Weather Blog

70 degrees in October? No problem this year...

70 degrees in October? No problem this year...
A warm October day in Seattle. (Photo: Mo Aoun)

A somewhat sunny and 72 degree day sounds fairly routine for Seattle... for early September, maybe even late August.

But October 19? Indeed, strange enough but then when you find out it's only tied for the third-warmest day this month, it's really something.

The 72 degree high for Seattle not only bested the record high for the day (70 set in 1995) but is now the sixth day this month at 70 or warmer -- four of them coming in a row from the 3rd to the 6th topping out at 78 degrees on the sixth.

The 6 days at 70 or warmer is the most in October since 1991, which as I wrote about last month is the year that had the warmest winter on record and had a warm early fall to boot. Well, we're on our way to kicking 1991 to the curb. For starters, we're close to claiming this month as the warmest on record on all three levels: high temperature, low temperature and average temperature as we are a good 3 degrees ahead on all fronts.

Now, we are giving up the 70s (for good? Who knows this autumn!) for a while as we head into a stormy/rainy pattern for the next week with highs near 60, but we have plenty of buffer to wade through a relatively cool streak and still break the record for warmest October.

Seattle just needs to average a high of 61.5 the rest of this month (should be doable) while averaging a low warmer than 43.1 (slam dunk for that record) and 50.21 for average temp (high+low/2). That too should be pretty easy to break considering our persistent overnight heat wave. Seattle has only been under 50 degrees once this month and our average lows are in the mid-upper 40s. (Blame the warm blob of waters off our coast and persistent southerly flow -- more in that excellent blog by UW Prof. Cliff Mass.)

So even if we falter a bit on the high temperatures, we should easily set the record for warmest October by average temperature and low temperature. And of course, you've likely heard the long range forecast for November and the winter is for more of the same.

One more record? According to Utah State grad student Jason Phelps (and also former KOMO weather intern) we're far and away the latest into the second half of the year without our first day with a high cooler than 60 degrees. Previous latest date was Oct. 17 in 1963 (1991 was third place at Oct. 16). There is a risk this streak could come to an end this week with the stormy weather liable to notch a high of 58 or 59, but certainly no chilly weather anytime soon.

New maps, same story: Mild, dry winter the odds-on favorite

New maps, same story: Mild, dry winter the odds-on favorite
Mt. Rainier shines on a sunny October day in Seattle. (Photo: Mo Aoun Photography)

We just passed the third Thursday of the month, and that means we get to look at the new 30 and 90 day seasonal forecast maps. (For some meteorologists, it's like Christmas coming 12 times a year!)

This month's version can be summed up in a four words: "You've seen this before."

Potpourri blog: Cool weather maps, videos, and how not to get a 'Tomato Warning'

Potpourri blog: Cool weather maps, videos, and how not to get a 'Tomato Warning'
Undulatus Asperatus shown in YouTube video taken by Alex Schueth.

To kick off the...middle of October week? -- I've got a bit of grab bag weather geek stuff for the blog that's been sitting in my inbox waiting for the light of day, so here goes...

First up, this neat interactive site that lets you compare weather across the nation. For those of you who liked this worldwide rainfall comparison tool I posted last month, this site is for you, courtesy Kristian Nielsen:

Is the recent sunny and warm stretch an ''Indian Summer''?

Is the recent sunny and warm stretch an ''Indian Summer''?
Sunrise from Matthews Beach, Seattle taken Oct. 3, 2014 by Travelingbhat.

October has been on quite the sunny and warm kick. Four of the first six days in the 70s, with a 75 and record-tying 78 on the board already when average highs are in the mid 60s. None of the days the first week have been considered officially "cloudy" and there's been nary a drop in the rain bucket.

For many, these nice stretches in the early stages of autumn are colloquially known as an "Indian Summer." But is there any sort of official definition to make it qualify?

Growing up, I thought the term was pretty informal to mean any kind of nice sunny and relatively warm stretch in October. But a few years ago during a rather sunny and warm stretch in mid-October, I received an e-mail asking since it went below freezing at their home that night, did it make that sunny streak make an official Indian Summer?

Time Lapse Video: Stars up high, and on the beach

Time Lapse Video: Stars up high, and on the beach
Photo courtesy: Don Jensen.

