Smoke, heat and wind are expected to continue Thursday as weather officials in Spokane warned of excessive fire risk amid wildfires in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, though the area is expected to cool slightly for a few days.
The National Weather Service in Spokane issued a heat advisory until 8 p.m. Wednesday, with Spokane topping out at 97 degrees .
While the temperature is expected to be about 10 degrees cooler Thursday through Saturday, the service also placed Spokane, the Palouse and the Washington Columbia Basin under a red flag warning until 11 p.m. Thursday for wind and low relative humidity, both of which contribute to fire risk.
Temperatures are then expected to creep closer to the triple digits again.
The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency said Wednesday evening that wildfire smoke had made the air unhealthy for sensitive groups after the air quality index reached 115 as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the agency, southwest winds would likely push some wildfire smoke out of the area and leave Thursday with moderate air quality, though the agency said it was unclear if the air quality would improve much.
While Spokane was hot, other cities in the area broke records Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. Republic reported a record for the day at 98 degrees, while Bonners Ferry broke the July 14 record with a high of 99 degrees.
Spokane has broken some of its own records in the recent heat and dryness. It has had the driest, and second-hottest calendar period from Feb.1 through July 10 since record-keeping in the area began in 1881.
It also has been the hottest June 1 to July 13 for the city, beating the previous high average temperature for the period that was set in 2015.
The average temperature is 9.5 degrees hotter than normal.
Spokane also broke its all-time high temperature late last month with 109 degrees.
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