Seattle bakes in record heat

Seattle bakes in record heat »Play Video
Usually around this time of year, we're talking about the June drizzle.

This year, it's the June sizzle.

Our first bonafide heat wave stretched into day 2 Wednesday as temperatures closed in on 90 degrees again. While Tuesday's 88 degree high was well short of the record high of 94 in Seattle, Wednesday's record high of 87 was much more attainable, and it fell easily when Seattle hit 88 at 3 p.m.

Here are some of the day's preliminary high temperatures as of 5 p.m.:

  • Shelton: 90
  • Bremerton: 90
  • Vancouver, WA:90
  • Seattle (Sea-Tac): 89
  • North Bend: 89
  • Tacoma: 89
  • Olympia: 89
  • Gig Harbor: 88
  • Renton: 87
  • Kelso: 86
  • Mount Vernon: 86
  • Arlington: 84
  • Friday Harbor: 84
  • Everett: 83
  • Bellingham: 83
  • Hoquiam: 82
  • Forks: 81

A Heat Advisory is in effect for most of Western Washington and has been extended until 6 p.m. Thursday -- basically warning of potentially hot enough temperatures to cause heat illnesses, especially if you are exerting yourself.

The heat is being caused by a rather complex pattern with a thermal trough over Western Washington, enhanced a bit by a big area of low pressure off the Oregon coast.

That thermal trough is creating lower pressure to our west, which not only holds back our cooling seabreeze, but it draws in hot, dry air from Eastern Washington. And to top it off, when air comes over the Cascades and sinks, that process warms up the air even further. It's this engine that gives us our hottest weather of the year.

That east wind also keeps warm air chugging into the region, even at night. So low temperatures are expected to only drop to the low-mid 60s.

The pattern holds into Thursday, which means another hot day on tap. One change is losing a bit of the east wind, so temperatures should come down a few degrees to the mid-upper 80s. But on the flipside, that low in Oregon might nudge some more humid air this way, making it feel just as hot or even hotter despite the lower actual temperature.

Want to escape? Head to the coast which should begin to cool down as the marine clouds build and we start the ball rolling for the heat wave to come to its crashing end on Friday. Highs there will be in the 70s.

Thursday night should feature the rush of cooling, marine air as the thermal trough moves into Eastern Washington. Friday should be much more comfortable with areas of low clouds and drizzle giving way to partial clearing in the afternoon and highs in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Saturday's forecast is still quite complex with potentially a few isolated showers roaming around as a weak trough drops by out of the north. Forecasting models disagree over whether showers will be confined to the mountains, or possibly a few in the lowlands. We think we'll stay dry, but just heads up there could be a few roaming spot showers on Saturday. We'll see how the heat wave breaks first. Either way, highs will be in the upper 60s.

Sunday through the middle of next week is another stable pattern, but this time it's for morning clouds and afternoon sunshine with a chance of mountain showers. Highs will generally be in the 68-72 range. I think I'll be ready for that :)