SPOKANE, Wash — Bloomsday weather can been full of extremes, as the first Sunday in May can offer up temperatures in the 90s as well as 20s. Thunderstorms, snow, rain, hail, graupel... it's all just as possible as a perfect mid- 60s degree day.
Last year was one of the warmest on record, with a high temperature of 79, just 2 degrees shy of the warmest bloomsdays which was the very first one in 1977 and again in 1980 where it was 81 degrees.
On the flip side, the coldest Bloomsdays are more memorable. In both '84 and '88, the 8 am starting temperature was 34 degrees, and both years saw snowfall before the race. 1-2 inches of snow accumulated before in 1984 race with a rain/snow mix continuing through the noon hour.
But the wildest Bloomsday weather belongs to 2002's race. Before 10 am, light rain, graupel, and hail began to precipitate with a second wave of the same around 1:00 to 1:30 pm. A thunderstorm with more hail occurred just after the race at 2 o'clock. With 4-tenths of an inch of hail/graupel mix falling along with a quarter inch of rain, this made for the most extreme weather Bloomsday has ever seen.
NEAR MISS -- two days after the 2002 race, the Inland Northwest experienced quite the snowstorm. Up to 19" of snow fell on May 7th, 2002 about 20 miles west of the Bloomsday course. Meanwhile, Spokane only got ½". It shows that early May weather can rank up with the worst of outcomes.