Weather Blog

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.)

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)