Weather Blog

Scott Sistek

Meteorologist

Scott Sistek
Scott Sistek
Meteorologist
Originally from Port Angeles, Scott has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life and graduated from the University of Washington in 1994 with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences. He started at KOMO as Steve Pool's weather producer two days later. His duties quickly expanded to writing the daily evening online forecast and now for the past 6+ years has been the author of the Partly to Mostly Bloggin' Weather Blog. Scott also has additional duties here as a news web content producer.

Recent stories by Scott Sistek

Weather Seattle was oh-so-close to having an officially wet July Seattle was oh-so-close to having an officially wet July
The skies opened up, the rains poured down, and Seattle obliterated a record for wettest July 26th on record with nearly an inch of rain in a few hours!

Were you actually in Seattle Sunday and are wondering, "what's Scott typing about? It rained for a few minutes, but record?!?" you're not alone.
Weather This video shows why Midwesterners laugh at Seattle storms This video shows why Midwesterners laugh at Seattle storms (Video)
Sunday's scattered thunderstorms probably qualified as a relatively stormy day around, here, especially by Northwest standards. Some spots had some torrential rain, and we had a few reports of hail, none super large though.

Western Washington is fortunate that our marine climate makes actual severe weather systems just about impossible to form; and what thunderstorms we get pale in comparison to just about any other thunderstorm you'd find east of the Cascades.
Weather Worldwide strengthening El Nino giveth and taketh away Worldwide strengthening El Nino giveth and taketh away
You've probably already heard the news, especially if you've read my blog anytime in the past six months, that El Nino is here and getting stronger. Scientists say there is a greater than 90 percent chance of El Nino this winter and an 80 percent chance it lasts into the spring.

El Nino's around here have a hallmark of bringing a winter that's not only warmer than usual but drier than usual as well. This plus the infamous "warm blob" of ocean heat offshore and this winter may already be a lost cause for much in the way of lowland snow and puts serious doubts into getting much in the way of mountain snow either.
Weather Restless Convergence Zone brings rain 15 different times to Everett Restless Convergence Zone brings rain 15 different times to Everett
Not that many around here use an umbrella to begin with, but if we did, they would probably be mechanically worn out this weekend, at least if you lived around Everett.

A weak Puget Sound Convergence Zone hung out over a narrow band of Snohomish County from start to finish Saturday, but like a 2-year-old at a restaurant, it wasn't content to just sit still.

The zone was only a few miles wide and drifted north and south from about the King-Snohomish County line back up into Downtown Everett… and back again as the corresponding north and south winds pushed back and forth like a tug of war.
Weather Weekend rain showers dripping with irony for Seattle Weekend rain showers dripping with irony for Seattle
We're in the midst of one of the hottest and driest summers in recent memory. Seattle hadn't had measurable rain since June 28 and hasn't had significant rain since June 1. The last time it rained on a weekend? April 25.

So naturally, one of the weekends it rarely rains is the one weekend when it does rain.

The last weekend in July is statistically the driest in Seattle with the first weekend in August no slouch. It's rained only about 9-12 times in the past 122 years on those dates -- or about once every 10 years.

In soggy Seattle, that's the best odds you can ask for. That's why Seafair's biggest events are this time of year; why Torchlight Parade is this Saturday evening and why savvy locals know to rush to book their outdoor wedding or party the instant the last weekend in July becomes available on the venue's calendar.
Weather Why has it been so warm so long? This picture says 1,000 words Why has it been so warm so long? This picture says 1,000 words
We're coming up on 17 months in a row with above normal temperatures on average, and several of those months have been the warmest on record in Seattle. This summer, we've had dozens of days in the 80s, already the second-most 90-degree days on record with August still to come. The coldest low temperature we've had in the entire month of July? 57. The average low is 55.

People have been asking me why has it been so warm for so long? Well, NOAA did me a favor and sent out this handy graphic which shows exactly why: The warm Pacific Ocean.
Weather Sharknadoes -- COULD THEY HAPPEN HERE?!? Sharknadoes -- COULD THEY HAPPEN HERE?!?
Scott's note: It's SHARKNADO DAY! Sharknado 3 airs tonight at 9pm on the SyFy Network. To celebrate, the blog today has encore entry from when the first one aired two years ago. And if you want to watch the latest installment along with me, I'll be Live Tweeting during the show on my Twitter page @ScottsKOMO


Story originally published July 12, 2013:

Sharks.

Tornado.

Sharknado.

Social media and water coolers were abuzz Friday with the next DVD blockbuster sci-fi (emphasis on the 'fi') movie "Sharknado" that aired on the Sy-Fy channel Thursday night.

But this jaw-dropping (jaw-clenching?) story brought up an important facet of meteorological studies that have been historically and woefully underfunded: The science of shark-infested tornadoes from hurricanes that strike the Pacific Coast of the United States.
Weather Seattle warm stretch to last into October ... 2016?!? Seattle warm stretch to last into October ... 2016?!?
OK, I admit it, I'm cheating the headline. It's nearly the same headline I wrote last month in my blog, only it said September instead of October. But the new monthly maps have been updated, and -- surprise -- the warm blobs in the forecast remain intact through not just this fall, but next autumn as well.

In the short term, there still remains very high confidence the Northwest will have a hot remainder of summer, and, well, it was sure right about the first part of summer.

