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Spokane ties 120-year temperature record, but libraries, splash pads offer some relief

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 10, 2018, 10:42 a.m.

Spokane tied a 120-year record Thursday, as temperatures briefly pushed the mercury to 103 degrees.

The last time the date Aug. 9 saw such temperatures was in 1898.

This is also the first time temperatures in Spokane have climbed over 100 degrees since 2015, said meteorologist Bryce Williams with the National Weather Service in Spokane. Residents should take extra precautions in the heat.

“It’s easy to get overheated if you’re working outside,” he said. “Make sure to take breaks to cool down.”

As temperatures climbed, Spokane residents looked to find relief any way they could.

Some filed into public libraries to escape the heat and lingering smoke, levels of which declined from “unhealthy” Wednesday to “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

“For our branch I’d say it’s kind of normal (attendance),” said Jordan Hilker, a manager at the Shadle branch. “We had a little increase yesterday because the pool was closed.”

One employee at the East Side branch said attendance hadn’t been much higher than usual, but a lot of residents in the area don’t have air conditioning and have made a habit of coming to the library to cool down.

Both smoke and heat are expected to continue through Friday, before cooling to the mid-80s Saturday. Forecasts are also predicting air quality to improve for the weekend as winds pick up, said Williams.

Until then, libraries can provide relief from both the heat and smoke during normal hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Splash pads are also available at many city parks from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Gillian Sayer, a manager at the South Hill branch, said residents are welcome to cool down, recharge electronics, watch movies or participate in one of the library’s many activities for adults and children.

“We’ll fill up water bottles,” she said, and drinks are welcome inside. “Just let us know if they spill.”