Weather Blog

June doesn’t just break, but destroys several Seattle temperature records

June doesn’t just break, but destroys several Seattle temperature records
One of many sunny and warm days in Seattle in June. (Photo: Mo Aoun Photography)

The year 1992 is remembered for a few things around here: It's when Microsoft unveiled Windows 3.1 (No more DOS!), grunge music was all the rage, the Seahawks tried their best to get the top draft pick with a 2-14 record (don't ask how it turned out)…

And it was a very toasty year, rewriting several warm weather records in Seattle.

But when the clock struck midnight Tuesday night*, almost all those records in the books got up, grabbed their stuff, and rode off into the sunset.

Make way for the reign of 2015... which has some new records due to lack of rain. And several of these new records can get comfy because the old records weren't broken just by a little bit; they were essentially vaporized. Lightsabers would have done less damage to the current records than Mother Nature did this June.

Let's begin with the temperature carnage.

The average high temperature for June was 78.9 degrees. That's a new record -- by a long shot. The old record? 75.8 degrees set in… 1992. Beating an average high temperature record by three degrees is quite the feat. For perspective, it's like taking the previous hottest June, and adding an extra 93 degrees to spread around the 30 days. Third place is 74.7, 4th place is 74.1, so each time setting the record previously was more of an edge than an oblitteration. So 2015 is putting up incredibly lofty numbers that will be tough to beat.

By the way, the typical average high temperature for June in Seattle? 69.9 degrees.

The 78.9 degrees was actually warmer than a typical July or August in Seattle. In fact, it would have been the 8th warmest August on record, or 12th warmest July on record. Put another way, June 2015 was the 19th warmest month overall on record at Sea-Tac, which goes back to 1945. The next time a June month is on the chart for warmest month on record? A tie for 56th.

How about by average temperature (as in, taking the high temperature plus low temperature and dividing by 2)? Oh yeah, that's a record too. This month it was 67.7 degrees. The record was 64.9 (of course, in 1992). Typical average is 60.9.

Oh, and the 13 days at 80 degrees or warmer this month? Also a record. So was the 8 days of 85+. We only average 10 days at 85 or warmer a year.

But June has just been a continuation of the long warm trend that's threatening to make it a year-and-a-half straight or more. June makes 16 months in a row with warmer than normal average temperatures and the fifth time since October we've set an all-time warmest month temperature.

Going back to Jan. 1, this year has been the warmest first half of a year on record by average temperature (53.8). Old record was 53.2 in 1992. One record that survives? Warmest first 6 months of the year by average high temperature -- we can up just short of 1992 there. Hope that record likes its new neighbors.

More telling: Only 28 of the 181 days this year have had a day considered cooler than normal, and several of those dates were just a a degree or two below. June 1 was the last one. Meanwhile, several days this year have been 10 degrees or more above normal. 

How about some rainfall records too?

June finished up with just 0.23 inches of rain -- the 4th driest on record.

With just eight days of measurable rain (as in more than 0.01 inches) between May and June -- that's the driest period on record (old record 9 set in… wait for it… 1992).

But we can do better than that. Since January 1, we've had 74 days with measurable rain.  Record fewest? 78 set in… 1985 (Gotcha! Aaah, breakdancing memories…)

With a hot start to July already in the cards and long range models still adamant this summer will remain hot, I suspect other years' July records should be a bit nervous too. (Don't worry, 1992 is nowhere to be found in the July records.)

* - Technically it was at 1 a.m. Wednesday -- climate records are kept on standard time year round, so the daily clock resets at 1 a.m. PDT

113 in Walla Walla? Historical E. Washington heat wave shatters records

113 in Walla Walla? Historical E. Washington heat wave shatters records

Sunday was one of those classic summer days in the Desert Southwest. The high temperature in Phoenix was 110 degrees -- four degrees above a normal day on June 28, so Sunday was a bit hot even by Arizona standards.

Still, some in Eastern Washington could have headed there to cool off as the region baked in a historical heat wave.

An incredibly hot air mass destroyed high temperature records across Eastern Washington, not only reaching unheard of levels in June, but approaching some all-time heat records as we sit still four weeks short of the statistical peak of summer heat.

Dozens of temperature records broken Saturday

Dozens of temperature records broken Saturday
June 27, 2015. Seattle, Wash. KOMO PHOTOS

The heat wave Saturday wasn't just impressive for the actual temperature readings, but for the time of year. Some of the temperature readings observed across the Pacific Northwest are usually reserved for the peak heat of the summer.

Some spots in Oregon and southeastern Washington broke not just daily temperature records, but all-time June records!

Here are a list of record reports from the various offices of the National Weather Service:

What causes those 'Jellyfish' type clouds spotted over the South Sound?

What causes those 'Jellyfish' type clouds spotted over the South Sound?
Photo courtesy: Kelsey Holloway from near Olympia on June 26, 2015.

The sight is a bit surreal -- floating clouds that look a bit like jellyfish floating in the skies over the South Sound. An alien species?

