Seattle's summer of 2013 making up for lost time?
If you ask the sun fans around here, they've would have probably graded 2011's summer an F and maybe given a C to 2012.
But I get the sense if you had to give 2013 summer a midterm grade, an A (or, at least A-) might be in store and the statistics back it up.
If you figure a Seattle summer really runs from about June 1 to September 1, (although some might argue to shift that time-frame back two weeks) we're at roughly the half way point and so far, the summer has lived up to expectations.
In fact, you might be able to make a case that this summer has been nicer than average from a sun fan's perspective. (I point this out in deference to a lot of people who live around here who prefer the cooler, cloudier and occasionally rainy weather.)
Through Wednesday, it's been 20 consecutive days without measurable rain (yes, the thunderstorms Tuesday night didn't hit Sea-Tac -- or at least enough to bring measurable rain.) For those curious and have already forgotten last summer's run at the Seattle dry-streak record, it's 51 days, and we made it to 48 last summer. But our current streak is sure to add at least another week if not much more as the long range forecast models don't see any rain in sight.
But there haven't been many of those "yeah, it's dry, but the marine layer is around all day" gray days. In July, 16 of the 18 days through Wednesday have been considered at least partly sunny, with seven qualifying as clear.
Perhaps more important to sun fans, 15 days so far this year have been at least 80 degrees -- more than halfway to our annual average of 25. Seven of those days have been at least 85 degrees, and we only average 10 of those a year. We've even already hit 90 once (average about 2-3 a year).
Or, a better way to gauge the temperatures might be to check our "Summer Minutes" clock that I tally each day on Twitter @Summerminutes. This is the number of minutes Seattle has been at or above 80 degrees at the Univ. of Washington (which tracks temps by the minute).
Through Wednesday, we had 2,625 minutes at or above 80. That compares to 3,323 for *all* of 2011 -- a number we might pass by the end of this week or early next week with all of August still to come. We should even easily pass last year's tally of 4,388.
Yes, more summer-like weather to come
As sunny and warm as it's been, the long range models don't have anything to suggest it's going to change a whole lot. While early indications are we might get a bit of a strong marine push toward the final days of the month that might keep a lid on sunshine and temperatures, all indications are that August will end up warm and dry as well:
Here is the 30 day forecast for August, fresh off the presses from the NOAA:
Same general theme it's been -- a hot summer for the West with the general theme of a mega ridge stuck in place along the intermountain areas. The mean position suggests Seattle's August will end up a lot like July -- a bit warmer than normal air mass due to the effects of the increased heat from the heat ridge, but perhaps not record-breaking as the ridge is (thankfully) not centered right along the coast.
That's not to say a thermal trough or two won't give us a brief spell of near-record or record heat (because any thermal trough would get a boost from the hotter than usual air mass) but I'm going to go out on a limb and say while August will probably end up warmer than normal, I don't think it will be among the hottest Augusts ever. Instead, probably a lot of days that would normally be 78-84 in Seattle might end up in the 82-88 range. We'll see as the rest of summer shakes out.
P.S. Winter is still looking neutral
A quick note for those already looking ahead past summer -- all forecast models are still on board with a neutral winter, meaning no El Nino or La Nina. Neutral winters tend to be fairly normal in the grand scheme of things but typically carry a wallop or two in the form of a big windstorm, or snowstorm or Pineapple Express (or maybe all three). Seattle's greatest fall and winter weather events tend to migrate toward neutral years so keep that in mind.