Summer to be hot, but not as hot as last year

By Nic Loyd, WSU meteorologist, and Linda Weiford, WSU News

weathercatch(2) (2)SPOKANE, Wash. – There’s a saying around the Pacific Northwest that summer doesn’t really start until after the Fourth of July.

Having just emerged from a snippet of record-breaking heat in early June, this doesn’t seem to ring true, does it? Nor did it ring true last summer when, by the end of June, two major heatwaves had already descended upon us.

Speaking of summer 2015, many Washingtonians may be wondering if this summer is going to be like it. Remember the seemingly relentless heat, the governor’s drought emergency and the largest number of wildfires in the state’s history?

While the forecast for summer 2016 calls for above-average heat, the good news is that it shouldn’t be as extreme as last year. After all, a cooling spell with rain showers is just a day or so away. The remarkable 96-degree-high we experienced Monday in Spokane? By Saturday it will have tapered off to 65. That’s a big temperature drop.

Which isn’t to say you won’t want to keep a box fan handy or a half-gallon of ice cream stored in your freezer. According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, above-average warmth will dominate much of the U.S. this summer. The hottest temperatures, compared to summertime averages, will extend from Alaska down the West Coast and into parts of the Southwest.

Though the “monster ridge” of high pressure parked over the West Coast was a big driver of last summer’s scorcher, that’s not the case this year as it weakens. However, we will feel its lingering effects.

Numerous days in the triple digits helped make 2015 the hottest year in Washington’s recorded history, a record that probably won’t be broken in 2016 thanks to the dissipating monster ridge and a changing global atmospheric circulation pattern.

Even so, generally speaking, June to August will be untypically warm. So the next time someone tells you that summer doesn’t begin until after July 4th, you might point out that summery weather came on strong early in June for two years in a row. In fact, the thermometer hit 96 on June 8 of last year and on June 6 this year. That’s 25 degrees above normal.

Then politely ask for a bowl of ice cream.


Weathercatch is a bimonthly column that appears in The Spokesman Review. Contact: