Weather Blog

Spring weather index bets your BBQ collected dust

shish kebob

Is your barbecue collecting dust again? It wouldn't be surprising...

Three springs ago, two Atmospheric Sciences professors at the University of Washington, Cliff Mass and Mark Albright, came up with a new way to measure the gloom of the spring of 2008: The "Barbecue Index."

Mass and Albright defined this index as the number of times since March 11 (the average date they consider the unofficial start to spring-like weather in the Northwest) it has been 60 degrees or warmer.

Why 60? They concluded that most people are comfortable outside once the temperature gets to 60 or better.

They went back to 1894 -- the farthest back they could get records for Seattle. Now, in 2008, it turned out it was among the worst ever -- just 23 days above 60. 

This year had to be worse, right? Actually, no. Believe it or not, our Barbecue Index this year was 27, including a nine-day above 60 streak to finish off the period -- but still well below the median number of 42 days. The best years were 1934 (74 out of days) and 1992 (62 days).

All time BBQ Index List:

Here is the "BBQ Index" All Time List for the 92 days between March 11 to June 10:

  1.  1934  74  
  2.  1992  69  
  3.  1941  69  
  4.  1947  66  
  5.  1940  63  
  6.  1926  61  
  7.  2004  60  
  8.  1994  60  
  9.  1915  58  
  10.  1989  58  
  11.  1979  57  
  12.  1939  57  
  13.  1995  56  
  14.  1900  56  
  15.  1935  55  
  16.  2005  54  
  17.  1987  53  
  18.  1906  52  
  19.  1914  51  
  20.  1942  51  
  21.  1907  50  
  22.  1951  50  
  23.  1936  50  
  24.  1983  50  
  25.  1949  49  
  26.  1990  49  
  27.  1993  49  
  28.  1977  49  
  29.  1897  48  
  30.  1958  48  
  31.  1956  48  
  32.  2007  48  
  33.  1944  48  
  34.  1931  48  
  35.  2006  48  
  36.  1938  47  
  37.  1910  47  
  38.  1978  47  
  39.  1976  47  
  40.  1943  47  
  41.  1946  47  
  42.  1930  47  
  43.  1997  46  
  44.  1969  46  
  45.  1973  45  
  46.  1957  45  
  47.  1898  45  
  48.  1952  45  
  49.  1968  45  
  50.  1904  45  
  51.  1945  44  
  52.  1905  44  
  53.  1988  44  
  54.  1928  44  
  55.  2009  44  
  56.  1980  43  
  57.  2000  43  
  58.  1924  42  
  59.  1895  42  
  60.  1972  42  
  61.  1937  41  
  62.  1981  41  
  63.  1966  41  
  64.  1960  41  
  65.  1963  41  
  66.  1991  41  
  67.  1965  41  
  68.  2010  41  
  69.  1998  40  
  70.  1925  40  
  71.  1919  40  
  72.  1923  39  
  73.  1974  39  
  74.  1996  39  
  75.  1982  39  
  76.  1918  39  
  77.  1932  39  
  78.  1902  39  
  79.  1901  38  
  80.  1986  38  
  81.  2003  38  
  82.  1912  38  
  83.  1985  38  
  84.  1903  36  
  85.  1950  36  
  86.  1970  36  
  87.  2001  36  
  88.  1967  35  
  89.  1975  35  
  90.  2002  35  
  91.  1948  34  
  92.  1933  34  
  93.  1962  34  
  94.  1971  34  
  95.  1954  34  
  96.  1896  33  
  97.  1961  33  
  98.  1929  33  
  99.  1913  33  
  100.  1959  33  
  101.  1964  32  
  102.  1953  32  
  103.  1927  32  
  104.  1909  31  
  105.  1916  31  
  106.  1999  31  
  107.  1984  31  
  108.  1894  30  
  109.  1921  30  
  110.  1922  29  
  111.  1911  29  
  112.  1955  27  
  113.  1899  27  
  114.  2011  27  
  115.  1920  26  
  116.  1908  23  
  117.  2008  23  
  118.  1917  18