Sun fans, do you need some rays of hope to make these mostly cloudy days seem more like partly sunny?
You all know how this spring has been. And the forecast for the next 1-2 weeks isn't looking all that much different.
So, who can blame you if you think we are doomed to keep the gray around through the summer and that sunshine has already surrendered until 2012? But there have been a few instances in the past where a cold and rainy spring has quickly turned around into quite the warm and sunny summer.
Let's take a peek:
First off, we had to wait a very long time for our first 70-degree day of the year, which eventually arrived on May 20th -- tied for second-longest wait on record. The longest wait to 70 degrees was May 23, set in 2003.
Ironically, the summer of 2003 holds the record -- by a longshot -- for consecutive days *above* 70 degrees: 61, set between July 8 and September 6. The second longest stretch was 49 days set in 1958.
Also on that late 70 list was 1967 -- home of the hottest August on record -- and 1961 -- home of the second-hottest August on record. (Never mind that the second place we tied with, 1948, was the second *coldest* August on record.)
For the second year in a row, we had to wait until June to get our first 75-degree day. June 4, 2011 now ranks fourth behind last year's record of June 23. But second place on that list was 1991 -- that also turned out to be a hot summer with July, August and especially September all well above normal. And sixth place (May 28) was 1981 -- which had stretches of some of the hottest summer weather on record, including the longest stretch of 90+ degree days ever (5) and the 5th hottest August on record.
Or maybe it won't lead to the hottest summer on record, but there is hope of at least a return to normalcy. I wrote this tongue and cheek article in June, 2008 amidst another chilly spring. That summer ended up about spot-on average. (Perhaps it just means we're a year away. The following summer set all sorts of records during our extended heat wave of July-August 2009, including the 103 degree reading on July 29 and the record for hottest 7-day period in Seattle history.)
Now, just because one season is similar to another doesn't mean the rest of the year will follow the same script. And sure, for the rain fans, there is anecdotal evidence it could still turn out to just stay cool: A lot of records we're trending close to this spring mimic 1955, which was not only one of the cooler summers on record but is also the coldest year overall on record. But sun fans deserve some hope and hopefully this blog entry fits the bill. And if this summer doesn't pan out the early long range climate forecasts for the summer of 2012 are looking a bit more promising.