Weather Blog

Northwest wildfires take 'shine' out of Midwestern sunshine

Northwest wildfires take 'shine' out of Midwestern sunshine
Photo: Jonathan Yuhas, KSTP-TV.

The wildfires raging across Washington, Oregon and Idaho are not only bringing a dense, smoky haze to much of the area just to the east of the Cascades, but its effects are being felt over 1,000 miles away across the Upper Midwest.

Jonathan Yuhas, a meteorologist with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, noted that skies over Minnesota have taken a "frosty haze" to them ever since the wildfires have erupted here in the Northwest.

Seattle's break from heat wave comes with a price for Central Washington

Seattle's break from heat wave comes with a price for Central Washington
The view from near Leavenworth, Wash. as the Chiwaukum Creek fire continues to burn. (Photo courtesy: Dominic Urbano, FallenLeafImaging.com, Leavenworth WA" Backlink to appreciated but not required.

Many of us in Western Washington are breathing a sigh of relief that our days-long stretch of 80-90 degree weather is coming to an end.

But one region's relief is another region's pain. The process that is cooling down Western Washington is wreaking havoc in Central Washington and the firefighting efforts over there.

How to celebrate 12 straight days of 80s in Seattle? In song!

How to celebrate 12 straight days of 80s in Seattle? In song!
Photo: Joshua Lewis, KOMONews.com

With a late surge of warm air Thursday, Seattle managed to reach 80 degrees again -- the 12th day in a row with highs at 80 or warmer.

It's the second-longest such streak at Sea-Tac Airport, tying a streak in August of 1967 and coming up three days short of the all time record of 15 set in 1977.

Forget Kevin Bacon, Washington had 50 degrees of separation Wednesday

Forget Kevin Bacon, Washington had 50 degrees of separation Wednesday

It was the hottest of places; it was the coldest of places.

Our state had quite the dichotomy Wednesday afternoon, courtesy of an intense heat ridge in Eastern Washington counterbalanced by a chilly fog bank along the coast.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature in Pasco was 107 degrees. Contrast that with Forks on the coast which was... 57 degrees. (Some of the buoys offshore were even a little chiller like Destruction Island at 53 degrees). That's about 265 miles apart for the 50 degree swing.

Hot days, chilly waters make for some strange sights

Hot days, chilly waters make for some strange sights
Mirages form on Puget Sound on July 12, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Greg Johnson, Skunkbayweather.com)

They weren't a throwback to the tall-sailed pirate ships of yore or a maritime version of a Star Trek Borg, but those who were on the western shores of Puget Sound this past weekend might have had to rub their eyes a bit while gazing out toward Whidbey Island.

Weather conditions were just right to create mirages on the water that turned simple container cargo ships into what looked like...perhaps a 1980s video game rendition of space invaders?

UW Prof: Sunday's sensational sunset a 'trifecta' of perfect conditions

UW Prof: Sunday's sensational sunset a 'trifecta' of perfect conditions
Photo: Steve Scholle

It's been the talk of the town this week, the amazing sunset we had Sunday night across the Puget Sound region.

A lot of people have been asking what caused such brilliant colors: Wildfire smoke from Eastern Washington? Lucky cloud formations?

Yes, and yes, according to University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass. And, add in some evaporating rain for good measure.

July 10th among Seattle's ''Final Four'' of original heat records

July 10th among Seattle's ''Final Four'' of original heat records
Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

July 10th has somewhat of a badge of honor in Seattle weather records -- it's home to one of the last four original record highs for Seattle.

Sea-Tac Airport's first year as the official weather records were in 1945, and of course, every temperature recorded that year is a record high and a record low. Those records fall and adjust higher/lower as the years pass and our weather goes through its expected peaks and valleys.

Now after 69 years, you'd expect those records would have been replaced, and almost all have but there are still four that have withstood the test of time and today is one of them.

Sunshine 6 days a week in winter in Seattle? Earliest records said so...

Sunshine 6 days a week in winter in Seattle? Earliest records said so...
FILE -- Late 19th century weather map of the United States. (Photo: National Weather Service)

Sure, Seattle has quite the rainy reputation, but did you know when records first began being kept in Seattle, there was nary a drop to be found?

In fact, the very first observation in Seattle noted in official record books was: a sunny day!

In February!

(I guess the pessimist would say it had nowhere to go but down.)

I stumbled upon this little fact while researching my blog for Monday about the intense heat wave of 1870. In looking for where exactly in Seattle those observations were taken, I found this incredibly thorough 52-page report on the history of weather observations in Seattle, written and prepared by Glen Conner of Scottsville, Kentucky for the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. Conner's excellent research is the source of this blog's information. 

Seattle heat wave of 1870 puts 2009 to shame

Seattle heat wave of 1870 puts 2009 to shame
Weather observation log of conditions in Seattle in the month of July, 1870. (Image courtesy: Mark Albright)

What if I told you that 144 years ago today (Monday, July 7) it was 100 degrees in Seattle?

And then what if I told you it wasn't even the hottest day of that week?

University of Washington research meteorologist Mark Albright has some of the very infant weather records from Seattle that began in 1870 and noted that it was quite a toasty July back then.

Photos: Amazing cloud formations around the Sound this week

Photos: Amazing cloud formations around the Sound this week
"Mare's Tails" -- officially known as cirrus clouds dance over West Seattle on July 1, 2014.

Who's excited? July 3rd marks start of ''Dog days of Summer''

Who's excited? July 3rd marks start of ''Dog days of Summer''
Astro gets excited about a sunny forecast for Seattle! (Photo courtesy: Diane Rich Dog Training LLC)

Well, I know one four-legged friend who is excited the calendar has turned to July 3rd!

That's Astro above in the photo there who is apparently psyched about the start of the "Dog Days of Summer", which begin today.

The term originated in southern Europe, when back in ancient days, observers along the Mediterranean Sea used to follow Sirius, which is the brightest star in the nighttime sky and part of the constellation known as Canis Major, or "The Big Dog," when translated to English.

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.)