National Weather Service, Spokane

Much-needed rain is a welcome sight on forecast maps this weekend. It will help quench wildfires and pare back a region-wide drought. But the National Weather Service says it is unlikely a rainfall deficit will be closed by year’s end.

Spokane Sets Average Heat Record

Jul 29, 2021
Courtesy of National Weather Service

Weather forecasters say Inland Northwest temperatures will be back in triple digits as we head into the weekend.

From June 1-July 26, Spokane recorded its highest-ever average temperature, 73.7 degrees.

National Weather Service Spokane

Temperatures in the Inland Northwest are still hotter than normal, and this week the region will also be more prone to fire danger and smoky air due to drought and wind.

Spokane Must Now Open Cooling Centers at 95 Degrees

Jul 13, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Cooling Centers opened in Spokane Public Libraries and at the Looff Carousel today and will be open until the temperature drops below 95 degrees.

The cooling centers re-opened after the Spokane City Council updated an ordinance outlining when the city needs to provide shelter – during heat, winter and smoke events.

Councilwoman Lori Kinnear called on the mayor’s administration to plan ahead for those events, which are likely to become more common due to the worsening climate crisis.

Jacob Frank/National Park Service

Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to wildfires.

According to a press release, Inslee’s proclamation bans most outdoor and agricultural burning until the end of September.

Eleven Deaths in Spokane Area Linked to Record Heat

Jul 1, 2021
Courtesy of National Weather Service

In the aftermath of the record-breaking heat wave, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s office has linked 11 deaths to the hazardous conditions.

The medical examiner has not yet completed autopsies on many of those death to confirm the cause.

Courtesy of Spokane County

The record-breaking heat hitting the northwest is damaging infrastructure, including roads in the greater Spokane region.

At least one unincorporated Spokane County road has been closed due to damage caused by the heat. Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, the information and outreach coordinator for Spokane County Public Works, said the heat makes the road more susceptible to damage.

“When you’ve got a road surface that’s softening because of the heat, those tires are going to chew up the road surface. It’s not unlike studded tires chewing up asphalt.”

Spokane Transit Offering Free Rides to Cooling Centers

Jun 29, 2021

Spokane Transit says it’s working with Avista to make free bus rides available to people who want to find a cooling center to get out of the heat.

The agency says it will provide door-to-door transportation, to and from the centers. People who want a ride must call 509-328-1552 at least two hours in advance. They must wear a mask on all transit vehicles.

The service is available immediately and will continue through Friday.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

As temperatures approach record levels, the city of Spokane will open the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park as well as public libraries to those with no other option to escape the heat.

Courtesy of National Park Service

The wildfire season is off to an early start in the Inland Northwest. Over the weekend, local fire agencies responded to several small grass and timber fires.

Small Funnel Cloud Spotted Near Pullman

May 18, 2020
Twitter/National Weather Service

The National Weather Service in Spokane says weather watchers spotted a funnel cloud near the Pullman-Moscow area this afternoon.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Lodian

A summer thunderstorm is expected to roll through the region tonight and tomorrow morning, though not a storm of the intensity that lit up the area last week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Carter says storms moving north from central Oregon should enter eastern Washington around midnight, bringing some lightning.

Warmer Weather Starts, Moderates Snow Melt

Mar 18, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Weather forecasters say the conditions are right for an orderly snowmelt in the Inland Northwest, both in the urban areas and up in the mountains.

National Weather Service forecaster Greg Koch says the prediction is for dry weather this week and temperatures in the 50s, even 60s, in the lower elevations.

“We need to lose that low elevation snowpack here in the next couple of weeks so we can make room in our rivers and streams for the snow that’s going to come off the mountains in April, May and into early June," Koch said.

Snoqualmie Pass To Remain Closed On Wednesday

Feb 11, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Updated: 4:30 pm Wednesday

NEW: The Washington Department of Transportation has reopened the eastbound stretch of Interstate 90 between North Bend and Ellensburg that includes Snoqualmie Pass. Traffic is limited to 35 miles per hour, due in part to avalanche danger. Westbound will remain closed again tonight and be reassessed on Thursday.

