Firefighters, by the nature of their job, already have one of the hottest jobs you could imagine. But what about when Mother Nature brings blazing temperatures on the outside as well?
When a massive fire broke out in an apartment building on Queen Anne Hill on July 1 , firefighters were called in from as far away as Redmond, Shoreline and Bellevue as temperatures were sitting at 90 degrees. Why so many firefighters from all over? To make sure there were plenty on hand to rotate in and out so firefighters didn't overheat.
And with 90 degrees suddenly common this summer around Seattle, I wondered how local fire departments were dealing with the relentless heat, and how they manage to keep firefighters cool when their surroundings are burning up.
Here's is a current tally of the number of 80+, 85+ and 90+ degree days as measured at Sea-Tac Airport.
The skies opened up, the rains poured down, and Seattle obliterated a record for wettest July 26th on record with nearly an inch of rain in a few hours!
Were you actually in Seattle Sunday and are wondering, "what's Scott typing about? It rained for a few minutes, but record?!?" you're not alone.
You've probably already heard the news, especially if you've read my blog anytime in the past six months, that El Nino is here and getting stronger. Scientists say there is a greater than 90 percent chance of El Nino this winter and an 80 percent chance it lasts into the spring.
El Nino's around here have a hallmark of bringing a winter that's not only warmer than usual but drier than usual as well. This plus the infamous "warm blob" of ocean heat offshore and this winter may already be a lost cause for much in the way of lowland snow and puts serious doubts into getting much in the way of mountain snow either.
Sunday's scattered thunderstorms probably qualified as a relatively stormy day around, here, especially by Northwest standards. Some spots had some torrential rain, and we had a few reports of hail, none super large though.
Western Washington is fortunate that our marine climate makes actual severe weather systems just about impossible to form; and what thunderstorms we get pale in comparison to just about any other thunderstorm you'd find east of the Cascades.
Not that many around here use an umbrella to begin with, but if we did, they would probably be mechanically worn out this weekend, at least if you lived around Everett.
A weak Puget Sound Convergence Zone hung out over a narrow band of Snohomish County from start to finish Saturday, but like a 2-year-old at a restaurant, it wasn't content to just sit still.
The zone was only a few miles wide and drifted north and south from about the King-Snohomish County line back up into Downtown Everett… and back again as the corresponding north and south winds pushed back and forth like a tug of war.
We're in the midst of one of the hottest and driest summers in recent memory. Seattle hadn't had measurable rain since June 28 and hasn't had significant rain since June 1. The last time it rained on a weekend? April 25.
So naturally, one of the weekends it rarely rains is the one weekend when it does rain.
The last weekend in July is statistically the driest in Seattle with the first weekend in August no slouch. It's rained only about 9-12 times in the past 122 years on those dates -- or about once every 10 years.
In soggy Seattle, that's the best odds you can ask for. That's why Seafair's biggest events are this time of year; why Torchlight Parade is this Saturday evening and why savvy locals know to rush to book their outdoor wedding or party the instant the last weekend in July becomes available on the venue's calendar.
We're coming up on 17 months in a row with above normal temperatures on average, and several of those months have been the warmest on record in Seattle. This summer, we've had dozens of days in the 80s, already the second-most 90-degree days on record with August still to come. The coldest low temperature we've had in the entire month of July? 57. The average low is 55.
People have been asking me why has it been so warm for so long? Well, NOAA did me a favor and sent out this handy graphic which shows exactly why: The warm Pacific Ocean.
Scott's note: It's SHARKNADO DAY! Sharknado 3 airs tonight at 9pm on the SyFy Network. To celebrate, the blog today has encore entry from when the first one aired two years ago. And if you want to watch the latest installment along with me, I'll be Live Tweeting during the show on my Twitter page @ScottsKOMO
Story originally published July 12, 2013:
Social media and water coolers were abuzz Friday with the next DVD blockbuster sci-fi (emphasis on the 'fi') movie "Sharknado" that aired on the Sy-Fy channel Thursday night.
But this jaw-dropping (jaw-clenching?) story brought up an important facet of meteorological studies that have been historically and woefully underfunded: The science of shark-infested tornadoes from hurricanes that strike the Pacific Coast of the United States.
OK, I admit it, I'm cheating the headline. It's nearly the same headline I wrote last month in my blog, only it said September instead of October. But the new monthly maps have been updated, and -- surprise -- the warm blobs in the forecast remain intact through not just this fall, but next autumn as well.
In the short term, there still remains very high confidence the Northwest will have a hot remainder of summer, and, well, it was sure right about the first part of summer.
We've already had as many hot days so far this year than we average in an entire year, shattered the record for hottest June on record, and the first half of July in on the pace to set the same record (although there are some signs July will back off the flamethrower switch after the weekend. More on that in a bit.) In fact, if the second half of July were to mirror the first half, we'd be talking about hottest month in Seattle history! (But as I just teased, that seems unlikely.)