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Breaking down the 2023 summer forecast outlook for Spokane and the Inland Northwest

In addition to the above average temperatures, we are also favoring a drier than average season even more than what is normal for our region.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Wildfires and smoke are synonymous with summer in the Inland Northwest just as much as hot and dry weather is. Up With KREM’s meteorologist, Thomas Patrick dove into more in detail about the Inland Northwest’s summer and smoke outlook for the upcoming season.

Usually, the first place we look for summer and smoke outlook details is an El Nino, which is expected to arrive this year by July and strengthen through the rest of 2023. El Nino's tends to bring warmer than average conditions, however. it is more of a wintertime influencer than summertime influencer. Nonetheless, the warmer than average conditions are likely to persist for the next three to four months.

That all being said, the summer outlook breaks down like this for the Inland Northwest. In addition to the above average temperatures, we are also favoring a drier than average season even more than what is normal for our region.

As for the smoke and the air quality parts of the summer forecasts, we tend to get three to seven days of unhealthy air quality each summer. At least we have five of the past six summers, but it depends on where the wildfires are burning and what direction the wind is coming from. We have to look at the regional wide wildfire outlook to get a better clue into that.

The Southwest United States and California are expecting below average wildfire conditions thanks to the historic snowpack they had during winter. Meanwhile, Canada is going to get an above average wildfire season. There are already several wildfires burning out of control in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan. Those fires have already caused smoky and hazy skies across the Northwest because the winds have been generally out of the Northwest. Those smoky skies can be seen on the visible satellite imagery as we saw last week, and that results in drops in air quality. That is something we will be tracking throughout summer but it all depends on where those fires are burning and what direction the wind is coming from.

WATCH RELATED: El Nino gives Spokane an easy winter, but that's not the case for other parts of the U.S. (Jan. 2019)

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