Weather Blog

Smile, sun fans! Warmth proves it's not your 2011 spring... or 2010... or 2008..

Smile, sun fans! Warmth proves it's not your 2011 spring... or 2010... or 2008..
Photo of rainbow arc in sky over Shelton, Wash. on May 8, 2011. (Photo: Kimberly Wheeler)

Apparently the number of sun fans smiling at the most recent forecast is infectious -- even the sky is smiling!

And why not? We haven't even hit the halfway point of May and already, Seattle has seen some warmth not seen this early in the year in at least two years.

The thermometer has already hit its first 75 degree day on May 7th, and the inaugural 80 degree temperature this year is possible over the weekend on Sunday and/or Monday. That would be May 13 and/or 14 for those scoring at home.

Let's compare that to the past two springs, which have probably done wonders to the California and Arizona real estate markets (or, at least, added a few Washington plates to their highways.)

Our first 70 degree days came back on Easter Sunday (April 8). Last year, we had to wait until May 20th, which was just three days short of the record of May 23. But we were oh, so close from shattering that record. Sea-Tac hit 70 for just a couple of minutes that day. Had Seattle only reached 69, the record would have extended until June 4th!!

How about 75 degrees? In 2011, our first 75 degree day didn't come until June 4th -- the fourth-longest wait in Sea-Tac history. But it was still probably seen as a blessing, because in 2010, we set a record-long wait until June 23 -- a full 6 weeks and change later than this year.

As for 80 degrees? The past two years, we had to wait until July -- July 2 in 2011(sixth longest) and July 7 in 2010 (tied 2nd longest wait). The 2011 wait was actually 301 days between 80 degrees (4th longest stretch). This year, we're again looking at 6 weeks earlier for the first 80, and the wait will "only" be 233 days if we hit 80 on Sunday.

Now, those of us with short memories have probably forgotten about 2009, which was one of the hottest summers on record, with the 103 degree all-time record as the trophy. (In fact, that stretch of weather was so hot for so long, it holds the top two spots for "hottest week in Seattle" because it was an 8 day stretch where Day 1 and Day 8 were identical.)

But then again, the spring of 2008 was also a bit chilly -- Check out this blog post from back then showing that 2008's June was setting records for persistent chill, no matter what the advertising executives thought.

We can probably blame La Nina for the past two springs, but even though La Nina is dead now, I suspect it's not an exact correlation to this spring's sudden rediscovery of warmer temperatures as it takes a while for La Nina to wind down.

In fact, a cold, chilly spring is still pestering another part of the planet -- Seattle's climate sister: The United Kingdom. An article in UK's Daily Express bemoans a "depressingly cold" snap for next week with even snow in the higher northern hills near Scotland "as the miserable weather continues to put summer on hold."

We feel for you, Scotland. Been there, done that. Probably bought a T-Shirt.

Back here, there are no signs of any May or June gloom -- extended forecasts keep it generally warmer and sunnier than normal, enough for the sunshine to put on some shows while it has the stage to itself:

Weather Education Day is May 23!

Join me at Safeco Field this Wednesday, May 23 as I'll be part of Weather Education Day! Deadline to register is May 20. Find out more information at mariners.com/weather

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