SEATTLE - Sand and shade were in short supply again Wednesday as western Washington broiled in a California-like heat wave. And if you thought Tuesday was hot, Wednesday will be even hotter in the Puget Sound area.
We'll tweak the pattern a bit closer to a more typical heat wave where the coast will cool back and the I-5 corridor will get hotter as our east winds will strengthen a bit here off the Cascades.
Temperatures today are expected to get into the upper 90s, and it would not surprise me at all to see some official 100 degree readings out there.
This was the first time that I can ever remember putting 100 on our forecast maps on our side of the Cascades (not counting Portland and Vancouver.) For specifics, Seattle's forecasted high is 97, while Bellevue is 99 and North Bend and Enumclaw will be at 100. Seattle's record for Wednesday is 95. That looks like it'll be broken.
But Seattle's all-time record high is 100 degrees set July 20, 1994. We don't think we'll make it quite that far, but then again, I think the forecasted high on the day we hit 100 was about 97 or so. So we'll be keeping an eye on it.
The North Interior (like Everett north to the border) won't be quite as hot, but still in the low 90s. The coast will find some relief from the 90s of yesterday, "only" reaching the upper 70s to mid 80s today.
How Hot Is It Now?
This map is updated once an hour, about 10 minutes past:
Or, you can see a decoded list of major cities at this link. Another site is our links to people's home weather stations that they've put online. You can find that here. Note that these are unofficial, so no counting someone's 103 temperature reading as sacred.
But if you're a real weather junkie, or somewhat daring, you can find every current temperature in the Pacific Northwest, including many that are hard to find online (such as Puyallup, or Redmond, or Seattle/Sand Point), at the UW Weather Site.
There's a link at the top to decode the station IDs (since they use their 4 letter code to denote the city.). And this link will help tell you how to decode the observations. Incidentally, Seattle (Sea-Tac) is "KSEA" and the "T" column is temperature.
How Hot Did It Get Tuesday?
Tuesday got the heat wave party started. Hoquiam hit their all-time record high with a 99-degree reading at 3 p.m., breaking their old record of 98 set in 1961 and tied in 1981.
A few spots even hit 100 degrees -- especially in the Portland area. Most places hit the upper 80s and low 90s. Seattle reached 89 -- a degree short of the record.
Here's some of the other highs around the area.
- Vancouver (WA): 104
- Portland: 102
- Hoquiam: 99 (All time record high)
- Shelton: 98
- Kelso: 95
- Forks: 93
- Bremerton: 91
- Port Angeles: 91
- Olympia: 90
- Seattle: 89
- Tacoma: 88
- Renton: 88
- Arlington: 88
- Friday Harbor: 87
- Bellingham: 86
- Gig Harbor: 86
- Everett: 84 (Brrr!)
How Did The Coast Get So Hot?
Usually, the coast is the place to head to escape the heat. But Tuesday, it was role-reversal -- the coast was even hotter than the Puget Sound area.
Why? You've probably read by now that we get our super-hot weather when we get air flowing off the mountains. That air sinks and gives what's known as compressional heating.
For the coast, they were getting the perfect flow to get sinking winds off the Olympics and Coastal Range. That's how Hoquiam spiked at 99 -- although they had radical temperature swings of several degrees an hour as the wind shifts around. Forks hit 93 and Astoria was at 92, and Tillamook, Oregon hit 100!
Even normally-cool Port Angeles had some compressional heating off the Olympics, sending them to 91 degrees.
I Thought Tuesday's Record For Seattle Was 89?
The record high for Seattle on July 10th is 90 degrees, set in 1945 -- the first year records were kept at Sea-Tac Airport. It's only one of three original high-temperature records still left on the books (the others were Jan. 9 and Dec. 4). Every other date has had a new record set since.
There has been some confusion as other places have used 89 degrees set in 2002 as the record for Tuesday. The National Weather Service climate book shows it as 90 in 1945, but the agency's daily climate summary that they send out via Internet showed 89.
It turns out, while records have been kept at Sea-Tac Airport since 1945, in 1950, the weather instruments were moved to another section of the airport. The Weather Service has an internal debate going with NOAA's National Climatic Data Center over whether the instruments were moved far enough that it reached the criteria to reset the records.
But one official at the local office of the Weather Service said that they treat it as the same site, so the 1945 record is valid, and they would adjust their daily climate summary to reflect the record high as 90. So glad that's settled.
Is It Going To Be Hot Again On Thursday?
We get into the initial stages of the cooling trend on Thursday as our thermal trough begins to move east. (I highly suggest reading that link from our Weather FAQ on thermal troughs. It really helps understand how it gets hot around here and how they work.)
It means a significant cool-down along the coast as they mercifully get their ocean breezes back. Highs should plummet to the 70s. the North Interior should drop back to the mid 70s to mid 80s.
But in the greater Puget Sound area and points south and east, the cooling effect won't be as dramatic, just minor -- perhaps 10 degrees or so to the upper 80s/low 90s. (Wow, can't fathom that 5-9 degrees cooler would still be near 90). The record high for Seattle is 97 and appears safe.
