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

Cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend forecast after warm Thursday

Rain drops splatter in a puddle in downtown Spokane. The Memorial Day weekend forecast calls for cool rainy weather.  (DAN PELLE)

The holiday weekend that often marks the eve of summer is forecast to be cold and rainy after a record-breaking cold spring, meteorologists at the National Weather Service Spokane expect.

It has been a colder-than-normal spring, with temperatures stuck below 70 degrees, said Meteorologist Greg Koch.

It has yet to reach 70 degrees, breaking a 126-year-old record for the longest start of the year without hitting the temperature indicative of summer. The prior record was May 21.

The cool streak is likely to end Thursday with highs above 70 in the forecast, Koch said. And then the temperatures will sink as southerly winds bring a cold front and thunderstorms to the Palouse, Lewis Clark Valley and central Idaho Panhandle.

Thunderstorms with hail, brief heavy downpours and the potential for wind gusts up to 50 mph are forecast for early and mid-evening Thursday, Koch said.

While the storms are expected to hit south of Spokane, the cold front will drop temperatures to the mid-60s, he said. There’s also a 50% chance of rain Thursday night into Friday, he said.

“The most notable thing that we’ll have next Friday will be a return of gusty west or southwest winds,” Koch said.

Spokane area residents can expect sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph Friday with gusts up to 35 mph in open areas like the West Plains, Koch said.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the weather in the Spokane area won’t be ideal for outdoor pursuits, with temperatures in the 50s, he said.

“Folks that have plans to go camping could experience some showers, depending on where they go,” Koch said.

Sunday will likely be the coolest and wettest day of the weekend with temperatures forecast in the 50s or below.

“If you’re under a stubborn rain band for most of the day, it may struggle to hit 50,” Koch said. It’s “kind of a throwback to what our Memorial Day weekends used to be like: kind of cool, showery, and not quite the beginning of summer weather.”

The rain is good news for Washington’s long-term drought and the impending wildfire season, Koch said.

“The precipitation has been good for our farmers that desperately needed precipitation going into the spring,” Koch said. “As we know, the wildfire season is largely dictated by how hot we get and how dry we are and how much lightning we receive in the summer.”