SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane area, eastern Washington, and North Idaho had some very memorable weather events this past year. A year where we didn't just see a year's worth of extremes but broke several all-time and long standing records.
#3 - Summer Drought
While summer is the dry season, 2021 took that to an absolute extreme. The Summer Drought hit the "exceptional category" on the U.S. Drought Monitor for the first time in Washington's history! The From February 1st to September 9th, Spokane has it's record driest stretch on record, with only 2.21" of rainfall, more than 6 inches below normal through those dates.
The excpetional drought latest from of July 13 through the week of November 30. During the peak of the drought, late-August and early-September, 38% of the state was under the exceptional drought category, including Spokane. As of this January, the eastern half of Washington is still experiencing drought conditions, though it's improved since the summer.
#2 - January Windstorm
A strong cold front on January 13th produced winds between 50 and 70 mph across the Inland Northwest. Spokane recorded a 71mph wind gust which ties the second strongest wind gust ever recorded at Spokane International Airport and matches the strongest wind speeds from the November 2015 wind storm.
At the height of the storm, more than 100-thousand people were without power and 130 trees fell in city parks during the event. Comstock Park was the hardest hit with dozens of uprooted trees.
#1 - All-Time Record Heat
A "heat dome" over the Pacific Northwest resulted in the hottest temperatures on record all across the region. On June 29th, the peak of the heat wave, Spokane hit 109 degrees setting a new all-time record high. That was just one of several cities that did the same including 114 in Wenatchee, 116 in Ephrata, and 117 in Omak. To our west - it was 107 in Seattle and 116 in Portland.
Several reporting sites in southern Washington are still being verified if they tied or broke the state's all-time record of 118 degrees which was set back in 1961.
The National Weather Service in Spokane has a great headline of all the major weather events that were witnessed during the year. You can find that here.