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Opinion >  Column

Weathercatch: Cool start, hot finish for July. Up next – a meteor shower

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 3, 2020

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

July began on a cool note and ended on a hot one. In the Inland Northwest, the month’s first two days were the coolest and its final two days were the hottest.

Here in Spokane, the temperature reached a meager 66 degrees on July 1 and 70 on July 2. Considering the average high is 79 for both dates, the temperatures we experienced ran well below normal.

Flash forward to July 30 and 31, when the thermometer hit 99 and 102, respectively. Unlike the beginning of the month, temperatures ran well above normal. The average high for those dates is 86 degrees.

Last Friday, was a scorcher.

Not only was it the year’s hottest day across the region, but Spokane’s 102-degree temperature was just a hair below the 103 record set for that date in 1929. Meanwhile, 130 miles away in Pasco, a high of 109 set a daily record. What’s more, the mercury soared to 107 in Omak, eclipsing the previous record of 105 established nearly a century ago. Lewiston-Clarkston hit 105, just 1 degree off its daily heat record of 106 set in 2015.

Ironically, topping the hottest day of 2020 was a cold front. The system moved in overnight, bringing a push of cooler air in time for the weekend. You know it’s been hot when temperatures dipping into the high 80s/low 90s are cherished as relief from heat.

Oh, and one more thing about July – it was very dry. On July 1, .05 of an inch of rain fell in Spokane and no precipitation has fallen since.

And what about August? The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting slightly above- average temperatures and continuing dry conditions. This means we should be hypervigilant about increased fire danger across the Inland Northwest.

If you’re feeling cooped up by the heat and COVID-19, an out-of-this-world experience awaits you next week. All you have to do is go outside when it’s dark, look up and be dazzled.

Though the Perseid meteor showers have been streaking across our skies since mid-July, they will peak Aug. 11, 12 and 13. The shooting stars will be most visible late at night and into the pre-dawn hours.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs each August, but cloud cover and light from the moon can interfere with the show. As of now, skies are expected to be clear and the temperatures warm, offering prime viewing conditions in our region.

Last summer, the Perseids were difficult to see because of an almost-full moon. With the moon 47% full this time around, the shower will have less moonlight to compete against. While the fainter meteors will get washed out, you can still expect plenty of bright streaks to zoom across our skies.

Get away from city lights, the American Meteor Society advises, and the more sky you can see, the better.

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