The Seattle area exceeded 90 degrees Saturday for a fifth straight day, continuing a heat wave that triggered an excessive heat warning through Sunday from the National Weather Service.
Temperatures topped out at 94 degrees at around 6 p.m., at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said meteorologist Gary Schneider. That’s short of the record July 30 high in the Seattle area of 96, set in 2009, the NWS said.
Sunday’s forecast high is 91 degrees, which would make that a record sixth consecutive day above 90, he said. The region typically sees around three days of 90-degree heat each year.
Olympia heated to 99 degrees Saturday, breaking its previous record for this date of 97, Schneider said.
Normal for this time of year is upper 70s, said NWS meteorologist Samantha Borth, although in a changing climate and on the heels of last year’s heat dome, area residents could be forgiven for questioning what qualifies as normal these days.
The sizzling weather will likely begin a gradual cool-down Monday. Offshore flows from the Pacific will strengthen and overcome low pressure near Puget Sound, forecasts say.
Monday’s temperature should be around 82 in Seattle, falling a bit to 77 degrees Tuesday. Blissful relief should finally arrive with an overnight low of 59 followed by a Wednesday high of 75 with a chance of late showers, the NWS predicts.
Borth advised people to seek shade and air conditioning whenever possible, to stay hydrated and to avoid strenuous activity in the middle of the day this weekend. Overnight temperatures this weekend were to stay in the mid-60s — not cool enough to provide significant relief, she said.
For those in need of relief beyond air conditioning, a basement or the shade of a tree, the coast is significantly cooler this weekend. From around Aberdeen to the west, a marine layer of cool air was likely to keep temperatures in the 70s.
Local libraries, parks, senior centers and community centers are open to those in need of some shelter from the heat. Bennett Barr, spokesperson for Seattle Public Libraries, said the library system hasn’t been as busy as it was during last year’s heat dome, but managers are fielding calls from people checking if their local branch is open with the air conditioning running — just in case.
“All but a few branches are reporting a modest but significant increase in usage, with patrons coming in to cool off, fill up water bottles and get out of the sun,” Barr said.
For many in Seattle, time in the hot sun was the price to be paid for a good perch for Saturday night’s Seafair Torchlight Parade, back downtown for the first time since 2019 because of COVID-19. By early afternoon, camping chairs, couches and even an inflatable pool lined Fourth Avenue near Westlake, as thermometers passed 90 degrees.
Jamie Suderman, of Tacoma, claimed her spot by 9 a.m., beneath a pair of broad-leaved trees. She was the sentry on behalf of her family, who would be joining her later. Suderman was a regular to the parade before its two-year hiatus.
“When you’re a long time [Seafair attendee], you sit on the west side of the street,” she said, where the sun doesn’t beat down as hard.
Devin Andell braved the east side, starting at 11:30 a.m. He was doing everything he could to keep himself and his dog cool.
“We’ve got money to go get more ice and more drinks,” he said. It was worth it to see the Seafair pirates, he said.
Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: A headline on an earlier version of this story referred to “record highs” for the weekend. Saturday’s heat ultimately did not set a record.