t be surprised to see one or two afternoons with readings at or above the 100-degree mark. But the fall should start to turn wet if ocean waters in the south-central Pacific Ocean continue to warm up.