Nearly every summer day Northwest temperatures follow a familiar routine, with temperatures hitting a minimum around 6-7 AM and rising until roughly 5 PM, followed by falling temperatures during the evening and morning hours.
But something very different hit the western suburbs of Victoria B.C. Wednesday morning, with temperatures rapidly rising around midnight. How could this be?
Let's start with a plot of temperatures at Victoria's Lakewood Elementary School during the last week. Yes, temperatures are in Celsius (30C=86F, 20 F-68F, for those metrically challenged). Temperatures on the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th do the normal diurnal thing, rising and falling
at the typical times (the big tick marks indicate midnight). But something weird happened early on the 17th. The temperature rose right after midnight, and then fell again. Strange behavior.
Here is a terrain map around Victoria to give you a better idea of what I am talking about.
A few hours later the the westerly winds weakened and the temperature dropped to levels similar to the rest of the area.
As long as I am talking about anomalies....it has been quite dry around here, even for July. So far we have only had a trace at Seattle-Tacoma Airport (a trace is less than .01 inches). If we get no more precipitation for the rest of the month there (a real possibility), we would enjoy the driest July since 1960. You will tell your grandchildren about this one day.
And another big meteorological event happened yesterday....the snow finally melted out at Paradise Ranger Station on Mt. Rainier (see graphic).
According to Mark Albright, past state climatologist, over the past 30 years, the median melt-out date at Paradise
is 11 July. (The mean
melt-out date is slightly later on 15 July.) During the first 15 years
of operation from 1981-1997 the mean melt-out date was
10 July. Since then the mean melt-out date has moved 8 days later to
18 July over the 15 year period from 1998-2012. Over the past 5 years
(2008-2012) the mean melt-out date has been 2 August. The earliest
melt-out was 5 June 2005 while the latest melt-out was two years ago
when the snow pack didn't melt out until 25 August 2011.
Bottom line: the Cascade snow pack is NOT melting out earlier during recent years.