Really, it was only a matter of time...
With this summer's heat claiming record after record after record, you had to assume some of the last stragglers to cling to the weather books were doomed.
The last big one finally gave way Wednesday.
When you think of a place to go to experience 90 degrees in the summertime, Seattle isn't likely to be one of the first few choices….or first several choices…or maybe even a thought at all. On average, Seattle gets about two 90 degree or warmer days a year; maybe three.
This year, we had that quota filled before Independence Day. In fact, Seattle's had so many 90 degree days that we're ahead of some other cities in the U.S. with more of a reputation of summer heat.
Sprites are rare and beautiful -- and a bit difficult to spot from the ground as they occur atop thunderstorms. But when you're 249 miles up in space, you get a much better viewing angle to these fairly recently discovered events.
These red spikes of light stretched about 60 miles high into the atmosphere. According to NASA, "sprites are major electrical discharges, but they are not lightning in the usual sense. Instead, they are a cold plasma phenomenon without the extremely hot temperatures of lightning that we see underneath thunderstorms. Red sprites are more like the discharge of a fluorescent tube. Bursts of sprite energy are thought to occur during most large thunderstorm events."
Jack Nichols and his friend Nate had a plan under what should have been a starry night Saturday night - wait until midnight when the quarter moon sets and it's totally black, then head up to Artist Point and get some amazing shots of the Milky Way galaxy over a majestic Mt. Baker.
That was all great, until smoke from the wildfires in Eastern Washington got in the way.
"Largely those of us on the west side have been spared, but Saturday morning the winds changed and the smoke drifted west, creating a scene that looked more like Beijing than Seattle," Nichols wrote in his blog. "Consequently, when we arrived at Artist Point, we were greeted with a bunch of smoke and a barely visible Mt. Baker. I went for a Milky Way shot anyways, as it's really unorthodox. Not too often you can barely see the mountain behind a curtain of smoke!"
The smoke layer from the massive wildfires burning in Washington has drifted over into Western Washington, and it was caught on camera.
The upper level winds shifted from the north to the east/northeast Saturday morning, blowing the smoke form the Chelan wildfire complex toward the west.