Highs in Spokane reached a record-breaking 102 degrees on Friday as the heat wave hit what the National Weather Service predicts will be its peak. The peak, however, might be more of a plateau: Saturday and Sunday are forecast for 101 and 102 degrees, respectfully.
Friday’s 102-degree temperature is the hottest recorded for July 29, breaking the 2014 record of 100 degrees.
According to weather service meteorologist Jeremy Wolf, the ridge of high pressure over the region is expected to move east with the arrival of two weather systems from the west at the start of next week, bringing the scorching weekend to an end.
On Monday, high temperatures are forecast to drop below the triple digits, with highs in the mid-90s, while the mid-week will see temperatures in the 80s.
The cooling pattern should bring relief to the whole region, Wolf said.
Due to high temperatures, Food Truck Friday, Sunday’s Art Mart and carriage rides in Riverfront Park were canceled, the Downtown Spokane Partnership wrote in a tweet.
In spite of the heat, however, the Spokane Shakespeare Society continues to perform “Romeo and Juliet” under the U.S. Pavilion in Riverfront Park.
Thursday’s show was attended by more than 50 Shakespeare enthusiasts, who bore the nearly triple-digit heat to partake in the classic tragedy.
On Friday, audience members came prepared with cool drinks, umbrellas, hats, fans and even spray bottles, determined to enjoy the play.
“We were making a commitment to the arts and humanities when we came out,” said Deborah Sinclair, who anticipated temperatures above 100 degrees. “We weathered the persecution of the elements. For the art!”
Thankfully for the theater enthusiasts, the Lilac Bowl, where the play was held , proved about as cool a venue as one could find. The tall trees stretched a shadow over the bowl, and a sprinkler blanketed the grass with cold water. There was even a breeze blowing off the river and over the stage.
“It’s really quite pleasant here on the grass,” said play-goer Dianne Cook.
“Spokane in the summer … the evenings are always nice,” said another, Eve Luppert.
But even if the conditions hadn’t been ideal, some said it would have been worth the heat to support the show. “You’ve got to support local art,” Pam Ridlington said from her camp chair, equipped with drinks, as she waited for the show to begin.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.