The Pacific Northwest is unique in that when we get our rare heat waves, they end rather tranquilly.
That's unlike the Midwest and East Coast heat waves where many times, the cooler temperatures come at the price of a severe thunderstorm or two.
But Sunday, the heat wave in Port Angeles came to a crashing end with...sunshine and a wind gust of 16 mph.
My parents live on the bluff in there, and are well versed in these quick cool downs in the summer when a thermal trough moves to their east. So when I told them the cool breeze was ready to come west down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, they were ready to help document the cool down.
My dad has a Davis weather station on the roof, but also stuck out a little hand-held thermometer outside on the deck as well.
At 1:29 p.m., the portable thermometer read 87 degrees -- admittedly not terribly accurate as it was probably getting some sun effect, but his weather station, which is sun shielded, was reading around 80 degrees. It was also reading an east wind, which blows that heat in from the interior and keeps the cool ocean breezes at bay -- really the only times Port Angeles ever gets hotter than 75.
But on the days the heat wave will break, they can see it coming. The photo above was taken around that 1:29 p.m. and you can see the dark ripples on the water signifying an approaching wind from the west.
Seven minutes later, the hand-held temperature had registered a drop of 24 degrees! His weather station, probably more accurate, registered the drop at about 20 degrees. He was on the phone with me and I was live Tweeting the temperature drops:
Port Angeles (KCLM) will be the city to watch today - rapid cooling midday as the wind shifts from E to W. My Dad is there ready to report— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
Dad reports west wind ripple at Angeles Point. Should be in Port Angeles in 15-20 mins. Temp now 79.6. Expect ~60° in an hour.— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
Marine push just hit Port Angeles. -- Wind west 16 knots. Temp was 79.8 at last tweet, now 67.9 and dropping every few seconds— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
63.6 now. Was 79.8 about four minutes ago in Port Angeles— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
61.2 in Pt. Angeles (it's like watching the Dow drop!)— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
Aaaannnnddd: 59.8 now in Port Angeles. 20 degree drop in 6 minutes— Scott Sistek (@ScottSKOMO) August 5, 2012
His weather station eventually bottomed out at 58.6 degrees at 1:49 p.m. where it had been 80.1 degrees at 1:12 p.m. Amazing!
That drop is the signal that cooler weather is coming to Seattle and the interior as well. So usually I cheer when my Dad calls with the good news -- just one more day of Seattle heat!