You call this weather chilly? It's been worse

You call this weather chilly? It's been worse
SEATTLE -- You know how your grandpa always used to brag about back in his day, walking to school in the snow barefoot, uphill both ways?

Maybe his memory wasn't quite as foggy as you might have thought it was.

Amid all the e-mails recently we've received wondering if this is the coldest spring ever, the answer is: not even close. In fact, we've set only a handful of records for spring warmth futility.

First, a recap of where we've been:

The temperature first plummeted the last week of March, Then, the average high temperature over the last seven days of March was 46.0 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport. That breaks the previous record for March going out like a penguin of 47.1 degrees in 1967.

In fact, if you count the Downtown Seattle Federal Building, which kept records between 1891 and 1972, this was the third coldest last week of March in Seattle history, finishing behind the 43.6 degrees of 1936 and 45.9 degrees of 1917.

As we moved into April, we warmed up a teensy bit, but aside from a 57-degree reading on April 3, we were below normal the first 10 days of April. Then came our summer, when the mercury reached 62 on April 11 and 79 on April 12. The following weekend, we were back into the 40s for highs with lowland snow once again.

What Records DID We Break?

So let's begin with the records that did get broken these past few weeks. We'll lead with the ironic record: Seattle broke its record high for the day on April 12th with that 79-degree reading. Olympia and Hoquiam tied theirs with 82 and 78, respectively.

But you're not here to think about the warmth...

On this past Saturday, April 19, Seattle did break their record for lowest-high temperature when it only climbed to 45 degrees, breaking the previous record of 47 degrees set in 1975. And it broke it again on Sunday, only reaching 48, breaking the old record of 49 degrees set in 1970.

Also on Sunday, Olympia broke their record-lowest high temperature with a 44-degree reading, shattering the old record of 50. Bellingham broke their record of 49 with a 47-degree reading.

And then on Monday, Bellingham broke their record low temperature with a 29-degree reading. (Old record: 31).

OK, so that's a few records, but...

What Records DIDN'T We Break?

Notice that for how chilly it was, Seattle did not set any record lows. Both Saturday and Sunday "only" got down to 34 degrees, missing the record lows of 33 (Saturday) and 30 (Sunday). So argument one that it's been colder.

It did manage to snow a little bit at Sea-Tac Airport both Saturday and Sunday, but it did not stick. That means it was not sufficient enough to officially break the record for latest snow in Sea-Tac history, which was April 17, 1972. There was 1.2" of snow that day, on the heels of 1.1" the day before.

And apparently, it had snowed in similar "saw it, but it didn't stick" fashion at Sea-Tac on April 19th in 1985.

For monthly records, the average high in April so far is 53.7 degrees. The record is 52.6 set in 1970, but there are four other April's that have been colder than 53.7, and with warmer temperatures expected this weekend, we might fall behind a few other years by the time May 1 rolls around. So far, it has been the coldest April since 1975, though.

It could also be mentioned that had we not had the 79 degree day on April 12 and just threw that day out, our average high would be 52.6 -- on close pace to break the record, although again unlikely to stay that way since the next six days are expected to be much warmer than 53.

April 2008 Is Balmy Compared To This:

The warm-to-hot day on April 12th, even if it was one day, was better than sun fans have had in several other years.

Dana Felton with the Seattle office of the National Weather Service says there have been 10 years when Seattle did not get a 70-degree day until May: 1945, 1953, 1961, 1963, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1975, 2000, and 2002. In the history of Sea-Tac, we have always managed one before June, but there was one year back when records were kept at the Downtown Federal Building, 1917, when Seattle did not get to 70 degrees until June 13th.

(The latest day for Sea-Tac to hit 70 was May 17th, 1963.)

Finally, the record for the least number of days with highs 70 degrees or more in a year is 46 in 1955 -- also a year like this year where we have La Nina conditions.

We have yet to hit 80 though. What if that holds for a while? Felton says in 1921, Seattle (Federal Building) did not reach 80 degrees until August 12th, and that was the only date it hit 80 that entire summer. At Sea-Tac, 1954 only had two days at 80 degrees (exactly) and that was it for 80-plus. In 1980, Seattle (Sea-Tac) didn't get to 80 until July 21 -- the record for latest first 80-degree day. 1954, 1991 and 1996 also didn't have our first 80 until July. For the Federal Building, that statistic also held for 1911, 1919 and 1929 (plus the 1921).

So sun fans, as chilly and cloudy as it has been this spring, maybe count your blessings for what sunshine we've had so far. And long range forecasts are still holding hope for warmer weather this weekend.