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.
To compare, Seattle's warmest average high temperature during the summer is 77 degrees in late July and early August.
For the entire year, Seattle had 45 degrees at 80 or warmer (five were spread across May and a day in April) -- tied for third most on record, behind 1967's 47 days. Somehow Sea-Tac didn't manage to reach 80 degrees Sunday (topping out at 79) while much of the surrounding Puget Sound region did touch 80, or else we would have nailed down second place. For 85 degree days, we had 22 overall (one in May), tying the record.
Individually, July was the 4th warmest on record by average high temperature while August was 5th warmest. September as of Sunday's numbers is tied for warmest, but with a week of cooler weather on the way to finish off the month, it will likely settle into second place.
Summer Minutes -- second warmest since 2000
The other gauge we can use to figure out a summer is my quirky Summer Minutes tally where I count the minutes the UW Weather building was at or above 80 for a summer.
DRUMROLL..... #Seattle summer minutes at or above 80 for Sept. 21: 226 (High at UW: 81) FINAL TOTAL FOR 2014: 11,676!! 2nd most since 2000— Seattle Summer (@SummerMinutes) September 22, 2014
Yes, 11,676 minutes spent over 80 degrees this year, about 8.1 full days' worth. We just eked by passing 2009 for second-warmest since 2000 (when minute-by-minute data first became available there) on the last day here. The record is 13,232 set in 2006, which had a very warm June too that padded their total.
The long range seasonal forecasts from NOAA are still strongly suggesting we're in for a warmer than normal autumn and winter too, so I get the sense we'll be compiling similar statistics later this year and early next year.