Hot temperatures and dry conditions will be the main story today as an upper-level ridge of high pressure continues to influence our weather pattern. Temperatures will be 2-4 degrees warmer than those experienced on Tuesday pushing just about all lowlands into the lower and mid 90’s this afternoon. A few locations like Priest Rapids Dam and Grand Coulee will be close to the century mark. The ridge axis will be shifting eastward through the day into Western Montana allowing the next trough of low pressure to approach from the Gulf of Alaska. This will begin to increase the marine layer over Western Washington and lead to increasing winds in the lee of the Cascades and into the Okanogan Valley this afternoon and evening. Wind speeds do not look critical but the combination of mid 90’s and steady winds of 10-15 mph will elevate the risk for fire spread with any new ignitions. Peak winds look to arrive around 7-9 p.m.
A much more active weather pattern arrives overnight and Thursday as the aforementioned trough ushers in a strong cold front to Northcentral Washington. The weather system will plow through the region Thursday afternoon and evening bringing strong winds through the Inland Northwest and especially Central Washington and the Columbia Basin. This raises concern for rapidly spreading fires with any new ignitions. The good news is that humidity levels have trend higher but still within the 20-30 percent range which could support rapid fire spread if any new ignitions were to occur. Afternoon temperatures will be cooler Thursday with highs only in the lower 80’s. Sustained winds in the lee of the Cascades and across the Western Columbia Basin will ramp up to 20-30 mph sustained with gusts 30-40 mph. In addition to fire concerns, we could be dealing with patchy blowing dust near recently worked fields. For the Wenatchee Valley, winds tomorrow will blow 15-30 mph with possible gusts between 35 and 40 mph.
Friday will be cooler than normal with some lingering breeziness behind Thursday’s cold front, high temperatures in the lower to mid-80’s. If you have plans to go camping, be sure to bring an extra layer with temperatures Friday night expected to dip into the lower to mid-50’s.
Then Saturday through early next week, expect a fairly benign weather pattern with sunny skies each day and afternoon high temperatures warming about 3-5 degrees each day. Highs Saturday will be in the mid 80’s, warming to the upper 80’s on Sunday and then back into the lower 90’s on Monday and Tuesday.