Heavy smoke from wildfires drifted into Spokane on Tuesday afternoon after a cloudy day and cooler temperatures.
After a week of hot weather, forecasters at the National Weather Service said the cold front that moved in should keep high temperatures in 70s and 80s this week. Temperatures in Spokane dropped 23 degrees during one 24-hour span since Monday, the most significant drop in the state of Washington, according to forecasters.
But the windy conditions returned smoke to the city. On Monday evening, the Air Quality Index was worsening. By 6:50 p.m., the AQI was 189, or unhealthy, though it had slightly improved to 169 by 8:50 p.m.
Mark Turner, observing program leader at the National Weather Service, predicted thunder and lightning on Tuesday night and early Wednesday through Lincoln, Spokane, Stevens and Bonner counties.
Turner added that he expects “constant lightning flashing,” with 40 to 50 strikes per hour during each storm.
Lisa Woodward, Spokane Clean Air agency spokeswoman, said that with the severe drought conditions in Spokane , any lightning strikes increase fire danger.
Woodward added that winds originally predicted to take smoke from the Ford-Corkscrew Fire in Stevens County to the southwest and past Spokane shifted and were expected to bring an influx of smoke into the Spokane area.