Hot, hazy and historic: Saturday’s unfortunate weather in Spokane tied the record for 100-degree days in a single year.
Spokane hit a sweltering 103 degrees, the sixth time in 2021 that a day has reached the triple-digit mark.
The year 1928 was the last and only time since records have been kept that Spokane had six days of 100 degrees or higher, according to National Weather Service Office in Spokane.
And after rolling blackouts struck the Spokane area during the record heat dome event this summer, Avista reported more outages late Saturday.
On Avista’s outage map, a loss of power from West Boone Avenue to West Cataldo Avenue near Riverfront Park was reported at 9 p.m. Saturday and was still active an hour later. Avista expected to get power back up for the area by around 1 a.m Sunday, according to the outage map.
The outage affected around 150 customers and many more people at the Spokane Shock game, with the Spokane Arena going dark for a short period because of the outage near Riverfront Park.
A few other small outages were reported in North Spokane, with each affecting around 10 residents.
Avista said on Twitter that outages were also reported in Coeur d’Alene and Hayden Lake. They were assessing the situation Saturday night.
The Garland Theater also had some bad power luck on Saturday night, with their power lines getting so hot they caught on fire, according to the Garland Theater Facebook page.
They closed for the night and said Avista was on the way to make repairs on Saturday night.
The intense heat came with air quality nosediving in the morning with smoke from wildfires burning all around the country arriving in full force due to a wind shift.
The smoke brought the dreaded orange tinge to Spokane and sent air quality levels well into the unhealthy range for the surrounding area.
The air quality index at around noon was 165, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.
The air quality index goes from 1-500, with “unhealthy” air quality from 151-200.
According to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, the air quality reading means everyone may begin to experience health impacts, and members of sensitive groups may have more serious side effects.
Storms potentially arriving to Eastern Washington Saturday night and Sunday shifted winds to start blowing southeast, bringing in smoke from wildfires in Canada, northeast Washington and North Idaho.
Because of the unhealthy air quality, Spokane’s public pools closed for the day, according to Spokane Parks and Recreation.
Despite the closures and extreme heat, many Spokane residents weren’t going to let the weather spoil their Saturday.
In South Hill, the Friends of Manito put on the first arts festival celebrating young local artists and vendors in Manito Park.
Kelly Brown, president of the Friends of Manito, said she was worried about attendance because of the weather but was quickly relieved by a crowd of determined patrons.
“We would show up if it was raining,” said Patrick Nevers, who enjoyed the festival with his girlfriend. “We always love to see new events in the community.”
Elsewhere, the splash pad in Franklin Park was overrun with kids and their families looking for a backup plan after pools were closed earlier in the day.
“This is the hottest summer I’ve seen since I arrived in 1987,” said Brian Barnard, who was at a family birthday party at the splash pad. Barnard said it was so hot he could jump in the pad with the kids.
Temperatures should cool down a bit Sunday with a high near 92 degrees, according to NWS Spokane.
Smoke, on the other hand, could linger.
Ron Miller, a meteorologist at NWS Spokane, said the winds will continue to blow in smoke until there’s another shift, which isn’t projected for at least the next couple of days.
There may be some salvation, however, for both smoke and the extreme dryness the area is experiencing.
“Water droplets can absorb smoke and dust particle in the atmosphere and improve air quality,” Miller said.
NWS Spokane predicts Spokane has a 20% chance of rain Saturday night and a 30% chance of rain Sunday.
But the Idaho Panhandle, plus Okanogan and Chelan counties, may get a whole lot of rain at once, with NWS Spokane putting the areas under a flash food warning starting Sunday.
There is potential for torrential downpours in the areas, which could produce flooding and mudslides especially because the ground is so dry, according to NWS Spokane.
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