Stormy conditions rocked the Inland Northwest early Wednesday morning, bringing thunder and rain to Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle.
Over 650 lightning strikes were recorded in the region starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday, with 119 of those strikes occurring between 1 and 2 a.m. in Spokane County. Along with the lightning, the National Weather Service office near Airway Heights recorded 0.04 inches of rain.
“Overnight thunderstorms are not uncommon, and this is their time of year,” said meteorologist Greg Koch. “We’re fortunate there was rain to accompany all the lightning.”
High temperatures combined with moist conditions from an extension of southwestern thunderstorm patterns created storm cells that moved across the region at up to 50 mph, Koch said.
The unusual part about Wednesday’s storm was the hail recorded over many parts of the Palouse, according to Koch. The National Weather Service recorded hail that was ¾ inches in diameter, but Koch suspects the hail may have reached twice that size in some locations, based on radar images .
Avista and Kootenai Electric Co-Op both reported outages due to the storm. Power was restored to customers by Wednesday morning.
Koch said weather will be calmer in the coming days. Forecasts predict highs in the low to mid 90s and overnight lows in the low 60s for the rest of the week.
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