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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Section of U.S. 195 splits as Spokane sees record heat

Construction worker Brandon Howell wipes the sweat from his brow while working to lay telephone cable Monday on Swenson-Williams Valley Road in Nine Mile Falls. (Tyler Tjomsland)

The heat wave shattering temperature records across Eastern Washington was so intense that it caused a stretch of U.S. Highway 195 to rupture Monday, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Officers first thought a gas line broke and caused the highway to buckle. Then came word that temperatures that hit at least 96 degrees in Spokane baked the pavement until it split a section of the highway a few miles south of the city.

According to the National Weather Service, the heat pushed into triple digits in several towns, including 102 in Wenatchee and Ephrata, 101 in Moses Lake and 100 in Lewiston.

People who could, stayed inside, or fled to the water. Others worked in the sun and tried to cool off. Joel Driscoll, a student at Moody Bible Institute’s aviation school, had the day off and headed to a rope swing on East Upriver Drive.

“Ah, dude, the water is so nice,” Driscoll said.

Others had to work in the heat. Steve Heller, a project manager for Spokane Cable and Ditch, was burying cable at noon on Swenson-Williams Valley Road off state Route 291.

“Naturally, the weather couldn’t have stayed the way it was a week ago,” he said. “But it’s what it is.”

Brandon Howell, a laborer for Spokane Cable and Ditch, said he was drinking a lot of water and staying in the shade when possible.

“No way to stay cool, that’s for sure,” Howell said.

Kirk Pich, the owner of XL Landscape, recommended water – both to drink and for soaking. “Gotta soak your brain sometimes,” he said.

The Spokane heat broke a 1931 record of 91 degrees.

“It’s going to at least continue for the next couple of days,” said John Livingston, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It looks like it will moderate, with no precipitation but some cooler air moving in.”

Livingston said overexertion is a danger in this weather, and warned of heatstroke.

A small brush fire south of Spokane Valley signaled the dangers that may unfold this summer as drought grips the region.