Don Jensen was heading to Mt. Rainier for some overnight photography when the weather fates interceded. Clouds rolled into the interior, but the beaches were clear as a bell, so Jensen made the trek instead to Ruby Beach.

He wasn't disappointed.

Is all hope lost for snow this El Nino winter? Maybe not...

Is all hope lost for snow this El Nino winter? Maybe not...
FILE -- Snow falls in Seattle's International District on Dec. 20, 2013.

New Year's Eve, 1968 was likely a bit of a chaotic celebration for winter weary Seattleites. Just a week and a half before, a dollop of 5" of snow fell in the city, followed a few days later by two more snow showers that dropped another 3" of snow. Christmas was rather mundane but the days after were anything but as a massive arctic blast rolled into the region.

On the 27th, the high was 37 and the low was 20. On the 28th, it only got up to 22, and dropped to 13.

The next two days wouldn't reach 20 and drop to single digits -- the thermometer tumbling to 8 degrees on the 29th and 6 degrees on the 30th as a winter storm arrived.

Gorgeous time lapse video shows fog rolling into Seattle

As we turn the page into October, it’s not only the official start of the rainy season in Seattle, but the longer nights make it easier for fog to form.

Wednesday morning brought such a foggy morning into Downtown Seattle. Sigma Sreedharan had her camera rolling to capture the fog rolling in just after dawn.

Gorgeous video, Sigma!

Forecasters even more confident in a milder winter in the Pacific Northwest

Forecasters even more confident in a milder winter in the Pacific Northwest »Play Video
Sun sets behind Seattle's Space Needle on Sept. 28, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Tim Durkan)

If you've been following my blog here over the past few months, you've seen the forecasts that show a greater than average odds of a warmer-than-normal winter.

The forecasts were based on an expected El Nino event to develop this winter, along with warmer-than-normal water temperatures in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Awesome time lapse video shows the power of the desert monsoon

Awesome time lapse video shows the power of the desert monsoon
Screen capture off Mike Olbinski's film "Monsoon"

This is one of those times that if you have a large, HD monitor around, go find it and then reload this blog. It'll be worth it.

Mike Olbinski, a fantastic photographer who lives in Arizona, has spent the summer chasing the monsoon storms that wrought towering thunderclouds, vivid lightning, incredible downpours and intense dust storms.

Passing rain shower costs Minnesota pitcher $500,000

Passing rain shower costs Minnesota pitcher $500,000
Minnesota Twins grounds crew roll out the tarp during a rain delay in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

I'm sure we've all had times where a rain shower has ruined a picnic, or perhaps turned your commute into a trip rivaling Wagner's "The Ring" for length of time.

But I'll bet it's never cost you a cool half million dollars!

Seattle finishes up 2nd hottest summer on record at Sea-Tac

Seattle finishes up 2nd hottest summer on record at Sea-Tac
Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

The rains this morning were an emphatic end to what will go down as the second-hottest summer on record at Sea-Tac Airport, which has data going back to 1945.

The average high temperature from June 21 through September 21 this year was 79.3 degrees, falling just behind 1967's 79.5 degree average (and just ahead of 3rd place. Guess what summer that was? Last year! 2013 averaged 78.6 degrees)

Our toasty numbers this year make sense when you consider 40 of the 92 days of our summer were warmer than 80 degrees -- meaning nearly half our summer was spent over 80 degrees! And 21 of those days were 85 degrees or warmer with five days at 90 or hotter.

So how best to celebrate autumn? In (corny) song!

So how best to celebrate autumn? In (corny) song!

Now, I've learned over the years there is a fairly even split here between those who love the days on end of 80 degrees, and those who much prefer 60s and cloudy. Now that the sun fans have had their tune, it's time for those who are eager to do so to celebrate autumn.

With that, I present this melody to hum today, sung to the tune of Olaf's "In Summer" song from the movie Frozen. (If you have don't have kids, and/or don't know the melody -- which if you do have kids it's likely impossible not to have heard this song, here is the original, and you're welcome for getting this stuck in your head for the next week :)

Photos: Seattle's spectacular summer swan song sunset of 2014

Photos: Seattle's spectacular summer swan song sunset of 2014
Sun sets behind Puget Sound on the final full day of summer in Seattle in 2014. (Photo: Sigma Sreedharan Photography, Sept. 21, 2014.)