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Enjoy a mild graduation weekend, but a blistering summer and fire season are waiting in the wings

Hot weather puts kids, pets in peril

Meridian Fire Department demonstrates hot cars can get warm enough in a summer day to bake cookies. Never leave a child or pet alone in a vehicle, as the temperature inside can easily rise beyond 100 degrees.
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Meridian Fire Department demonstrates hot cars can get warm enough in a summer day to bake cookies. Never leave a child or pet alone in a vehicle, as the temperature inside can easily rise beyond 100 degrees.

The Tri-Cities should get some respite from an unusually hot weekend just in time for high school graduations at the end of the week.

But it won’t last long. The National Weather Service says the month of June should be hotter than usual in the Tri-Cities.

Usual June high temperatures will increase from about 78 at the start of the month to about 86 by the end of the month. Lows should increase from about 52 degrees to 56.

On Saturday the high temperature at the Tri-Cities Airport was 95, according to the weather service.

Temperatures have cooled some, with the high forecast to be 85 degrees on Tuesday and even cooler as people gather for outdoor graduations and grad parties on Friday and Saturday.

Chiawana High 2017 Graduation16.JPG
The weather should be pleasant for graduations at the end of the week in the Tri-Cities, with sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Friday the high should be below normal at 71, and Saturday should be about 75 in the Tri-Cities.

The Tri-Cities will be mostly sunny through the weekend, but people heading to the Cascade Mountains could see rain or snow starting Wednesday.

Wildfires bring summer smoke

The snow is expected at higher elevations than the major highway passes, but people hiking and camping in high terrain will need to be prepared for cold and wet weather, according to AccuWeather.

This summer, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows parts of Washington state to the west and northwest of the Mid-Columbia in moderate drought conditions or abnormally dry.

Mountain snowpacks are lower than normal for this time of year.

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The U.S. Drought Monitor shows some areas of Washington state in yellow as abnormally dry and some areas in tan for moderate drought conditions as of May 30. White areas are normal. Courtesy U.S. Drought Monitor

The fire outlook for Washington state is ominous, Benton County Fire District 1 posted to social media on Monday.

Fire conditions are expected to be normal in the Mid-Columbia, but there is potential for smoky days in the Tri-Cities.

The wildfire potential for Western Washington is above normal through September, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The potential for wildfires in western Oregon and much of northern California also will increase through the summer.

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By August there could be above normal wildfire danger in parts of Washington, Oregon and California, which could mean smoky skies in the Tri-Cities. Courtesy National Interagency Fire Center

The Tri-Cities already has had smoky skies in late May from two dozen fires burning in Canada’s Alberta province.

May hotter than usual

Precipitation for June in the Tri-Cities should be about normal after a wetter spring than usual, according to data from the weather service.

The drought conditions in the state do not extend to the Mid-Columbia.

Normal precipitation for June is about a half inch or a little more.

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Temperatures and precipitation for May at the Tri-Cities Airport. Courtesy National Weather Service

Temperatures in May were warmer than usual in the Tri-Cities, with the average temperature in Richland about 3 degrees above normal.

The warmest day of the month was May 11 with a high of 93 degrees recorded at the Tri-Cities Airport.

No daily temperature records were set at Hanford, which has records going back to World War II.

The warmest day at Hanford in May as recorded at the Hanford Meteorological Station was the last day of the month with a high of 93. Saturday the high was 96.

The peak wind gust recorded in the Tri-Cities in May was 34 mph, recorded in both Pasco and Kennewick on May 1. At the Hanford Met station it was 40 mph on May 14.

Senior staff writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, the environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She’s been a news reporter for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.
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