No, something much more mundane -- just regular atmospheric physics at work.

Why you can escape this weekend's heat, but not next weekend's

Why you can escape this weekend's heat, but not next weekend's

Seattle is set to reach the 90s this weekend, but there is relief to be found by making a jaunt to the coast where it's expected to stay in the 70s, or far North Sound where it'll stay in the low 80s. It'll be spread of temperatures similar to the last time Seattle reached the upper 80s in early June.

But a second heat event scheduled for the end of next week into the following weekend also has Seattle set to reach the 90s, only this time, there will be no escape. Even the coast will bake in the upper 80s and 90s.

How does the coast get off scot free in one heat event but not the other? It's all on the wind, or lack thereof.

Northern Lights make for brilliant show over Pacific Northwest

Northern Lights make for brilliant show over Pacific Northwest
Photo: Holly Davison Photography

Northern Lights possible Monday night, and other weather tidbits

Northern Lights possible Monday night, and other weather tidbits
Northern Lights come out early on the morning of June 23, 2015. (Photo courtesy: AlpineMike's Outdoor Photography.

UPDATE! The Northern Lights did come out Monday night!!! Here is my blog with the budding gallery of photos - incliding the one above taken by AlpineMike's Outdoor Photography. Thanks so much to all who stayed up so late to get photos!

A sunny and 76 degree day around Seattle might seem rather mundane, but we actually have quite a bit going on in the weather department that is worth noting.

Probably the most exciting is a strong geomagnetic storm that is in progress Monday and holds promise to last through Monday night -- at least long enough to get it dark around here.

8 days of 90s in Seattle in 2 weeks?!? Why 15-day forecasts don't work

8 days of 90s in Seattle in 2 weeks?!? Why 15-day forecasts don't work
Sun sets in Seattle on June 19, 2015. Photo by Mark Ashmun.

You can give them an A for effort, but a C- in execution…

While weather forecasting technology has made several important advancements over the past few years, the ability to get a good, consistently accurate forecast beyond 7 days still remains rather elusive.

A few time lapse videos that will knock your socks off

Photographers have been busy getting some great shots of Mother Nature lately, both locally and around the globe.

Let's start locally -- I'm sure many of you saw the incredible sunset Wednesday night. Well, Michael Reid did the photos one better by capturing a time lapse video of the sunset from his perch high atop the Columbia Center (video above).

Seattle warm stretch to last into September ... 2016?!?

Seattle warm stretch to last into September ... 2016?!?
Sun rises over Seattle on June 16, 2015. (Photo: Meg McDonald.)

It's the third Thursday of the month, or as Seattle meteorologists are starting to know it as: "The day the new long range maps come out and say the same thing as last month's did."

Yes, it's time for the update to the monthly 30- and 90-day seasonal outlooks, and yes, it's pretty much the same as June's. And May's. And April's. And... you get the picture. At least for the temperature part.

Shifting winds to present extra challenge to U.S. Open golfers

Shifting winds to present extra challenge to U.S. Open golfers
Beau Hossler, amateur, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The entire focus of the golfing world will be on the Puget Sound region this week, with the U.S. Open taking place at University Place's Chambers Bay golf course from Thursday through Sunday.

While the beauty of the region will certainly be a topic of discussion during the broadcasts, I'm sure our rather soggy/cool reputation will come up once or thrice as well.

But while you might think rain would be the biggest challenge golfers might have assumed when they started plotting their strategy of playing a Pacific Northwest course (and it will, at least a little bit) it turns out it's the wind that could have a far greater effect on their scores.

Some of the golfers have already experienced the fickle Puget Sound weather in the practice rounds this week.

When is a rainbow a 'sun dog' and when is it a 'halo'?

When is a rainbow a 'sun dog' and when is it a 'halo'?
Photo of a sun dog spotted over the Olympic Mountains, taken by Tim Durkan on June 16, 2015.

Tuesday was quite the weather variety show, with cirrus clouds floating around creating several different but colorful effects in the sky.

The sights were all in the same realm -- a small rainbow floating in the sky with nary a rain shower to be found - but they have different names depending on how they were created.

'Fire Rainbows' dot the skies over Puget Sound region

'Fire Rainbows' dot the skies over Puget Sound region
Photo courtesy: Jen Brazas

The thin, wispy clouds floating around the Puget Sound region Monday usually do nothing more than give the blue skies a little bit of character.

But today, they were giving the skies a little bit of color.

UW's Cliff Mass: 'Blob' of warm Pacific Ocean waters has returned

UW's Cliff Mass: 'Blob' of warm Pacific Ocean waters has returned
Sun sets over Seattle on June 10, 2015. (Photo: Sigma Sreedharan)

It's baaaaack....

Not that we really missed it, but the large 'blob' of warm waters off the Pacific Coast is strengthening again, and the main reason why the forecasts have been steadfast in maintaining our persistently warm weather patterns, according to University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass.

The original 'blob' -- the moniker the UW weather department has given it -- has been there since the fall of 2013. It had faded a little bit last fall, but here it comes again.