Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Aug. 4, 2021

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Storm brought 250 lightning strikes to Inland Northwest


SPOKANE — Officials were keeping an eye out for lightning fires Wednesday after some 250 strikes in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Lightning struck 29 times in Spokane County and 250 times in Eastern Washington and North Idaho as of around 7 a.m., said Jeremy Wolf, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Spokane. The city also got its first measurable rain in more than a month Wednesday morning.

As of Wednesday evening, the lightning did not cause any new fires the weather service was aware of, said meteorologist Andy Brown.

“But that can take a couple of days sometimes, so we’re still watching that closely,” Brown said.

The Spokane International Airport received 0.12 inches of rain through about 7:15 a.m., Wolf said. Fairchild Air Force Base measured 0.15; Felts Field within the city of Spokane measured .04 inches. Only a trace was recorded in Coeur d’Alene. The previous time rain was measured in Spokane was June 15.

Smoke will also be closely monitored, Brown said. Fires burning in the North Cascades and in Stevens County were expected to push the smoke toward the Spokane area late Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Fire danger is high as a result of lightning and drought conditions, with most of the Inland Northwest receiving little or no rain in the storm.

“It can just smolder and go undetected,” Wolfe said. “When it’s warmer and dryer out, that’s when a smoke plume presents itself.”

The high Wednesday in Spokane landed on 80 degrees, which Brown said is attributed to the cold front in the area. The normal high for the day is 85 degrees.

Thursday, with some areas of smoke and haze, will see temperatures in the low to mid-80s.

“It kind of points to how strong that cool front that came in was,” he said.

The forecast shows temperatures reaching back into 90s on Saturday.