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 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.
Weather Many moons since Seattle has set summer low temperature records Many moons since Seattle has set summer low temperature records
In keeping up with the number of weather records and interesting statistics surrounding our current warm spell, I stumbled upon something on the other end of the spectrum: How difficult it's become to set record lows in the summer.

In looking up the record high Monday when he hit 91° in Seattle (it was 95, set in 1993), the record low stuck out: 44° in 1950.
Weather Seattle meteorologists stealing a public sanity trick from Canadians? Seattle meteorologists stealing a public sanity trick from Canadians?
Seattle is in the midst of another week-plus streak of 80 degree temperatures -- the second time this summer with much of August still tied behind our back.

While there are some sun fans who love the 80s and are basking in this somewhat rare extended warm pattern, there are a vast population of long-time locals -- especially those without air conditioning -- who are longing for the days when we could see a marine cloud in the morning and a '7' on the high temperature (no, not counting when it's "87").
Weather Seattle's summer peaks Saturday, starts slow slide toward winter Seattle's summer peaks Saturday, starts slow slide toward winter
It's been a very warm and sunny summer so far with more of the same on tap for the next several days. While it hasn't been super hot, the usual cooling marine clouds have been absent in Seattle and for the many without air conditioning, the nights haven't been all that comfortable.



For those who long for cooler weather, I don't have good news in the immediate future, but there is a silver lining to Aug. 2: Seattle has reached the pinnacle of our steady climb to the warmest and driest time of year, and now, it's all downhill from here.
Weather July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac
If it seems our seemingly days-on end of 80s this past month is a bit unusual, you would be right.

This July goes down as the 2nd hottest on record at Sea-Tac Airport if you count by average temperature (high+low divided by 2) or 4th hottest if you just want to count high temperatures.
Weather Why you don't see Eastern Wash. wildfire plumes until the afternoon Why you don't see Eastern Wash. wildfire plumes until the afternoon (Photo Gallery)
Local social media posts have been perking up each afternoon noting tall plumes of clouds over the Cascades. What you're seeing are smoke and the "pyrocumulus" clouds created by the wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. The heat from the fires is its own engine for creating rising air that cools and condenses into clouds.

But why don't we normally see those clouds over here until the afternoon?
Weather 5 years ago today, Seattle baked like it never had before 5 years ago today, Seattle baked like it never had before (Video)
Those of you who were around here 5 years ago today were likely trying to find some place -- any place -- for relief from the heat.

July 29, 2009 remains the hottest day ever recorded in modern Seattle history, be it Sea-Tac Airport or the Downtown Federal Building, with a reading of 103 degrees. Some spots, like Boeing Field and the NOAA station at Sand Point, were even hotter, reaching 105 degrees. Everett hit 100, Bellingham hit 96, and Vancouver, WA took the heat prize with a 108 degree reading!
Weather Long range forecasts maintain generally warm pattern through February Long range forecasts maintain generally warm pattern through February (Photo Gallery)
For much of late winter and spring, the message has been the same by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: Expect a warmer than normal summer.

So far, July is delivering, with several days of 80s and 90s around the Pacific Northwest, and even a few triple digit days east of the Cascades. Seattle is just one spot in the region, but it's a whopping 3.0 degrees above normal so far and through Sunday, is tied for the third-hottest July on record at Sea-Tac Airport (Average temperpature (high+low/2) so far: 68.6° -- record is 69.5° in 2009; 2nd is 68.8°.)

And the forecast for this week brings a return of more warm-to-hot weather to finish off the month and potentially cement the month as 2nd warmest on record.

So what about August? Those same long-range forecasts suggest more of the same. And September. And October. And November. And...see a theme developing?