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Seattle well on its way to coldest April on record

Seattle well on its way to coldest April on record
Visibility web camera shows a grey Seattle on April 25, 2011. (Image courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency)

You know it's been a cold month when we rattle off a sunny and 66 degree day and we're still well on pace to break the record for coldest April in Seattle history, be it based on measurements from Sea-Tac or the Federal Building.

Of course, a glance out the window this week will explain why.

Seattle is easily on pace to not only break, but shatter its record for coldest April on record.

As of Monday, Seattle's average high for the month was 51.88 degrees -- nearly a full degree colder than the record coldest month of 52.6 degrees set in 1970 at Sea-Tac Airport. But even going back to the late 1800s, the coldest April was also 52.6 degrees at the Federal Building in 1917.

How likely is the record going to be broken? Seattle would have to average 56.2 degrees for a high each day Tuesday through Saturday to climb to a tie. And our forecast shows about the only day with any hope of getting there is Saturday at 57 degrees. Put another way, if we did hit our forecasted high each day through the 29th, Saturday's high would have to be in the upper 70s.

(For those of you who want to play along at home, we need the next five days' highs (including Tuesday) to total 281 degrees to reach 52.6 degrees.)

Here are the Top 5 coldest Aprils at Sea-Tac Airport:

  1. 52.6 degrees in 1970
  2. 52.83 degrees in 1955
  3. 53.53 degrees in 1954
  4. 53.6 degrees in 1967
  5. 53.67 degrees in 1961

The average high temperature in April is 57.4 degrees. The warmest is 63.1 degrees set in 1977.

To clean up some of the other lingering statistics: Saturday did count as an official sunny day in Seattle -- rating a '2' on the 0-10 cloud cover scale and we need 3 or less for a sunny day. That ended a streak of 56 days of partly cloudy or worse (a rating of 4 or higher).

While Saturday's high temperature of 66 degrees means this April was not the first on record to go without a 60 degree day, we are still on pace to set the record of fewest 60 degrees days at one. The previous record was two, set in 1954.

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