Weather forecasters say the region will see its next round of wintry precipitation on Thursday afternoon.

Snow Possible In The Inland Northwest Again On Tuesday

Dec 10, 2018
National Weather Service

Weather forecasters say another round of precipitation will hit the Inland Northwest as early as tomorrow.

“Tomorrow is a tricky forecast. We’re going to see a lot of different things evolve in eastern Washington," said Greg Koch, a meterologist at the National Weather Service office in Spokane.

National Weather Service

Weather forecasters in Spokane today [Monday] issued what they call a “Happy, Good News Briefing.” National Weather Service forecaster Greg Koch says it has some welcome elements: cooler temperatures, the possibility of rain and better air quality this week.

Wintry Weather Mix Could Lead to Flooding in the Palouse

Dec 29, 2017
Chris Bishop/Blanchard, ID

Weather forecasters say the mix of precipitation around the Inland Northwest is making getting around tricky. It may also lead to flooding in parts of southeastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Weather System Dumps Snow In Some Areas, Spares Others

Dec 28, 2017
Sue Lani Madsen

So what happened to the heavy snow weather forecasters have been expecting?

Weather Inversion Expected This Week in Spokane Area

Dec 4, 2017
Washington State University

The National Weather Service is forecasting a cold, dry week for much of the Inland Northwest.

Meteorologist Bryce Williams says high pressure is moving in from the Pacific and is expected to sit right over the top of the region for several days. That means sunshine during the day and cooler temperatures at night.

Snow Stops, But Cold Temperatures Linger

Nov 6, 2017

The National Weather Service warns of icy driving conditions during the Monday morning commute, though snow has stopped falling over most of the region. The Idaho Panhandle may continue to see a few flakes today.

Monday and Tuesday should be drier with warmer conditions coming to the region by Wednesday. More precipitation is expected to fall Wednesday or Thursday with rain likely by the latter part of the week.

While this looks like a normal winter for snowfall in the Spokane area, that’s not the case for area mountains.

At the end of 2016, Spokane had received 22.3 inches of snow at the airport, just a bit more than average. But you may be surprised to learn that at Mt. Spokane and nearby mountains the snowpack is actually below normal.

2016 was wetter in Spokane than last year. Meteorologists think this winter is on track to being a bit snowier as well.


Spokane has received 18.3 inches of precipitation so far this year, about two inches more than average. Meteorologist Matt Fugazzi of the National Weather Service says the year was actually drier than normal until October, the wettest month on record, when Spokane received more than six inches of rain.

Climate Change Spurs Talk of Fish Restoration

Jun 11, 2015

Restoring historical salmon runs above two big dams on the upper Columbia River has long been a dream for Indian tribes and conservationists. But there are some new hints the dream MIGHT become reality.

Predictions Hot For Summer in Northwest

Mar 30, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

After the winter-that-wasn't, what can Inland Northwest residents expect for the summer? University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass isn't willing to make an unqualified prediction, but says "I believe the probability of a warm summer is quite high."

The National Weather Service in Spokane is offering a couple of likely scenarios to last weeks “milky rain” that fell in the region. The cloudy rain was reported in a large area last Friday, from Spokane to the Tri-Cities. Motorists reported rain left their cars and windshields with a splotchy mess. Now the Spokane Weather Service is offering some possible explanations.

Winter? What Winter?

Jan 27, 2015

While winter threatened to wallop the northeastern US with a snowy haymaker Monday, folks in the Inland Northwest were thinking of shorts and t-shirts because of record balmy temperatures. On the usually snow-shrouded slopes of Mount Rainier early Monday morning, thermometers recorded 60 degrees 5,500 feet up at the Paradise Ranger station.

You probably have made the educated guess that this was a dryer than normal winter in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene region. A weather official says that notion would be correct, though it's not the worst season on record.

Scott Pattee is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which monitors snowpack and other environmental factors.

El Nino Awakening After Long Hiatus

May 23, 2014

Members of an obscure state agency - the Water Supply Availability Committee - thought their work was done last week after hearing about a late winter onslaught of snow, meaning normal snowpacks and good spring runoff. 

But wait a minute there. They reckoned without a revived El Nino.