That ol' east wind makes for summertime night in heart of winter around Seattle
SEATTLE -- A northeast wind is bringing heavy snows to New England, but an east wind around here kept the summer-esque 70s from Monday going well into the night with some locations staying a good 10 degrees warmer than what would be a typical night in the middle of August.
Long time residents know the east wind can be synonymous with warm weather in Western Washington. As the air comes over and through the Cascades and sinks down the western slopes, it compresses and heats up even more. For those living on the Eastside and even into parts of the I-5 corridor, it could have been a "leave your windows open" kind of night as that wind was more like a gentle heater.
Even in the dead of night, temperatures remained in the 60s in many spots. Seattle's "low" was 64 set around sunrise, while Renton was at 66 degrees at 5 a.m. It was the second warmest spot in the lower 48 states that time, only behind Palm Spring's 69. Seattle was equal with Phoenix.
But it wasn't only warm, that compressional heating also dries out the air quite a bit. The humidity in Seattle dropped from 56 to 26 percent in a few hours.
The east wind was triggered by an incoming low pressure center that was offshore on Sunday and Monday, helping draw in wind from eastern Washington out toward the low.
Once the storm began to move inland on Tuesday, the east wind was replaced by a more traditional southwest wind and in turn, temperatures plummeted. Seattle had dropped from 64 to 54 degrees in an hour and was down to 50 degrees at 2 p.m. -- a strange day when your high is at sunrise and your low so far is as the evening commute begins.
Then again, for areas away from the east wind, it was a more more typical March night. The temperature dropped to 39 degrees in Port Angeles, 42 in Olympia and 41 in Tacoma -- yes, a 25 degree difference in low temperatures just 30 or so miles apart!!!