For Friday, our natural air conditioning (a.k.a, the marine breeze) should rev up a little more, getting us back to the low-mid 80s, with 60s to low 70s along the coast and Northwest Interior. However, remember there is that chance of isolated dry thunderstorms in the mountains Thursday night and Friday that could drift into the foothills. We're also looking at an increase in the humidity, so it'll feel warmer than the temperature, but not New York bad, where it was 92 today with a 72 dew point (trust me, that's completely miserable).
Another Reason To Look Forward To The Weekend
For those that are ready to get back to the 70s, and according to the poll on our home page, at least 55% of you are (63% if you count us in the 60s group who would probably take 70s at this point), the weekend is looking like your best friend.
The weather pattern will be getting back to the more expected Seattle summer version, with still plenty of sunshine, but enough of an ocean breeze to keep high temperatures in the 70s both Saturday and Sunday.
Extended forecast shows pleasant weather sticking around into early next week. The long range forecast even hints at a little bit of rain perhaps toward the end of end of next week. Should be plenty of sandy spots available then.
Brought over from previous stories:
What Can I Do To Stay Cool?
Unless you just moved here from Barrow or Antarctica, we've all been hot before. So you should hopefully know the basics of what to do in hot weather. Here's a good list of tips from the CDC -- www.cdc.gov.
Most of these are along the lines of "don't run with scissors" (drink lots of water, limit outdoor activity during the heat of the day) but there are a few important ones -- namely do NOT leave pets or kids in the car -- even with the windows down. We've already had one child killed and another injured just east of the mountains from being left in a car when it was over 100 degrees there. We won't get that hot, but it'll be close enough. Your car will trap the heat inside, and it will get several degrees over the outside temperature -- even reaching fatal levels.
Aside from the great tips at that link, one of my favorites is to have a simple spray bottle at home full of water. My home is not air conditioned, but I find that spraying your arms, face and legs with a fine mist of water and then stand in front of a fan works wonders. Standing in a bathtub with about 6" of cold water in it also seems to help. Basically, since it'll be so dry, use the power of evaporative cooling to your advantage!
Where Can I Go To Get Cool?
Several cities have set up cooling centers for those who don't have access to air conditioning.
- Auburn -- Auburn Senior Activity Center, located at 808 Ninth St., will be made available as a cooling shelter between the hours of 8 a.m. - 9pm on Tuesday and from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Wednesday. More info at www.ci.auburn.wa.us
- Bellevue -- All Bellevue Community Centers are air conditioned and open to public during daytime hours. For community center locations visit www.ci.bellevue.wa.us
- Bonney Lake -- The City of Bonney Lake will be opening the Senior Center as a cooling center from 8:00am until 9:00pm Tuesday and Wednesday. All community members of every age are welcome. The Senior Center is located at 19304 Bonney Lake Boulevard. Call 253.863.7658 for directions.
- Carnation -- The City of Carnation has opened a cooling center at Carnation City Hall, 4621 Tolt Ave from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11.
- Des Moines & South King Fire -- The City of Des Moines Activity Center, located at 2045 S. 216th Street, will be a cooling center Tuesday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information call: 206-878-1642
- Federal Way -- The Federal Way Community Center, located at 876 S. 333rd Street is open as a cooling center from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Issaquah -- Issaquah has opened two cooling facilities for residents to visit to stay cool and comfortable July 10 and 11, 2007, from 9 AM to 9 PM. General Public Location: Community Hall, Fire Station No. 71, 190 East Sunset Way. Senior Location: Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 NE Creek Way, (near Veterans' Memorial Field Park)
- Kent -- The City of Kent has opened two cooling centers located at: Kent Senior Center, 600 East Smith Street (closes at 5:00 p.m.); Kent Commons, 525 West James Street (closes at 9:00 p.m. For further information, contact Kent Emergency Management at 253-856-4440.)
- Renton -- Community and Senior Centers are open to the public from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Renton Community Center, 1715 Maple Valley Highway; 425-430-6700 and Renton Senior Center, 211 Burnett Avenue North, open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- SeaTac -- The City of SeaTac Community Center/Senior Center, located at 13735 24th Ave S, is open as a cooling shelter from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
- Shoreline -- The Highland Ice Arena, 18005 Aurora Avenue N, Shoreline, is offering its facility as a free cooling station between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. For more information, call Highland Ice Arena at (206) 546-2431, ext. 0.
- Snoqualmie Tribe -- The Snoqualmie Tribe is opening a cooling center located at the Tribes Administration Annex located at: § 8096 Railroad Ave in downtown Snoqualmie (across from the Railroad Depot) This center is open for Elders and the surrounding Community and will open Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. § Chairs, couches, water and restrooms will be available. § Service dogs will be allowed § Please remember to bring snacks for yourself or family members if needed.
- Tukwila -- The City of Tukwila Community Center, located at 12424 42nd Ave S, is opened as a cooling center from 4:00pm to 9:00pm Tuesday through Thursday.
- Arlington - 18308 Smokey Point Blvd 8-4PM
- Darrington 1085 Darrington Street 8-6PM
- Lake Stevens 1814 124th 10-9PM
- Marysville 514 Delta Ave 9-4PM
- Monroe 276 Sky River 8-4PM
- Snohomish (Fire Department) 1525 Avenue D 9-9PM
- Stanwood - 7430 276th St NW 9-4PM
- Sultan 701 1st St 9-5PM