SEATTLE -- "Cooler today, with highs in the 90s."
In Phoenix, that brings thoughts of perhaps putting on a long-sleeved T-shirt. In Seattle, it's worth saving as a historical record.
Day five of our record-breaking heat-wave finds the Puget Sound region once again zooming toward the century mark, fresh off obliterating just about every heat record in the books on Wednesday. Seattle hit an all-time record high temperature of 103 -- three degrees hotter than had ever been recorded.
Wednesday will also go down as the warmest night in history, with a low temperature of 71 degrees -- the only time it has ever stayed above 70 all day in Seattle. It was a more reasonable 67 on Thursday morning.
Thursday afternoon brings about a few slight changes. For one, a sweatshirt is OK to pull out of the closet on the coast again where the ocean breezes have returned. And inland, we are spared from having to squeeze nearly as many triple digits on our high temperature maps.
Some marine air seeped into parts of Western Washington, and forecasting models show an ever-so-slight cooling in the upper atmosphere -- good for around a 5-10 degree cool-down Thursday.
Of course, when you're coming down off 103, five degrees doesn't seem like a whole lot of benefit. So yes, afternoon temperatures are still expected to be around 93-100 across the Puget Sound area, with mid-upper 90s the forecasted high in Seattle-- still likely enough to break the daily record high of 94.
But the coast is a different world today, with marine clouds around and highs in the 60s to low 70s. Definitely a place to escape to if you can go.
In addition, scattered showers and thunderstorms remain possible in the mountains and mountain foothills. Wednesday, some of those storms that formed brought heavy rain and large hail, even prompting the National Weather Service to issue Flash Flood and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, although most of the storms stayed over rural areas.
Last Day Of The 90s?
Many might be thankful of the slight cooling today, but the big question is: When do we get to stop mimicking Tucson (high of 102 on Wednesday) and get back to more typical Seattle summer weather?
Thursday is staring the process of a cool down, but it will be gradual. For Friday, we expect a greater push of marine air into the region which will knock temperatures down further.
Normally, this kind of push would get us well down into the 70s, but since the air mass remains very, very hot at the upper levels to mix down to the surface, we are still looking at a hot day, just not as hot. (Sort of like putting just five drips of cream into your coffee. It's still going to taste like there's hardly any in there.)
We are expecting high temperatures on Friday around the mid 80s across most of the inland areas, although this has the potential to go about 5 degrees either way depending on how much marine air gets in here Thursday night (maybe it's 15 drips of cream, maybe it's just two).
If we do manage to hit 90 in Seattle, it would tie the record for streak of 90s at five days (which will feel like six since we hit 89 on Sunday).
Unfortunately for heat fans, models do show a bit of a heat rebound over the weekend as the air mass at upper levels still remains toasty warm and the marine flow weakens a bit. This set up is quite similar to last weekend and the hot days last week which got us to the upper 80s/low 90s. The good news is, it was cooler at night with some marine air tricking in and lows will be around 58-62 as opposed to 68-72.
This mammoth ridge of high pressure finally begins to break down early next week, and marine air will start to gain the upper hand in regaining control of our weather pattern. It's still a slow process, with temperatures slowly falling back into the mid 80s on Monday, and Tuesday then 70s on Wednesday and, if all signs are right, we pour the whole container of cream into the coffee Wednesday night and finally perhaps even drop into the 60s for late next week.
Hottest Week On Record?
With the hottest day safely in the books, we can turn our attention to another impressive record that might fall -- the hottest week ever recorded at Sea-Tac Airport.
Right now, the weekly "honor" falls to August 6-12, 1981, where we rattled off a week of 86, 91, 93, 99, 98, 93, and 86, for an average high temperature of 92.3.
So far since Friday, we've had a stretch of 82, 86, 89, 93, 97, and 103. We either need Thursday's high temperature to be hotter than 96 to break it, or if it doesn't get there, we'd need the next two days' temperature to add up to 179 to beat that average (since then we'd just count the week from Saturday to Friday instead of Friday to Thursday)
So let's say it gets to 94 in Seattle on Thursday, it'd just need to get to 85 on Friday to break it and that's about Friday's expected high temperature.
If you're wondering whether this will be the hottest July, we'd need quite the hot Friday to make that happen, but we'll be pretty close.
The record warmest July for average high temperature is 81.42 degrees set in 1958. As of Wednesday, we are at 80.3. We'd need to average 97 over both days, and while Thursday could reach 97, Friday is expected to fall well short.
How Hot Did It Get?
Here is a list of high temperatures Wednesday:
- Vancouver, WA: 108
- Kelso: 106
- Portland: 106 (all-time record: 107)
- Chehalis: 106
- Renton: 105
- Seattle (Boeing Field): 105
- Tacoma: 104
- Bellevue: 104
- Olympia: 104 (ties all-time record)
- Shelton: 104
- Seattle (Sea-Tac): 103 (all-time record)
- Gig Harbor: 103
- Arlington: 102
- Bremerton: 102
- North Bend: 102
- Everett: 100
- Friday Harbor: 97
- Bellingham: 96
- Port Angeles: 92
- Forks: 83
- Hoquiam: 77