Weather Blog

Seattle summer: Now over 1,000 minutes strong

Seattle summer: Now over 1,000 minutes strong

After days of wondering whether our entire summer was going to be summed up as just over an hour, Mother Nature has come forward to tell those who like the warmer weather: "better late than never!"

Saturday and Sunday easily qualified as the hottest weekend of the year so far as each day raised the bar for the hottest temperature observed this summer. We had been holding at 84, but Seattle reached 85 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday, only to have Sunday do that two better and reach 87.

Neither was a record, but we were close -- Saturday's was 87 and Sunday's 88 degree record barely survived. (Both were set in 1966.)

But more importantly, it added some serious time to our "summer clock" that we've been keeping a tongue-in-cheek tally of -- the number of minutes Seattle has had over 80 degrees, as measured by the University of Washington.

It was stuck on 78 minutes for a while, then 351 minutes for nearly a month after a singular warm day on July 24, followed by weeks of cooler weather. But those Seattleites longing for toasty weather finally got to experience several hours of 80-plus degree this weekend -- reaching 4 hours and 32 minutes on Saturday and another 4 hours and 22 minutes on Sunday.

So Seattle's summer clock now stands at (drumroll, please)...

1,125 minutes! (Cymbal crash)

That is nearly 19 hours of warm, Seattle sunshine. And the season's not done yet -- long range models indicate 80 degree weather is possible again as we head into next weekend. Dare we shoot for a full 24 hours?

Still well below 80s quota

By reaching 87 on Sunday, 2011 will no longer have much significance for lowest high temperature of the summer. We had been tied for second-lowest with our 84 degree maximum, but 87 puts us way down the chart. Although Seattle climate guru Jason Phelps tells me Seattle had never set its first 85 degree day this late in the season before.

The weekend were also the sixth and seventh day over 80 this year -- still leaving Seattle a far cry from its annual 25 days over 80 or more on average, but at least getting us further away from record territory (2, set in 1950). Seattle also finally notches two days in the 85 or warmer category -- we average 10.

But then again, maybe we're still making up for two years ago, when 2009 ranked as one of the hottest summers on record. That year had 36 days over 80, 21 over 85 and seven over 90. (2010 ended up fairly close to normal).

By the way, if you're wondering how late can we see 80 degrees around here, Oct. 14 stands as our last 80 degree record high of the season.

So plenty of time to keep that summer clock ticking!

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For those who are curious, I've set up a Twitter Feed @SummerMinutes you can follow where I'm keeping daily tabs on the number of minutes of summer weather we've had in Seattle. You can also get more cool weather statistics, as always, from my main Twitter feed @ScottSKOMO or Facebook.