Weather Blog

44 degrees of separation

44 degrees of separation

 Do you remember what you were doing a year ago today? Probably scrambling to find air conditioning.

Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the hottest day on record at either Sea-Tac Airport or the Downtown Federal Building -- data that goes back to the late 1800s. The thermometer at Sea-Tac Airport reached an eye-popping 103 degrees, shattering Seattle's all-time record high of 100 (and thwarting our neat little statistic that Seattle was the best basis for the Fahrenheit scale -- the hottest it had been was 100 and the coldest is 0.)

However, if you account for any kind of Seattle reading, it was not the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city. That same day, Boeing Field reported a high of 105, as did the NOAA office at Sand Point. Neither is the "official" climate station for Seattle (don't ask), but are official reporting stations.

And then, there is the mystery of the high temperature on July 6, 1870. Historical records from that month show a 2 p.m. reading of 104 degrees at a station along Lake Washington. Typically the peak heat of the day is around 4-6 p.m., so it's possible it went over 105, but we'll never know as they only recorded temperature readings at 7 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. in those days.

Anyway, last year, it was into the 90s at breakfast, and the thermometer at the University of Washington read 100 degrees at 11 a.m. This year? Amid the marine clouds and drizzle, it was 56 degrees at 11 a.m. -- a full 44 degrees colder. The photo below is from their web camera atop the Atmospheric Sciences Building looking west -- the left from 2009, the right from today.

Me? I pick the 56 :)

And this just in -- apparently in Moscow (the Russia one, not the Idaho one) weather blogs (do they have those?) they can write next year how it's the one year anniversary of their hottest day ever. Today, Moscow hit 39 degrees C, making it their hottest day on record, going back 150 years. However, that "only" translates to a temperature of 102 degrees F.

("Child's play" says the web staff member sitting next to me, who is from McAllen, Texas.)

Of course, Moscow has a chance to top it as their heat wave continues. Thursday marks the 18th day in a row over 30 C, which is 86F.

I still pick the 56 :)