Weather Blog

With record warm October nearly in the books, could 2014 be Sea-Tac's warmest year on record?

With record warm October nearly in the books, could 2014 be Sea-Tac's warmest year on record?
Photo: Crooked Shadows Photography

It's seemed like a broken record of late -- the end of the month comes, and we talk about how warm the month has been. July, August, September and now October have been among the warmest on record at Sea-Tac Airport (since 1945) in all three categories: average monthly high temperature, average overall temperature and average minimum temperature.

For October, it'll end up the second-warmest by high temperature (64.6 through Oct. 30, record is 65.4 degrees in 1987, second place was 63.8 in 1965.) But by average temperature (high+low/2) and average low, 2014 is the champ -- and by quite a bit. The average October temp this year is 58.2 degrees; old record 56.4 in 1965, and average October low temp is an amazing 51.7 degrees, obliterating the old record of 49.2 degrees in 1988.

So now that we've had a string of very warm months -- so far, February is the only month that's ended up cooler than normal this year and the past four have been in the Top 5 for warmest average high temperature and Top 3 for warmest average overall temperatures, you might be wondering if we are due to set any annual temperature records.

Turns out, it's a distinct possibility!

The most difficult will be the annual record for average high temperature, currently 62.5 degrees in 1992. If Seattle were to have an average November and December for high temperature, we would end up at 62.0 degrees -- tied for third warmest year on record at Sea-Tac Airport.

To set the record, Seattle would have to have November and December combine for 7.4 degrees above normal (as in, November could be 5.4 degrees warmer and December could be 2.0, or 3.7 and 3.7, etc.). We've been averaging about 4-5 degrees above normal per month since July.

But for annual overall average temperature and annual low temperature average, we're holding strong to set the all-time records here. If November and December just end up average, we'll set the record for overall average temperature (54.6, current record 54.4 in 1995) and average low temp (47.1, record is 46.7 which is tied from 1995 and… last year.) Of course going warmer than normal and we make the record that more difficult to break in the future.

And, as we've said, all signs point to continued warmth in November and December. So looks like those temperature records should be nervous.

How are we in rainfall?

Seattle has essentially clinched the division with 10 games left on the schedule. With the storm Thursday, we're at just short of 38 inches of rain for the year, already ahead of the annual average of about 37.5" with soggy November and December still to come.

We're at about 13 inches above normal for rainfall for the year, which if we held there, we'd end up at about 50 inches this year -- good for 3rd wettest so Top 5 seems within reach. But unlike the long range forecasts which are favorable for warmer weather to help in our temperature record quest, they are trending drier than normal as we head toward the end of the year.

Just don't look at the forecast for this week!

Flight taking longer than normal? Blame Mother Nature

Flight taking longer than normal? Blame Mother Nature

I just got back from a recent trip to Denver last week and it amazed me that my flight down there was about 35 minutes shorter than the flight coming home.

The pilot on the return trip had mentioned we were running into over 100 mph head winds on the way home and it got me to thinking: You know, you can look these things up ahead of time and get a general idea if your flight is destined to zoom to your destination like a Ferrari, or putter along like 4 cylinder compact.

Photos: Stormy skies bubble with activity

Photos: Stormy skies bubble with activity
Storm clouds over Western Washington on Oct. 23, 2014. (Photo: Shubha Tirumale Photography)

Well, Thursday will go down as quite the active day around Western Washington.

Sure, the Longview tornado got top billing, with the partial solar eclipse a close second.

But even if the skies were too cloudy for the eclipse, but not cloudy enough to spin out tornadoes, there were some amazing sights around the greater Puget Sound region.

Gust front's 0-to-60 mph time rivals turbo-charged V8s

Gust front's 0-to-60 mph time rivals turbo-charged V8s
A gust front crossing Sebec Lake in Maine is about to overrun a boater on June 9, 2011. (Photo courtesy web camera of Michael McCormack, sebeclake.net)

Scott's Note: I'm taking a few days off this week so here is an "In case you missed it" blog, originally posted on June 14, 2011. Enjoy!

It takes some of the better sports cars out there about 5-7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.

Mother Nature showed off some of her own powerful accelerations during a storm that spawned an incredible gust front in Maine last week.

Michael McCormack has a web camera situated at Sebec Lake. About 1:45 p.m., a strong gust front went through the region, and the winds went from near calm to roaring over 60 mph in seconds.

And his web camera was rolling the entire time.

Here is how he described it:

"This image sequence shows a gust front approaching and raising a lot of water from the lake surface. The 4th frame shows a boat being overtaken at the leading edge of the wind. Last image shows a treetop landed in front of the cam." He estimates based on the speed of the front, the winds were blowing at about 66 mph at the leading edge.

Here are the images he was talking about. They are taken 30 seconds apart.

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.

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.