LOCAL NEWS

First taste of fall weather moves into Seattle area to cap off summer of record-setting heat

Sep 10, 2021, 11:53 AM | Updated: 2:54 pm
rain, Puget Sound heat...
A puddle forms after a spring storm. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

The Puget Sound region may very well have seen its last gasp of summer heat Thursday, with cooler temperatures and rain on the way for the foreseeable future.

Breakdown of records set during Washington’s heat wave

According to the National Weather Service, the average for the final 80-degree day of the year at Sea-Tac is Sept. 13. With Sea-Tac hitting 80 degrees on Thursday and the forecast calling for a sizable cooldown in the days to come, that last taste of 80-degree weather may very well have come and gone for the year.

That would also put a bow on what’s been a record-setting summer of heat and dry conditions across the state. Barring a flood of torrential downpours over the next 10 days, the Seattle area will have seen one of — if not the — driest summer since 1945, having seen just 0.11 inches of measurable rainfall since June 21. The second least rainfall the region saw between June 20 and Sept. 20 (the measured date range for summer months) was 0.50 inches in 2017, following by 1.28 inches in 1988.

The region also suffered through a pair of record-setting heat waves. The first arrived at the end of June, when Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia, and Quillayute all set records for the hottest ever day on record, with temperatures ranging between 99 and 108 degrees.

By late July, dry conditions across the state saw double the 10-year-average for total fires for the early summer, with over 375 square miles burning over a two-month period. At one point, residents of Okanogan County were experiencing the worst measured air quality on the entire planet.

State shatters records amid ‘early, alarming’ start to wildfire season

Seattle’s own summer of extreme weather also culminated in a 51-day streak of rain-free days, just short of the 55-day record set in 2017, and tying a 1951 mark for the second-most consecutive dry days.

The second major heat wave arrived in mid-August, with temperatures entering into the low-90s alongside poor air quality brought on by wildfire smoke.

High temperatures in the Puget Sound region are expected to dip into the 60s for at least the next 10 days, with intermittent showers expected as well.

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First taste of fall weather moves into Seattle area to cap off summer of record-setting heat