Hey, you in the shorts and shades: It's still winter, remember? But Monday, atmospheric conditions aligned to bring record-breaking warmth. Tuesday? Not so much. Back to our regularly scheduled gray and drippy programming.

Share story

Seattle saw a whopping 73 degrees Monday afternoon, shattering the day’s record for high temperatures and marking the earliest day with that level of warmth, according to the National Weather Service.

The warmth was the result of a ridge of high pressure deflecting any adverse weather to the north and offshore, meteorologists said. The pressure compressed easterly winds, and “usually when air sinks, when it gets pressed down, it warms up,” said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist for the service in Seattle.

“We had air coming from the land that typically warms up a lot more than the air from the water does,” he said.

Thermometers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where meteorologists gauge weather conditions for Seattle, broke the day’s previous record of 68 degrees set in 1998 around noon, according to the service. Then, about 30 minutes later, the airport recorded 71 degrees — making Monday the earliest day of any year for 70-plus degree temperatures since the service began keeping such records in the 1940s.

The previous such record was set on March 15, 1947, which reached 72 degrees, said Dustin Guy, another meteorologist for the weather service in Seattle.

But Monday’s temperature climb did not stop there. Meteorologists documented the day’s peak, 73 degrees, at 4:07 p.m., Burg said. The last time Seattleites felt temps in the 70s was the last week of September. Cities across Western Washington region broke records for high temperatures, too.

This unusual warmth won’t last, though.

Tuesday’s forecast calls for 54 degrees, rain and wind speeds between 13 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph, according to the service’s outlook.

“A slow-moving front will move in early,” Burg said Monday evening. “Tomorrow morning is when we’ll start to see some rain coming in.”

Wednesday looks wet and cloudy, too.

“Winter isn’t giving up quite yet,” Burg said.