There are a lot of jokes about spring in the Pacific Northwest.

For example, if you ask what daylight saving time means in Seattle, you may hear as an answer “an extra hour of rain.”

Another common joke has a tourist say: “I can’t believe it, I’ve been here an entire week and it’s done nothing but rain. When do you have summer here?”

“Well, that’s hard to say,” replies the local. “Last year, it was on a Wednesday.”

But even by our standards, this year is really something else.

Temperatures crested at 51 degrees Thursday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, breaking the record for Seattle’s coldest May 12, according to the National Weather Service. The city’s old record of 53 degrees was set in 1999.


You can’t really blame our La Niña winter, which usually begins to lose impact as we enter the warmer months, weather service meteorologist Carly Kovacik said.

The main factor is a persistent low-pressure system over the Gulf of Alaska and into the Pacific that’s basically oriented the storm track into the Pacific Northwest, Kovacik said.

“That’s resulting in this cool weather pattern that shows no signs of changing for at least the next week,” she said.

Maddie Kristell, another weather service meteorologist, said Friday morning is expected to bring rain that will clear from the Seattle area by the afternoon but may persist in coastal areas. Temperatures are expected to top out at 58 degrees.

Rain will continue over the weekend, with temperatures reaching the low to mid-60s, Kristell said.

Despite all the jokes about Seattle spring, our usual high on May 12 is 66 degrees and there’s a bit more sun.

Hearing that “does sort of rub salt into the wound,” Kovacik said.

Seattle Times staff reporter Daisy Zavala Magaña contributed to this story.