Spokane experienced one of its warmest summers on record, but a cold, snowy winter could be on tap in the Northwest.
A third straight La Niña winter, which typically brings colder and wetter conditions than normal, may descend upon the region late this fall and winter.
The weather shift would be extreme because Spokane recorded its seventh-hottest “meteorological summer” and hottest August since 1881, according to Steven Van Horn, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Spokane.
Van Horn said this year’s meteorological summer, or June 1 to Aug. 31, measured an average temperature of 70.8 degrees, 2.9 degrees above the normal average summer temperature of 67.9. August’s temperature averaged 76 degrees this year – 5.7 degrees above the month’s normal average temperature.
Last year was the hottest summer on record, Van Horn said.
The scorching temperatures continued in September, which was the third-warmest September in Spokane history. Van Horn said the average temperature was 65.5 degrees and the record was 67.8 in 1938.
The average high temperature last month was 78.2 degrees, which was good enough for the 13th-hottest September in Spokane for highs. The record was 82.7 degrees in 1938.
Spokane broke more heat records last week.
The 90-degree high Sept. 27 was the furthest into the calendar year the temperature reached 90 or higher. Before then, the furthest into the year the temperature reached 90 was Sept. 25, 1952, when it was 93, according to Miranda Cote, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Spokane.
Cote said last week the 90-degree high Sept. 27 also broke the 1963 record for that day, which was 87 degrees. The normal high temperature on Sept. 27 in Spokane is 69 degrees.
Van Horn said the hot September temperatures were the result of a persistent high pressure ridge blocking most weather systems coming from the Pacific Ocean. A high pressure ridge typically leads to warm and dry days.
Still, September was slightly drier than average, thanks in part to 0.46 inches of rain falling Sept. 29. An average of 0.58 inches falls in September, and Spokane topped out at 0.53 inches last month, Van Horn said.
“We haven’t had the season-ending sort of fall weather that we can get in September into early October yet,” Van Horn said. “I mean, we’ll get it eventually.”
Van Horn said forecasters are calling for a 40 to 60% chance of above-normal temperatures for October. He said there are equal chances the area will see below or above-normal precipitation. He said it’s difficult to say when the effects of La Niña could strike.
High temperatures will continue to reach the upper 70s, with lows in the high 40s this week and weekend, according to the weather service. High temperatures are expected to drop to 59 Tuesday and 62 Wednesday.
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