Welcome to... summer?

Welcome to... summer? »Play Video
SEATTLE -- "It's so cloudy, my shadow took early retirement..."

That observation from Jim in West Seattle is just one of the many complaints and vents we've received on our "weather whine line" about this very long gray streak that has wore our eraser out in trying to keep the record books up to date. And now that summer began at 4:28 a.m. you'd think the new season would be enough to usher in some well-needed sunshine?

Well, not exactly. Tuesday and Wednesday are looking like the sun will make some appearances, but raindrops still have a grip on a majority of days in this week's forecast.

And while Seattleites are certainly used to a stretch of cool, wet weather, the fact that it has come in May and June and lasted for so long has tested even the most staunch locals who don't even own an umbrella.

"It's so cold, the ice cream man is wearing a parka" (Vicki of Renton)

So let's recap just how gloomy it's been, so we can brag to the grandchildren someday. (If you already have grandchildren, make up a story on how it's been worse.)

  • If you haven't heard, this is now the longest stretch (by far) that we've gone into a new year without hitting 75 degrees. The old record was June 9th, set in 1991.
  • This is also the longest streak of consecutive days without hitting 75. Monday makes Day 271. The old record was 254, from Sept. 23, 1999 - June 2, 2000.)
  • Through June 20, the average high temperature from May and June combined is 62.0 degrees. If that holds, it would be a record as the coldest May-June is 62.49 degrees set in 1953.
  • Just taking June into account, the average high temperature is 63.8 degrees would be third-coldest behind 1971 (62.73) and 1953 (63.27)
  • On June 15th, the weather at 18,000 feet was colder over Washington than any other place on the North American continent -- including sites within the Arctic Circle!

"Its been so wet, the slugs in my yard have to do the dog paddle" (Jim in West Seattle)

Going hand-in-hand with the chilly weather has been persistent rain.

The 5.32" of rain since May 1 makes this the third wettest May-June on record -- with more rain in the forecast before the month's end. The record is 6.19" in 1984, and second place is just ahead at 5.34", set in 1993.

And the rain has been spread out across several days. We already tied one record for consecutive days with rain in the dry season (May-Sept.) with 11 in a row from May 25-June 4. And perhaps lost in the shuffle is a second 8-day streak from the 16th to the 23rd leading up to it that itself ties for fourth-longest.

But put it all together, and in the 30 days between May 16 and June 14, it rained on 25 of them, with our only dry days coming on May 24 and June 5. That is completely unheard of for this time of year -- and a wet stretch like that is actually not all that common during the rainy season either. You have to go back to January of 2006 which had 28 of 31 days with rain to find a wetter streak. Overall, we've had 35 days with rain of the 51 days through June 20.

For Marysville, the rain is even more impressive. A storm that struck on June 15 dumped 1.46" of rain in an hour according to a spotter, but one resident showed us her rain gauge that measured 1.40" in 19 minutes!

"It's so cloudy, I need a flashlight to go out during the day." (Belinda of Lake Tapps)

This weekend was among the longest -- and darkest days of the year! While Sunday was nearly the longest day of the year in terms of length of daylight (16 hours, exactly, for Seattle), it was the darkest June day in at least the past 15 years when it came to amount of sunlight energy reaching the surface, according to research done by UW meteorologist Mark Albright.

Without getting into gory details of units of measurement, if you figure a scale of 0-35 with 35 meaning a lot of sunlight energy, Saturday rated a 6.3 and Sunday rated a 2.7. To put that in comparison, the sunny Saturday of June 12 where we hit 74 was 32.5. The 2.7 is the lowest reading since early February! The lowest day so far is 0.7 on Jan. 11, for comparison. That would explain why it hit only 57 and 56 degrees this weekend -- likely would have qualified as the coldest summer weekend ever had the official solstice come a few days earlier.

So far in June, 18 days out of 20 have featured 70% cloud cover or more during the day, with nine of those days at 90-100% cloud cover. Seattle at least averages 5 sunny days in June. So far, just one...

Any hope for sunshine?

While the forecast for the next 10-14 days maintains general cooler and cloudier than normal conditions, I think there is a little bit of hope for sunshine. For one, even in seasons where we got a late start to warm weather, summer has had some pretty roaringly-hot stretches.

Plus, even in summers where cool, cloudy weather ruled the roost, we still managed some stretches over 80.

And if you want to go by what the government climatologists say, we have as much of a chance as a warmer summer than a cooler one.

You can read more in our summer outlook story we wrote last week

Hey, there are people who actually *like* this stuff!

In a recent web poll, we asked if this stretch of gloomy weather was cause for frown or celebration. Predictably, 76 percent answered wanting sunshine, but 24 percent said they are still quite happy about this weather. If you think about it -- that's 1 out of every 4 Seattle area residents haven't minded this 6 weeks of gray.

What makes these 24 percent so happy about it? I asked that question in the weather blog and feel free to weigh in.

In the meantime, the forecast for both Tuesday and Wednesday is looking quite pleasant with highs into the low 70s. So by Thursday, the summer scoreboard will read two nice days to one cloudy one. For the 76 percent of you who crave sun, let's just hope that ratio will return in July!