Things are heating up in Spokane.
A streak of warm weather descends on Spokane Thursday and Friday, with temperatures pushing into the low 80s. But don’t expect it to last – more-temperate conditions return over the weekend, with the mercury falling to the mid-50s with rain probable, according to the National Weather Service.
“That’s quite an unfortunate turn in the other direction,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Laurie Nisbet. Nisbet said the weekend temperatures are below average for this time of year.
Last winter may have seemed colder than normal, but in fact was typical of a La Niña year, which brings more precipitation and lower temperatures, Nisbet said. La Niña happens every two to seven years. And the snowfall this year landed just 0.7 inches more than average, totaling 47 inches.
The last above-80-degree day was Sept. 12, according to Nisbet. It was 87 degrees that day.
This week won’t get that hot. Thursday is supposed to reach 82 degrees, and Friday is supposed to reach 83, according to the National Weather Service.
Nisbet wanted to warn would-be swimmers that the river water is cold, glacial melt, and that increases the danger of swimming.
“People will want to cool off in rivers, but rivers are still really cold. They will be in the low 40s,” she said. “Hypothermia can quickly set in.”
Up on the South Hill on Wednesday, The Scoop ice cream shop timed its free cone giveaway to coincide with the sunny weather. Parents and kids of all ages lined up around the building to get ice cream themed for Cirque du Soleil’s “CRYSTAL,” coming to Spokane May 2 through May 6.
Two sisters from Cataldo Catholic School, Maria Bradley, 10, and Ciara Bradley, 8, finished their cones in the sun and said they were ready for summer.
Ciara said she was keen to go camping at Priest Lake in Idaho. “I like swimming in the lake and staying in the tent and roasting s’mores in the fire,” she said with a grin. The girls are also looking forward to tending their garden.
Around town, shops and stores that trade in summer entertainment were doing a brisk trade. The warming weather and the promise of a hot Friday has led to a surge in canoe and kayak rentals at Mountain Gear, said John Schwartz, who manages the local outdoor retailer’s store on North Division Street.
“Almost overnight it was ski gear to summer gear,” he said. People are ready to start paddling on the region’s lakes.
After a day on the water, some will be looking for a Friday night out on the town, and Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery is scrambling to get its popular patio ready.
The restaurant can seat 130 on the patio overlooking a pond in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development.
Bardenay manager Peter Goodwin said the sudden warm-up put plans in motion to have at least some outdoor seating available.
Golfers have been playing Downriver for the past month, but the warming weather has spurred a run on tee times. As of Wednesday, the first opening on Friday was at 4:30 p.m.