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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Thunderstorm drenches parts of the Spokane area Friday evening

Storm clouds stalk downtown Spokane and a slick Sprague Avenue, Friday, May 6, 2022.  (Alayna Shulman/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The Spokane area got soaked Friday evening as a thunderstorm rolled through the area.

Steven Van Horn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said 0.79 inches of rain fell within an hour at Felts Field, one of the sites the weather service monitors. By comparison, the average precipitation for the entire month of April in Spokane is 1.12 inches, Van Horn said.

“That’s a high amount, especially within an hour,” he said. “The thunderstorms themselves have just been very wet that we’ve been getting through the evening.”

Those thunderstorms are known for producing localized downpours, he said, so other areas would have had less rainfall.

“Those kind of amounts aren’t going to be widespread,” Van Horn said.

Because that sudden, heavy rain can lead to flooding on roadways, the weather service issued a flood advisory until 9:30 p.m. Friday, when puddles were expected to have dispersed.

A funnel cloud was spotted overhead during a rained-out Indians game that was later canceled .

Meanwhile, Spokane County recorded 63 lightning strikes in about an hour, mostly from around 6 to 7 p.m., Van Horn said.

The drenching follows an abnormally cool April, Van Horn said – the seventh coldest in Spokane since 1881, when forecasters began keeping records here.

The average temperature for the month was 42.1 degrees, he said.

Rain and cooler temperatures are expected to linger for a week , Van Horn said, after which conditions might become more balmy.

Still, there’s a 40 to 50% chance of the rest of May being cooler than average, while summer could be hotter than normal, Van Horn said, citing long-term weather outlooks.

While Friday’s soaking will help a little, Van Horn said, more precipitation is needed to offset the region’s ongoing drought. Most of Spokane County is in “moderate” drought, per the National Integrated Drought Information System, while a sliver is in the less severe “abnormally dry” category.

“This isn’t going to be enough to really make a big dent in our drought outlook,” he said. “We need to continue to see … a lot of precipitation.”