This summer’s average was the hottest on record for most of the Inland Northwest, with most communities seeing temperatures a few degrees higher than average.
The climate normal for a summer in the Spokane area is 67.8 degrees. The average temperature in Spokane this summer, a combination of both overnight lows and daytime highs, was 73.1, several degrees above the 30-year-average and beating the county’s 2015 record.
Omak, Winthrop and Bonners Ferry all also broke their average temperature records as well, with Omak’s average temperature of 76.1 breaking its 1926 summer record.
Joey Clevenger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said the record temperatures were caused by a couple of factors, including a heat dome over the Pacific Northwest and a lack of precipitation.
“We just got really hot for three or four days at a time, we also didn’t have any weather systems that brought a lot of moisture that we at least occasionally have over the summer time.”
This summer also saw several historic heat waves, which led to power outages, infrastructure issues and heat deaths across the state.
Kirsti Ebi, a researcher at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington, said climate research shows that summers like this will become more common.
“As we look to mid-century – yes the kind of summer’s we’ve been used to will be a very fond memory.”
She said heat related deaths are preventable, and noted there is still time to make communities more resilient against increasing hot summers.