I'm not sure what everyone in Forks thought they were going to wear Tuesday morning when they got up but whatever it was, it was probably the wrong choice... unless they put on their entire wardrobe.
The town has gone through a temperature roller coaster the likes that Western Washington rarely sees.
As the day dawned around 5 a.m., the thermometer read a rather chilly 49 degrees, thanks to an inversion and some cold marine air trapped on the ground. Those heading out early probably ignored forecasts of a warm day and grabbed a sweatshirt.
But as the sun got going, it busted the inversion and temperatures quickly warmed to 65 at 8 a.m.
Then came the warming east winds, courtesy of a brief visit of a thermal trough. While those east winds warm up the entire region and why the Puget Sound region was well into the 80s, for Forks, it's especially powerful because as the east winds sink down the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains, they warm even further.
At 9 a.m., it was up to 77 degrees. By 10 a.m., it's 83. Two hours later at lunchtime, it's 88, and you're probably looking really silly toting around that sweatshirt from this morning, wishing you had opted for the shorts and T-Shirt that you have buried in the closet for the 4 days a summer of searing heat.
At 1 p.m., Forks climbed to the 90 degree mark -- the hottest temperature in Western Washington and at that moment, hotter than Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Jacksonville, Boston, and Cleveland. Meanwhile, it was just 73 down the coast in Hoquiam -- and 62 in Astoria, about 185 miles apart.
Not zany enough for you? Also at 1 p.m., it was 62 degrees at La Push, about 5 miles away from Forks' reporting station.
So you finally feign a lunch-time spill on your sweatshirt, and run back to change into shorts and that T-shirt. Then the wind makes an abrupt switch to the southwest and in comes the marine air.
By 2 p.m., the temp has dropped back to 74 degrees -- a 16 degree drop in an hour. The town that 60 minutes earlier was hotter than Houston is now 2 degrees colder than Hoquiam. (The large heat crashes aren't too uncommon on days when we have a thermal trough move east and the wind shifts from east to west, but starting out so cold on those days is rare.)
The temperature holds at 73 degrees at 3 p.m. so, now that it's starting to feel a bit cool again, you run home to make amends with that sweatshirt you just scorned...
Only to find it's now threatening to rain outside, just two hours after it was a sunny, 90 degrees!
The threat passes with only "virga" (rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground) but you're not taking any chances now, so you take the sweatshirt and the rain jacket and head back out, only to now find the marine wind has died down and the temperature has jumped back up 10 degrees to 83 at 4 p.m.
But don't wait for it to hit 90 again, because it just dropped to 77 degrees at 5 p.m.
77's not so bad, right? Guess at least that rain jacket was silly, so I'll go put that back and...
...what's that on the window? Raindrops? Really? Now it's really raining? Yep, it's officially raining at 6 o'clock with the temperature down to 72. No wait, it just stopped raining and it's back to 77...
So if you happen to be in Forks Tuesday evening and you see a whole lot of people in sweatshirts and shorts with perhaps an umbrella in a hand at the ready, you'll now know why...