Weather Blog

Seattle nearly sets new mark for temperature whiplash

Seattle nearly sets new mark for temperature whiplash
Mt. Baker peeks out behind I-90 on a sunny day in Seattle on July 1, 2014.

Talk about flash in the pan...

Seattle's 94-degree "heat wave" lasted all of 24 hours this week, as a thermal trough quickly built up then was shoved east of the Cascades before it even had a chance to buy a postcard.

I was actually quite surprised that Seattle reached 94 after only reaching 78 degrees the day before. Usually Seattle needs a better springboard the day before to reach into the 90s the following day, although there are a handful of dates it reached 90+ while being in the 70s before.

June ends with some peculiar weather statistics for Seattle

June ends with some peculiar weather statistics for Seattle
Mt. Rainier looms large behind Seattle's skyline on June 30, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Visibility Camera)

As we turn the page into the first of our two summer stalwart months, June ends with a few interesting Seattle weather statistics in its wake:

* The temperature didn't reach 80 for the month -- just the fourth time in Sea-Tac history that May has reached 80 degrees but June did not. It's the only time May has reached 85 degrees (May 1) and June then didn't reach 80. (Not to worry, July 1 easily got that 80 degree reading out of the way -- and 90+ too while it was at it.)

Could the ''No 90s'' curse of July 1st be broken?

Could the ''No 90s'' curse of July 1st be broken?

Update: Stand aside everyone and let July 1st into the club! It did reach 90 degrees on Tuesday, finally getting July 1 with a record high at 90 or warmer.

Correction: I've been stating that July 10th also did not have a record high at 90 and above, but it turns out that is not the case. Most online NOAA records go back to 1948, but there are three years of records at Sea-Tac Airport from 1945-1948 that are not online. Turns out, July 10, 1945 hit 90 degrees. So, everyone's in the club!

We always pick on July 4th around here -- it's statistically the rainiest day of the month! And since it's arguably the most important outdoor day of the month, it gets a lot of attention when the weather doesn't cooperate.

But at least July 4th can say one thing: It's been over 90 degrees in Seattle before.

It's a claim that July 1st can't make. In fact, it's one of only two days in July never to hit 90. (July 10 is the other). Seattle has hit 90 as early as May 17th but never on the 1st of July.

Long range forecasts still portend warm summer -- and winter -- for Northwest

Long range forecasts still portend warm summer -- and winter -- for Northwest
Mt. Rainier as seen from Centennial Park on June 25, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Sigma Sreedharan Photography‎)

The monthly updates to the long-range seasonal forecasts came out a few days ago and sure enough, they are sticking to their guns of a warmer summer for the Pacific Northwest. But also new creeping into the forecast: A moderately strong signal now that the winter will experience a similar fate.

Now, you might be thinking: "Hey, wait a minute, they said the same thing about May and June and it was wrong!"

Actually, it was right. Despite May being a bit wetter than normal, it was indeed warmer than normal -- Seattle ended up a full 3.1 degrees above normal, buoyed by four days at 80 or warmer. Even June so far is running about a degree above normal, even though we have yet to reach 80 this month.

Brilliant 'fire rainbows' make multiple appearances around Puget Sound region

Brilliant 'fire rainbows' make multiple appearances around Puget Sound region
Photo of Circumhorizontal arc as seen from Auburn, Wash. on June 22, 2014. (Courtesy: Nicole Jones)

June 21 not only brings the start of summer but it also brings the peak of the "fire rainbow" season, as evidenced lately by three separate sightings of the brilliant and colorful displays around the Puget Sound region these past few days.

Fire rainbows, or more officially (and more boringly) known as "circumhorizonal arcs" are caused by ice crystals in the thin, distant clouds being at just the correct angle to refract the sunlight into the colors of the prism.

*Sniff,* they grow up so fast: Bellevue, Bremerton get their own NWS forecast

*Sniff,* they grow up so fast: Bellevue, Bremerton get their own NWS forecast
Photo by Flickr user rutlo.

Thursday marked a momentous day in the meteorological history of Bremerton and Bellevue. (OK, so "momentous" might be a bit of an exaggeration...)

After years of having to share with Seattle and the Foothills, Bremerton and Bellevue now get their own fancy individual forecast on the region's "Zone Forecast" product from the local National Weather Service office in Seattle.

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?
Shore Acres State Park in Oregon (Photo courtesy Flickr user Doug Kerr. (Via CC 2.0 license.)

Would you like to live in a place where no matter what the weather is, be it sunshine, pouring rain, or a foggy overcast, the temperature is about the same?

All you have to do is head west, stop just before you get pummeled by ocean surf, then either put in your tent stakes or, more comfortably, talk to a local real estate agent.

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station
We flew over a big tropical cyclone “Guito” near Madagascar this morning. (Photo & Caption courtesy Koichi Wakata (@Astro_Wakata) and NASA)

3 gorgeous sunsets and a burst of Northern Lights

3 gorgeous sunsets and a burst of Northern Lights
Northern Lights shine over Puget Sound as seen from Mukilteo waterfront on June 6, 2014. (Photo: Liem Bahneman)

The clear skies of the past few nights have allowed it to be quite the easel for some pretty impressive shows.

Especially Saturday night, when a moderate solar flare brought a semi-rare viewing of the Northern Lights to the Puget Sound area.

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail
A home's siding is torn off after being blistered by large hail and strong winds in Hooper, Nebraska on June 3, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Kevin Krohn )

If it was in Mother Nature's playbook, it was used against parts of Nebraska Tuesday evening: Torrential rain, constant lightning, near-hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, and tennis ball-sized hail...

Pretty much all at the same time.

Let's start with the torrential rain as I was wide-eyed watching the rainfall numbers come in from Omaha.

The storm began with quite the punch, bringing a burst of rainfall and a gust of wind that was clocked at 72 mph!

The rain just kept going from there, which included jaw-dropping rainfall rates that saw over a half-inch of rain (0.53") fall in 3 minutes! That's 0.01" of rain per 3.4 seconds.

Study: Male hurricane names taken more seriously than female ones

Study: Male hurricane names taken more seriously than female ones
Hurricane Isaac over the Gulf of Mexico as seen from a NASA satellite. (Photo courtesy NASA)

I have to admit, I never really give much thought to hurricane names, especially since we don't have to deal with them out here. Since 1979, names have alternated between male and female names and run on a six-year rotation, so that this year's list is nearly identical to the one that ran in 2008, save for any names that get retired when they cause destruction.

The World Meteorological Organization chooses the names -- how a name makes the list is secret but it has to be easy to understand and come from names that represent the cultures of the areas affected. (So for example, in the Caribbean, you have a mix of English, Spanish, Dutch and French names on the hurricane list in deference to the nationalities represented in the many islands there.)

Current snowpack at Paradise Ranger Station among best in last 31 years

Current snowpack at Paradise Ranger Station among best in last 31 years
About 135" of snow sit at Paradise Ranger Station along Mt. Rainier on June 1, 2014 (Photo: National Parks Services Web Camera)

And to think in January, we were worried our mountains were going to go bare..

With the massive rally in February and a continued occasionally chilly pattern, the snowpack up at Mt. Rainier's Paradise Ranger Station is not only healthy, but among the best in the past few decades.