From the start of May through August, Seattle easily logged the driest stretch dating to the start of 1948.
Seattle’s summer has tallied a bunch of 90-degree days and long stretches without a hint of rain. Even in a place used to parched summer weather, 2018 has been a standout.
As we complete the meteorological summer, which weather researchers count as June through August, here’s a look back at how our weather patterns this summer compared with decades past:
From the start of May through August, Seattle easily logged the driest stretch dating to the start of 1948. The weather station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport totaled just 1 inch of rain over that period. The next driest May-August period on record was 2.05 inches in 2003.
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Part of that record was based on a particularly dry May. When looking at just June through August, the 0.88 inches of rain recorded ranked as the second-driest on record, slightly behind 1987.
When looking at the year as a whole, Seattle certainly hasn’t been starved for precipitation. The city got a deluge of rain in both January and April, so total rainfall for the year is about normal at about 19 inches so far.
On 31 days this year, the high temperature in Seattle has reached at least 85 degrees. That’s the most on record, surpassing the previous record of 27 set last year and well above the average of about 11 days.
The airport weather station also has counted 11 days above 90 degrees, the second-highest on record behind the 12 days in 2015. That 2015 season also still holds the record for the highest average high temperature, which was a little over 80 degrees.
On a positive note, the highest temperature logged this year was 94 degrees. That doesn’t come close to the record of 103 on July 29, 2009.
It also doesn’t look like we’ll add much more to the 90-day heat totals this year, as no big heat events are forecast, and Seattle hasn’t exceeded 90 degrees after Sept. 22 in the records back to 1948.
But the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center does see a decent chance of more dry weather for the weeks to come. In its projections for September, the center identifies the Northwest as the only part of the Lower 48 states with a stronger chance of below-average rainfall for the time period.
This week’s forecast shows Seattle with dry weather and highs in the 70s.