Rain is coming to the Inland Northwest, and this time there’s no chance of Spokane missing out.
The Spokane National Weather Service Office forecasts a 90% chance of rain on Saturday and a 70% chance of rain on Sunday in Spokane. Steven Van Horn, a forecaster at National Weather Service Spokane, said a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain is expected to fall by the end of the weekend.
Van Horn said around 80% of that rain will fall early Saturday morning, with lighter rain scattered throughout the rest of the weekend.
The forecast signals the first fall-like precipitation event of the year. Instead of the area’s here-and-there storms of the summer (many of which avoided Spokane), this front will blanket all of Washington and North Idaho.
The Idaho Panhandle will get a bit more rain, with the weather service predicting around an inch of rain in most areas. In Washington, areas near the Cascades could get up to 2 inches.
Areas with burn scars from wildfires near the Cascades, like the Methow Valley, are under flash flood warnings from the weather service. Recently burned land can have a hard time absorbing rainfall, which can create flooding.
Whether this front’s precipitation reaches the high or low end of expected rainfall, it will likely still put out more rain than Spokane received in all of July and August combined, Van Horn said.
With Spokane narrowly missing a few showers this summer, this weekend’s rain certainty will be welcome in what has been a historically dry year.
The latest iteration of the U.S. drought monitor still has over 30% of Eastern Washington under “exceptional drought,” the most extreme category.
The monitor showed slight improvement, around 6% less exceptional drought area, from last week, but most of Eastern Washington is still under exceptional drought.
Van Horn said the Spokane office’s drought outlook predicts more improvement in the coming weeks, but it will likely take an entire winter of above average rain to pull Spokane and Eastern Washington fully out of this historic drought.
S-R reporter Garrett Cabeza contributed to this article.