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."
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.
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?
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.
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.