Weather Blog

Scott Sistek

Meteorologist

Scott Sistek
Scott Sistek
Meteorologist
Originally from Port Angeles, Scott graduated from the UW in 1994 with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences and has been producing weather reports for broadcast and on the Web ever since.

Recent stories by Scott Sistek

Weather Not just hot days but warm nights this summer... again Not just hot days but warm nights this summer... again
This weekend, I wrote that this "summer" - or at least the heart of it from July 1 to August 31, was the second-warmest on record at Sea-Tac Airport by average high temperature.

Turns out, we also set an all-time record for the period if you factor in average temperature, which is calculated by taking the day's high and low and diving by two. This year's average for the two months checked in at 69.2 degrees, breaking the 1967 record of 68.8 degrees.
Weather Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record (Photo Gallery)
Wow, what a warm summer it's been. July started it off being the 4th warmest on record by average high temperature (2nd warmest by overall average temperature) and August picked up the baton and just kept going.

This August will finish up the 5th warmest on record by average high temperature at 79.5 degrees. It's a far cry from the record hottest August (83.7 degrees in 1967) but then again, second place was 80.3 so all years are a far cry from 1967.

So individually, the months were pretty impressive, but combined, it's even moreso.
Weather Updated forecasts still say mild, dry winter on tap for Seattle Updated forecasts still say mild, dry winter on tap for Seattle (Photo Gallery)
First off, let me start this blog by saying if you're a skier, snowboarder, or big winter fan, you might want to skip over to the sports section. Happier news in Seattle there these days.

For those who have the stomach to continue, the new August version of the long-range 90-day forecasts issued each month by NOAA are in and while the forecasts themselves for this fall and winter haven't changed much in what they've been saying, the tone of the message is a little stronger for some months.
Weather 2014 going to end up as much hotter summer in Seattle than 2009 2014 going to end up as much hotter summer in Seattle than 2009
At least as far as recent memory goes, 2009 set quite the standard for a hot summer in Seattle. That year was home to a brutal two-week stretch of heat that peaked at 103 degrees in Seattle on July 29 and had several days over 90.

This summer hasn't been anywhere near as hot, at least as far as peak heating goes. We have four total days at 90 or warmer and a 96 degree reading earlier this month, but no real "trophy heat waves", as I call them. As in: No long stretches over 90. In fact, all our 90 degree days this year have been orphans -- just one in a row.
Weather The science behind the smell of rain The science behind the smell of rain
Ever notice there's a distinct smell right after it starts raining?

It's most noticeable when it's been dry for a long while and the shower is fairly heavy. My wife, who grew up in Arizona, referred to this as the "wet rock" smell and there is some truth to it as it's rock that's among the main culprits for giving off the smell.
Weather Seattle on pace for hottest July-August in Sea-Tac history Seattle on pace for hottest July-August in Sea-Tac history
Seattle has already notched the fourth-warmest July on record by average high temperature (second warmest by average temperature), but apparently this summer has its sights set on loftier goals.

As of Monday night's data, August was also on pace to be the second-warmest August at Sea-Tac Airport, currently sitting at an average high of 81.7 degrees. The record is a lofty 83.7 degrees so we'd need to really turn up the burners to reach that record.
Weather By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm
It's been a very dry summer in Seattle, unless you count the 2 1/2 days it wasn't. Both July and August will go down as having above normal rainfall despite only having measurable rain on six days out of 44 days-- and thee of those rainy days were 0.02" or less.

Here's how Tuesday night/Wednesday morning's rain storm matched up:
Weather How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days
As temperatures soared into the 90s Monday -- Seattle hit 96 degrees, breaking the record high and making for the hottest day since Aug. 15, 2010 -- many longtime Seattleites were ready to wave the white flag. It's been an unusually hot summer and even though we don't have many "trophy" heat days of us broiling well into the 90s for a few days here and there, it's been a slow cook with several days in the 80s.

We've got about another month on the calendar where Seattle can get this warm but let's "take the temperature" of the summer so far.
Weather Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15% Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%
Maybe El Niño isn't such the slam dunk it seemed a few months ago?

Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center – the people in charge of watching for El Niño and La Nina, among many other things – have dropped their chances of El Niño developing this fall and winter to 65 percent from 80 percent.

Granted, that's like saying a football team that was a 14 point favorite to win is now just an 11 point favorite – still a pretty good chance it'll happen. Just not as much as before.

But if nothing else, the trend is interesting.
Weather Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii? Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii? (Photo Gallery)
With the tropical paradise of Hawaii bracing for Hurricane Iselle later Thursday, I've had quite a number of people email and ask why we're not calling the storm "Typhoon Iselle." After all, there's a similar storm just a bit farther west across the Pacific called "Typhoon Halong."

The reason is simple: Geography.