Despite slowly yellowing leaves, the first days of October have cast Seattle in a warm glow of extended summer euphoria.
Temperatures Sunday hit 80 degrees, breaking the record set in 1993, according to Jacob DeFlitch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. On Saturday, temperatures reached a balmy 78 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
Monday could again hit 80 degrees, matching the record for that day, also set in 1993, DeFlitch said. While Tuesday and Wednesday will see a 5-degree drop — cooled by early morning fog and low clouds — unseasonably warm temperatures are expected through next weekend.
“What a delight,” said Mike McFarland, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “Around here, if we get any extra summery weather into the fall, that is just a bonus.”
With little wind, the only element that obscured the bright blue skies this weekend was a settling haze from the Bolt Creek fire that sparked two weeks ago near Skykomish.
Smoke from the Bolt Creek fire was causing hazy skies in Redmond, Bellevue, Renton and Kent on Sunday, according to data from the Washington Smoke Blog, a partnership between government agencies to monitor areas affected by wildfires.
Still, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said Sunday the air quality was expected to be good to moderate. With calm winds, the “smoke will likely stay around,” the agency said.
July and August are the only months typically consistent with summer weather for Seattle, McFarland said. Last year, September was marked with above-average rain and temperatures began to fall below 80 by the second week of the month.
This year, the warm days have not only passed the Sept. 22 autumnal equinox but are expected to continue through Oct. 10, when meteorologists say the city can expect its first fall rain. Until then, the next eight days are likely to continue to see highs in the 70s, and only moderate fog and low clouds.
“We have certainly had late starts to the fall before,” McFarland noted. “It’s nothing to get too excited about.”
The warm weather is being created by a typical summer weather pattern, he said, called an upper ridge, which is a pooling of warm, dry air mass. Winter, meanwhile, is defined by cold, wet “troughs.”
By November, Washington is expected to see its third La Niña year in a row, with colder than average temperatures and average precipitation.
“That is ideal for me,” McFarland said. “I am looking forward to this winter. I hope we will see a little snow.”