A major mood swing defined the start of June after a sunlit, early season heatwave quickly turned chilly, cloudy and windy. Some moisture-starved locations even got a brief burst of rain.
Let’s start with June 1. The high temperature in Spokane climbed to 90 degrees with the overnight low at 60. On June 2, the temperatures climbed even more, with a high of 94 degrees and a low of 64. To get an idea of how much hotter it was than usual for that time period, last year Spokane experienced normal temperature on those dates: a high of 68 and low of 48 on June 1 and a high of 71 and low of 48 on June 2. That’s a high-temperature difference of more than 20 degrees.
So yes, it got unusually hot last week and Spokane had loads of company. On June 2, heat advisories were issued in Central and Eastern Washington and records tumbled in a number of locations, including Spokane when its high temperature of 94 degrees broke the 84-year-old record of 92. Also that day, Moses Lake and Lewiston-Clarkston reached a high of 101. Conditions on June 3 were hot, dry and relatively tranquil as well.
But on Friday a big change arrived. An air mass off the cold Pacific Ocean combined with a cool trough of low pressure to usher in a new weather pattern that sent temperatures into a nosedive and produced windy conditions.
Those winds, along with the preceding three days of abnormal heat and a long period of no rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning, citing “critical conditions” for potential wildfires. Sapped of moisture, dry vegetation was ripe to burn quickly if ignited and then spread by the wind. In addition, burn restrictions were issued in Spokane County.
On Saturday, the high temperature reached 71 degrees in Spokane – normal for that date but 23 degrees cooler than just two days before – and winds gusted up to 46 mph. That same day, an AgweatherNet station near Pomeroy registered a wind gust as high as 57 mph.
By the time winds died down Sunday, a raw chill and thick cloud cover made it seem more like March or April. The day’s high temperature reached only 56 – nearly 10 degrees cooler than the low temperature three days earlier. From another perspective, the daily mean temperature went from roughly 20 degrees above normal on June 3 to 13 degrees below normal on Sunday. This is a remarkable temperature drop in three days.
So what’s next? A high pressure system sliding across our region has been pushing temperatures back up to normal and scouring many of the clouds away. As the weekend approaches, we’re entering a pleasant stretch of early summerlike weather. Not too hot but not too cool and breezes instead of wind gusts.
More heat might be in store next week. Stay tuned.
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