We've already had as many hot days so far this year than we average in an entire year, shattered the record for hottest June on record, and the first half of July in on the pace to set the same record (although there are some signs July will back off the flamethrower switch after the weekend. More on that in a bit.) In fact, if the second half of July were to mirror the first half, we'd be talking about hottest month in Seattle history! (But as I just teased, that seems unlikely.)
Weather Watch: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker show off for Mother Nature Watch: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker show off for Mother Nature (Video)
The mountains around here can sometimes create their own weather, and these two time lapse videos prove it.

The time lapse video above was taken by Michael Reid of Mike Reid Photography at Mt. Rainier. Note the dramatic lenticular clouds that ebb and flow as the sun rises at the state's tallest peak.
Weather Smoky skies make for surreal scenes around Northwest Smoky skies make for surreal scenes around Northwest (Photo Gallery)
If the smoky skies this week haven't been noticeable to you during the day, it's certainly been a factor in the evening sunsets, as it's been turning the sun a brilliant red the last few nights.

The smoke is coming from a massive wildfire burning near Pemberton, B.C.

Since Sunday, the upper level winds have been out of the north, pushing the smoke south across the border into Washington as you can see on this satellite image from Wednesday.

(Note the chalky gray streaming out of the mountains just across Vancouver Island on the B.C. Mainland and sinking south:)
Weather Miss Seattle's rain? This video might help... Miss Seattle's rain? This video might help... (Photo Gallery)
It's been 36 days since Seattle has had a day considered below normal…

36 days since we've last had significant rainfall…

23 days since we've last had a high below 70 degrees…

18 days since we've had a traditional cloudy day…

12 days in a row with highs above 80 degrees…

A record-tying 5 days in a row at 90 degrees…
Weather It's official: 73 percent of Seattleites DONE with this 90 degree heat It's official: 73 percent of Seattleites DONE with this 90 degree heat (Video)
It doesn't matter if it's a "dry heat" or that it might be even 15 degrees hotter somewhere else, as Seattle swelters to its record-tying fifth day in a row at 90 degrees or warmer on Sunday, a vast majority of Seattleites say they've had enough.

Seattle has been in the midst of a nearly year-and-a-half long warm spell, but it's been taken to the next level of late, with not only the hottest June on record by far but now July has started and we have yet to have a day under 90 degrees. The 92 degree reading Saturday was the hottest Independence Day on record here, and that includes 124 years of records. It's been 11 days since we've failed to reach 80 degrees, well on our way to a record there too.

Seattle's average high temperatures in the summer are in the mid-upper 70s and while days in the 80s and 90s do happen in summer, they are usually a few days here and there followed by more days in the 70s -- enough to where most don't need air conditioning. The result is that a vast majority of the region is not only sweating through the day, but sweating through the warm nights with little relief from any fans and nighttime breezes. It's the reality-show version of "Sleepless in Seattle."
Weather Giving some kudos to Weather Channel's 15 day forecast Giving some kudos to Weather Channel's 15 day forecast
Back on June 20, I wrote a blog giving the Weather Channel a hard time with its 15-day forecast of an unprecedented heat stretch in Seattle. The forecast was for 8 consecutive days at 90 degrees or warmer, which would obliterate all records for Seattle, which before in its 124 years of records had never had more than five.
Weather 4th of July doing good job in shaking rainy reputation in Seattle 4th of July doing good job in shaking rainy reputation in Seattle
As a child of the Northwest growing up, 4th of July for me always meant family fun while shivering a bit as the quick chill of the post-sunset marine breezes kicked in, occasional with rain.

Granted, a lot of those years were on the coast, not in Seattle proper, but Seattle does in fact have the distinction of the 4th of July being statistically the wettest day of the month. It's rained 34 times on Independence Day in the past 120 years -- yes, that's only 28 percent of the time as we're pretty squarely in our dry season, but just like how your parents remember walking to school in the snow uphill both ways -- never mind it was in May -- maybe my memory is more clouded than the skies have been?
Weather Would 'swamp' coolers work well on hot Seattle days? Would 'swamp' coolers work well on hot Seattle days?
As Seattle sweats through a summer that is giving signs of being among the hottest on record, those who have eschewed air conditioning (eh, it's only used 3 days a year!) or live in a place where air conditioning is not an easy option, such as high-rise condo buildings that don’t allow window units and won't work well with portable air conditioners, might now be wondering what their options are.

Some have said they tough it out with a fan in front of a bowl of ice, but that's probably getting old, especially at night as the heat stretches from days to weeks.

I've had a few people ask me if "swamp coolers" or the more technical "evaporative coolers" would work as an alternate. They're usually cheaper than an air conditioning unit, can be ordered online, and some are portable and can work in a small room, such as a bedroom, to survive the heat until September... or October. Or 2016.
Weather June doesn’t just break, but destroys several Seattle temperature records June doesn’t just break, but destroys several Seattle temperature records (Photo Gallery)
The year 1992 is remembered for a few things around here: It's when Microsoft unveiled Windows 3.1 (No more DOS!), grunge music was all the rage, the Seahawks tried their best to get the top draft pick with a 2-14 record (don't ask how it turned out)…

And it was a very toasty year, rewriting several warm weather records in Seattle.

But when the clock struck midnight Tuesday night*, almost all those records in the books got up, grabbed their stuff, and rode off into the sunset.