Weather Blog

Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record

Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record
Photo: Shubha Tirumale Photography

Wow, what a warm summer it's been. July started it off being the 4th warmest on record by average high temperature (2nd warmest by overall average temperature) and August picked up the baton and just kept going.

This August will finish up the 5th warmest on record by average high temperature at 79.5 degrees. It's a far cry from the record hottest August (83.7 degrees in 1967) but then again, second place was 80.3 so all years are a far cry from 1967.

So individually, the months were pretty impressive, but combined, it's even moreso.

The period from July 1 to August 31 will go down as the second-warmest on record by high temperature average at Sea-Tac Airport, where records go back to 1945.

The average was 80 degrees (79.95 to be exact). narrowly edging 1958 at an average high of 79.9 degrees.

The record is 80.2 degrees set in 1967, but that was mostly set by the super hot August as July that year was just a little warmer than normal. So as far as consistently warm goes, this year takes the cake.

And if you want to get an even more impressive stat: The two months go down as the warmest on record by average temperature (high+low/2) at 69.2 degrees. The record was 68.8 set in that toasty 1967 summer.

For this year, of the 62 days of the two months, 51 of them had sun for some of the day with 24 of them crystal clear. The two months also combined for 34 days at 80 or warmer (we're at 39 overall counting some in April and May.)

The month also rattled off a 36-day streak with high temperatures at 70 or warmer, fifth-longest on record (61 is the record in 2003.) That streak ended Saturday.

Ironically, both months will also go down wetter than normal, courtesy of a few thunderstorms and wayward storms that managed to cool off a couple of days, but certainly not many.

Long range models suggest some warming again toward the end of this week. Could September make it a hat trick?

Updated forecasts still say mild, dry winter on tap for Seattle

Updated forecasts still say mild, dry winter on tap for Seattle
Sun sets behind the Space Needle on Aug. 25, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Tim Durkan Photography)

First off, let me start this blog by saying if you're a skier, snowboarder, or big winter fan, you might want to skip over to the sports section. Happier news in Seattle there these days.

For those who have the stomach to continue, the new August version of the long-range 90-day forecasts issued each month by NOAA are in and while the forecasts themselves for this fall and winter haven't changed much in what they've been saying, the tone of the message is a little stronger for some months.

2014 going to end up as much hotter summer in Seattle than 2009

2014 going to end up as much hotter summer in Seattle than 2009

At least as far as recent memory goes, 2009 set quite the standard for a hot summer in Seattle. That year was home to a brutal two-week stretch of heat that peaked at 103 degrees in Seattle on July 29 and had several days over 90.

This summer hasn't been anywhere near as hot, at least as far as peak heating goes. We have four total days at 90 or warmer and a 96 degree reading earlier this month, but no real "trophy heat waves", as I call them. As in: No long stretches over 90. In fact, all our 90 degree days this year have been orphans -- just one in a row.

The science behind the smell of rain

The science behind the smell of rain
A rainy window pane on a stormy day in Seattle. (Photo courtesy: Michael Mclaughlin Photography

Ever notice there's a distinct smell right after it starts raining?

It's most noticeable when it's been dry for a long while and the shower is fairly heavy. My wife, who grew up in Arizona, referred to this as the "wet rock" smell and there is some truth to it as it's rock that's among the main culprits for giving off the smell.

Photos: Breathtaking pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: Breathtaking pics of Earth from International Space Station
A pop-up book for space travelers. Clouds reaching so high I couldn’t believe it. (Photo & Caption: Reid Wiseman, NASA)

Sneaky thunderstorm briefly lights up skies over Whidbey Island

Sneaky thunderstorm briefly lights up skies over Whidbey Island
Photo courtesy: Greg Johnson, Skunkbayweather.com

Who here knew there were thunderstorms last night?

Me neither.

But as a weak trough slid over the region overnight, it managed to trigger a thunderstorm in the dead of night.

As in one. A very lonely thunderstorm.

Seattle on pace for hottest July-August in Sea-Tac history

Seattle on pace for hottest July-August in Sea-Tac history
Mt. Rainier basks in sunshine behind Seattle's Great Wheel on July 1, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Youn Sung)

Seattle has already notched the fourth-warmest July on record by average high temperature (second warmest by average temperature), but apparently this summer has its sights set on loftier goals.

As of Monday night's data, August was also on pace to be the second-warmest August at Sea-Tac Airport, currently sitting at an average high of 81.7 degrees. The record is a lofty 83.7 degrees so we'd need to really turn up the burners to reach that record.

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather
A small fog bank is created over Tillamook Head just south of Seaside, Ore. on July 10, 2014.

Photo galleries around here are full of dramatic cloud shots created by some of the tallest mountains, be it Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood or even just the Cascades or Olympics.

But mountains don't have to be measured in thousands of feet to create their own weather patterns.

By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm

By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm
Photo: Brendan Ramsey

It's been a very dry summer in Seattle, unless you count the 2 1/2 days it wasn't. Both July and August will go down as having above normal rainfall despite only having measurable rain on six days out of 44 days-- and thee of those rainy days were 0.02" or less.

Here's how Tuesday night/Wednesday morning's rain storm matched up:

Seattle weather: Rainy and 96? City sets zany all-time record Monday

Seattle weather: Rainy and 96? City sets zany all-time record Monday
Photo courtesy Sigma Sreedharan Photography‎
File this under: Never seen that before...

Seattle set an all-time weather record Monday night, when 0.02" of rain fell in a shower just before 11:30 p.m. What's so special about 0.02" of rain? It came on a day when the high was 96 degrees.

How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days

How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days
A sunny day in Seattle on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Visibility Camera)

As temperatures soared into the 90s Monday -- Seattle hit 96 degrees, breaking the record high and making for the hottest day since Aug. 15, 2010 -- many longtime Seattleites were ready to wave the white flag. It's been an unusually hot summer and even though we don't have many "trophy" heat days of us broiling well into the 90s for a few days here and there, it's been a slow cook with several days in the 80s.

We've got about another month on the calendar where Seattle can get this warm but let's "take the temperature" of the summer so far.

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Maybe El Niño isn't such the slam dunk it seemed a few months ago?

Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center – the people in charge of watching for El Niño and La Nina, among many other things – have dropped their chances of El Niño developing this fall and winter to 65 percent from 80 percent.

Granted, that's like saying a football team that was a 14 point favorite to win is now just an 11 point favorite – still a pretty good chance it'll happen. Just not as much as before.

But if nothing else, the trend is interesting.