It’s official. The three-month span from June 1 through Aug. 31 was the hottest and the driest summer on record in Spokane.
The hot and dry conditions have caused extreme drought and monster wildfires that still are burning across the region.
Looking ahead, September weather is expected to be closer to normal, according to forecast models from the National Weather Service.
With warm El Nino waters emerging in the tropical Pacific, the chances are good that winter will be milder than normal based on past El Ninos, forecasters have said. El Nino alters storm currents across the U.S.
How much rain and snow will fall this autumn and winter remains to be seen. El Nino can be dry or relatively wet, said Ron Miller, forecaster with the Spokane office of the weather service.
One thing is certain: The past three months blew away previous summer records.
The average daily temperature this year was 72.7 degrees, which is derived from adding up all the daytime highs and nighttime lows.
The previous record, 71.3 degrees, was set in 1922.
“To beat it by a degree and a half, that’s pretty sizeable,” Miller said.
Normal for the three-month period is 67 degrees. Record keeping dates to 1881.
On the dry side, Spokane saw just 0.44 of an inch of rain at Spokane International Airport, the city’s official weather monitoring site.
The previous record low was 0.48 of an inch in 1949. The average for June through August is 2.48 inches, with most rain in a normal year falling in June.
Miller said Spokane’s meteorological summer is considered to run from July 4 through the end of August.
Spokane hit the century mark for temperature on four days, peaking on June 28 at 105.
The city has never recorded a high of 100 degrees in September, but it averages one day in the 90s and seven days in the 80s.
Spokane has now seen three hot summers in a row based on average temperatures.
The summer of 2014 was the seventh-hottest on record, with an average daily temperature of 70. The summer of 2013 was the 15th-hottest at 69.4 degrees.
Miller said warm overnight lows in recent years have contributed to the higher average daily temperatures.
The past three months rank second for the average daytime high, at 85.9 degrees, behind the summer of 1961.
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