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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weathercatch: Could we see another off-the-charts hot June?

UPDATED: Thu., June 2, 2022

Wearing her sun hat, then-8-month-old Ellie Machado visits the Davenport Fountain in Manito Park’s Duncan Garden with her parents David and Christine on July 30 in Spokane.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Wearing her sun hat, then-8-month-old Ellie Machado visits the Davenport Fountain in Manito Park’s Duncan Garden with her parents David and Christine on July 30 in Spokane. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Nic Loyd and Linda Weiford For The Spokesman-Review

Hello, June. It’s hard to imagine you turning into the type of June we had last year. After all, it produced the highest temperatures ever recorded in the Inland Northwest, Washington state and the United States, for that matter.

That said, let’s take a look at Spokane’s weather one year ago. Not surprisingly, the month began on the toasty side. On June 1, 2021, the high temperature soared to 90 degrees with an overnight low of 60. On June 2 the mercury climbed even more, with the high reaching 94 degrees and the low, 64. The normal high for those two dates is 72 degrees and the low is 48.

After coming off a very dry spring, on June 3 the U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded the Spokane area to the “severe drought” category and most of Washington state in the “moderate” level.

June’s first few days were a mere taste of what was to come.

Then, 2½ weeks later, a major heat wave consumed the West, followed by a second, historic one at the end of the month when temperatures spiked to unheard-of levels across the Pacific Northwest.

“Astounding heat obliterates all-time records across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote on its website. On June 28, Seattle set an all-time record high of 108 degrees. On June 29, Spokane experienced its hottest day on record when the thermometer registered 109 degrees, beating the previous all-time high of 108 degrees on Aug. 4, 1961. Also that day, Hanford, located northwest of the Tri-Cities, hit a staggering 120 degrees – the hottest recorded temperature in Washington state history.

Between June 25 and June 30, about 175 record highs were set in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California. The widespread scorching heat helped push June 2021 to the hottest June on record in the U.S., NOAA declared.

Meanwhile, it was the second-hottest June recorded in Washington and Spokane. Why not the No. 1?

The stint of hot weather on June 1-3 was followed by a nosedive in temperatures caused by a cold air mass combined with a cool trough of low pressure. Even with two big heat waves, the temporary cooling spell was enough to lower June’s heat overall.

A year later, we’re entering a June that’s unlikely to unfold anything like 2021 . Why? First, we’re coming off a relatively cool, wet spring. Also, we’re in the midst of a lingering La Niña climate pattern, which tends to produce cooler and wetter June weather in the Pacific Northwest. Finally, while large swaths of the region remain in some level of drought, generous spring rains and late-season snowfalls have left us in better shape than in early June of 2021 .

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