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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: The heat is on, and not just for a few days

By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

It took a while for the heat to anchor itself over our region. After several brief stints of warm temperatures in June and part of July, our first streak of toasty weather has finally set in.

Considering that more hot weather is being forecast for this weekend and beyond, it’s safe to say that the first extended heat spell of 2020 is upon us.

Temperatures began building in earnest on July 16 when Spokane reached its first 90-degree day of summer – just five days short of the July 21 record for the latest date to hit 90 degrees.

When the weekend arrived, it was a good time to be near water or indulging in ice cream.

As luck would have it, National Ice Cream Day was Sunday. That day, Spokane nudged toward 90.

About 150 miles to the southwest, Benton City reached a high of 99.

Although hot enough to make most of us wilt, hotter weather was still to come.

During the first two days of the workweek, high temperatures climbed into the mid-90s in Spokane, Moscow-Pullman and Ellensburg. Meanwhile, Benton City, the Tri-Cities and Lewiston-Clarkston soared into the triple digits.

Temperatures dipped a few notches by Wednesday of this week, but more intense heat is expected to return in a few days.

A giant ridge of high pressure parked over the Western U.S., along with a largely stagnant jet stream – a river of moving air aloft that would otherwise push the heat along – are responsible for this persistent hot spell.

Fortunately, nighttime temperatures have provided some relief, with lows dipping to a comfortable range of 55-65 in the Spokane area.

Even though our heat wave arrived late in the season, it’s interesting to note that temperatures are still well above the mid-70s we experienced the same time last year.

While we ran below normal for that period, we are now running mostly above normal.

Not only is the heat expected to increase next week, but the Inland Northwest and most of the country are likely to be hotter than normal through the remainder of July, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

Perhaps it’s time to buy more ice cream.

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