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Weathercatch: June offers summer in reverse

The first two weeks of this month could best be described as reverse summer.

On June 6, the temperature peaked at 96 degrees in Spokane. By June 10, it had nose-dived to a high of 59. As schools got out and outdoor pools opened, wearing swimsuits was the last thing on most people’s minds.

We don’t expect to dress for March when we’re playing outside in June – especially when only four days earlier we were dressed for August.

On June 15, the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle. “Gardeners should cover their plants this evening,” the agency advised. At Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet station south of Spokane, the low hit 36 degrees at 5 a.m.

What happened? Basically, a major pattern change occurred within a short timeframe. A desert-Southwest-like ridge of high pressure was replaced by a cool air mass from the Gulf of Alaska.

And though two separate temperature drops gave us a jolt, keep in mind that early June’s four-day hot spell was a big departure from normal. During that time, communities in Eastern Washington saw mercury shoot up to the mid-90s and into the triple digits. At some point, temperatures had to snap back.

It’s just that they snapped back too far. The record-breaking heat gave way to a cold front with cooler-than-average weather.

Those who like to wear rose-colored glasses can look at it this way: averaging out the two highs – 96 degrees on June 6 and 59 degrees four days later – equals 78 degrees, a most pleasant temperature that’s slightly above normal for this time of year.

Nic Loyd is a meteorologist with Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. Linda Weiford is a WSU news writer and weather geek. For more information, contact linda.weiford@wsu.edu.