Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Current Drought and Warmth Ahead


There have been a number of complaints in the media and among some locals about our "year without a summer", "Junuary", "Julember" and other griping about our current weather.

OK, we have generally been somewhat cooler than normal, with persistent low clouds in the morning. But one aspect of this summer has been BETTER THAN NORMAL: we have been unusually dry. Your barbecues might have required a sweater but few have been rained on.

Don't believe me? Here are plots of normal (blue line) and actual (red line) for the past four weeks at Seattle, Stampede Pass, Yakima, and Spokane. Each location has had far less precipitation than normal and virtually nothing the past ten days.



Or take a look at the official National Weather Service precipitation plots for the last 30 days. The whole West Coast has been far drier than normal (25-50%).

My garden is wilting fast, my grass is turning yellow, and my soil is like dust.

So lets stop complaining about the cool weather. And besides, on most of the cloudy mornings west of the Cascade crest you could easily escape it by hiking in the mountains or exploring eastern Washington.

Talking of dry weather, keep in mind that the climatologically driest period is still ahead: the last week of July and first week of August. The driest day in the west? Well in Seattle it is July 29th, my favorite day for a "dry sky barbecue."

Still want you heat? NO PROBLEM. We will have a little cool down tomorrow, with persistent low clouds, but on Friday we move into a warming trend, with the weekend and much of next week warm and sunny...certainly above normal.

So hopefully all the complaining will fade away during the next few weeks---it should be spectacular if you like dry conditions and sun. If you don't, just wait a few months.

20 comments:

veektor said...

Well, one thing about the weather: everybody is never happy about it. Thanks for your blog Cliff, I enjoy reading it.

Daniel said...

Just because it's been dry, doesn't mean it's been summer. Dry and 68 degrees doesn't count.

Ben Martens said...

It amazes me that people will complain about the whether as if we have any ability to change it. Who needs more anger/complaining in their life? Right now I'm loving the dry weather and finally getting into the groove of hiking season. Love the blog (and the book) Cliff!

Michael Raveneye said...

Not much complaining heard over here in Sequim. Thanks for your great blog Cliff. I read it with your valuable book handy. Every day counts regardless of the weather.

JewelyaZ said...

Not too many complaints here either, though I'd be glad if the mosquitoes weren't quite so dang happy.

The garden is growing reasonably well, and the dryness has meant that the cucumbers and other low vining plants like that have not suffered from fungus like they did last year.

It is easy to water the garden every day, but you can't easily fake sunlight. :-)

natchrl8r said...

Complaining? I'm glad I missed that. The weather has been perfect ever since July 5th. Except for the brief sweltering hot spell. 68 is perfect for hiking! Complaining about cool weather in So.Cal is understandable but crying about the Climate in the Pacific Northwest is like beating a dead horse, shouting at the moon...

smokejumper said...

But I think for most people, complaints don't stem from anger, rage, or unhappiness. But from easy convenience to say something about weather, which is never, or ever will be perfect.

I will say this, I'd jump over to that gratitude line once in awhile just for living in the diverse and interesting climate of the PNW. After I read your book, my first thought was, imagine if I read a book on weather for the state of S. Dakota, it'd be a pamphlet.

Tom said...

I will say that I like the temperatures this year, but my complaint is the lack of good wind on Lake Washington when the weather is sunny. Sailing this year has been bad. No wind!

Chris Christensen said...

Tom, come here to Ellensburg...

Dan McShane said...

Despite the cool, the water in Dabob Bay has warmed up nicely. Had a great swim yesterday.

rainycity1 said...

On a slightly different subject, any idea why the KSEA TEMPS at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/temp_graphs.php?stn=KSEA&wfo=sew have stopped updating?

rainycity1 said...

Nevermind, please delete my comment. It appears to be 'ebuak' of some sort.

Josh said...

I wouldn't call 0.6 of an inch of rain deficit (seatac)a large anomaly. As for California and Southern Oregon you can count on the sky shutting up around early June unless subtropical moisture streams up with strong ridging over Nevada and Utah (mainly over the Sierra Crest and Trinity National Forest) Hence Average Fire Season start for NorCal June 6-15 and Southern Oregon 15-20. Typical seasonal dry spell down there.

Jonathan said...

I'm perfectly happy with cool weather, and don't mind rain in the least. What drives me crazy is the lack of sunlight. It's not just me, is it? Summer isn't supposed to be this gray.

Lindsey said...

I'd rather have what we're having than have it be unsettled with rain at times, but I'd definitely like to see fewer morning clouds and a little warmer overall. But at least it looks like perhaps the best weekend of summer so far is coming up with maybe no morning stratus and highs getting into the low 80s in many places.

kermitizii said...

I grew up in Seattle, and now have lived in Vancouver BC for 13 years. It seems that clouds are always bottled up in Puget Sound. Vancouver gets the breeze from the NW that blows many of them away. Maybe Cliff can comment on that. There are lots of local variations of NW weather (not to say the least, the San Juan Islands).

scrubjay93 said...

It's not just you Jonathan; I wait all year for the few months where we get some occasional sunshine and natural vitamin D. Somehow, sitting in a hammock reading a book under a white sky is just not the same.

It's sunny right now though! :)
--Angela

ncoombe said...

I have to agree with kermitizii about the difference between Puget Sound and Southwestern BC, because I've seen far more sun than cloud this month. This summer seems very normal for both sunshine and temperature, and certainly drier than normal. The funny thing is, the Lower Mainland is statistically wetter than the Puget Sound area.

kdscatt said...

After last summer, I can see why people are complaining 1) the heightened expectations of a good summer after a mild winter, fueled by El Nino (however the El Nino has died out), 2) Last summer was one of the warmest and June was a good month (unusual for this area), 3) the realization that summer will probably be fairly brief this year, after all it didn't begin until July 6th this year.

Stay tuned.

KEN said...

complaining about the weather is a form of social interaction...it doesn't mean we want somebody to fix it, we're just talking about what's going on. it happens everywhere, not just here. for crying out loud, i think it happens less here than anywhere else. peeps here are very sensitive to any complaints about the weather.

i will continue to complain about the miserable weather in seattle, whether you tell me to stop or not. seems crazy to me you could have a blog on a subject and not expect differing viewpoints on the subject. sheesh.