Three-month forecasts for the Palouse region appear to predict average to slightly above average temperatures and precipitation for the summer months, meteorologists said.

According to National Weather Service data, regional temperatures and rainfall is not expected to deviate significantly from norms seen in previous years through September.

“When we talk about this, we’re talking about a three-month average, so we’re, of course, going to have these swings,” NWS meteorologist Steve Bodnar said. “When you average things out over the three-month period, that’s where we’re expected to be — but you still have to plan for oscillations from warm air to cooler.”

Bodnar said today’s highs in the upper 80s will make it the warmest day of the week, with a chance of thunderstorms late in the day — though Bodnar said the chances of rainfall are remote. While temperatures may cool slightly as this week folds into the next, Bodnar said, today’s slight chance of thunderstorms is the only precipitation in the seven-day forecast.

“We’re only going to go into the upper 70s around 80 for the weekend, and then they will start to cool off even further going into next week,” Bodnar said. “By around Wednesday, we’ll see a pretty significant pattern change toward a much cooler pattern — highs by Wednesday are only looking to be roughly about 70 degrees.”

Bodnar said the forecast for the local water supply is encouraging as well. He said strong snowpacks through the winter combined with middling temperatures and rainfall through the spring and summer appear to indicate an average fire season as well. He said if trends continue, Moscow, Pullman and the surrounding region will likely see “near-normal” acreage burned by the time the fire season comes to a close.

Bodnar said even if it gets fairly hot and dry — without thunderstorms and the accompanying lightning — there will be fewer chances of igniting a blaze. However, he said, there is no forecasting the behavior of individuals and human-caused wildfires remain a risk. While it’s difficult to predict what the wildfire season will bring until it is upon us, he said current trends are encouraging.

“If we continue to hold onto temperatures like we have now — these 80s and 90s, going into next week — that’s where we would really run into problems,” Bodnar said. “But the fact that we’re going to another cycle of cooling — that’s definitely going to help.”

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to sjackson@dnews.com.

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