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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: April fools with above-average rain in Spokane

Daffodils in bloom after and early-morning rain on  April 20 in Spokane. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Daffodils in bloom after and early-morning rain on April 20 in Spokane. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford Washington State University

Last year we enjoyed the warmest April since 1934, a Dust Bowl year. You may recall that, for 25 glorious days, temperatures ran above normal, putting temperatures in the Inland Northwest on par with those in southern California and Florida.

When the mercury surged to 85 degrees on April 20, Spokane broke an all-time record. People flocked to parks and rivers and dined outdoors.

This year, we weathered a cool, wet April that drove people indoors more than out. If April 20, 2016, was Miami-like, the same date in 2017 was more like Portland. Instead of 85, the high temperature was 56 and, of course, it rained.

Ah, yes, about the rain. On the heels of the second wettest March on record, this April was wetter than usual as well. Spokane International Airport recorded 14 days of measurable rainfall, compared to 5 days in last April. The month’s 1.6 inches that fell on the Lilac City is 0.32 of an inch above average.

Generally speaking, the month was also cool and breezy. The coldest it got was 29 degrees on April 3 and 11 – further proof that May is a better time to plant gardens. The first thunderstorm of the year hit the evening of April 18, when winds peaking at 41 mph were recorded. We got battered by wind again on the evening of April 26, when gusts of 35 mph were measured, along with more rain.

For the winter-weary and sun-starved, April was a taxing month. Fortunately, things are looking up. The first week of May is ushering in the warmest weather of the year, with a high near 80 degrees expected on Thursday.

And at long last, the daffodils have bloomed – a sure sign that summer can’t be far away.

Nic Loyd is a meteorologist with Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. Linda Weiford is a WSU news writer and weather geek. Contact: or

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