First, maximum temperature. For most of Washington, maximum temperatures were modestly below normal, with the main exception being the Puget Sound region. Inland CA was a bit warmer than normal
Minimum temperatures were generally within two degrees of normal. Nothing remarkable.
Precipitation? A few inches below normal in the west, except for portions of western Washington State. But the west generally doesn't get much over summer anywhere because of the eastern Pacific high.
Now I could have given you a much, much scarier picture. Here is the percent of average precipitation for the same period. OMG! Much of California received less than 25% of normal! But they normally get very little in summer, so such low numbers are really meaningless. You've got to be careful with statistics.
With a normal snowpack from last winter and normal temperature/precipitation over the summer, this has been one of the most benign wildfire seasons in years. Consider this.
By Aug. 30, 2014, Department of Natural Resources firefighters had responded to 687 fires covering 191,000 acres. Last year by Aug. 30, they had responded to 996 fires covering 328,000 acres. This year on Aug. 30, they had responded to 637 fires, but only covering 15,000 acres. We simply did not have the large fires this year. And air quality east of the Cascade crest was radically better as a result.
The latest 6-10 day forecast from NOAA (and we really don't have much skill beyond that) shows cooler than normal and wetter than normal conditions.
For those interested in the inside (and depressing) story of why some "climate justice" groups are opposing a carbon tax in Washington State, this blog is must reading. Some supposed environment groups have political agendas that result in them opposing effective, bipartisan environmental measures.
My talk on Northwest Climate Surprises on September 28.
During the evening of September 28, I will be giving a talk in Seattle at the Mountaineers in NE Seattle on Climate Surprises: Unexpected Impacts of Global Warming on the Pacific Northwest.
The latest climate model simulations provide a far more nuanced prediction of what will happen here, with some of the predictions being quite surprising. I will discuss them in a talk sponsored by CarbonWa and the Audubon Society. To find out more or to secure tickets, please go here.