July in the Northwest will be wet, cool in the wake of El Nino
If the summer of 2015 was known for heat, drought and wildfires, the summer of 2016 will be known for – normalcy.
That’s because the Northwest is experiencing an in-between period – El Nino has ended, and La Nina is right around the corner. For the time being, Seattle can expect a colder and wetter July. After that, things should be “typical” according to Jay Albrecht, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
“July is normally our driest month with only about three-fourths inch of rain for the entire month in Seattle,” Albrecht said. “It looks like we will be seeing periods of light rain from late Thursday afternoon through to next week with temperatures failing to hit 70 degrees — which is several degrees below normal for this time of year.”
“The first half of summer, typically, here in the Northwest, we see a lot of cloud cover and temperatures during the day getting up into the lower to mid-70s,” he said. “And getting down into the 50s at night. (There are) lots of clouds during the morning and breaks of sun during the afternoon. That’s typical until you get up into the second week of July.”
Instead, the Northwest will get more rain, and temperatures will be cooler as things settle out ahead of the coming La Nina.
“The temperatures in the tropical Pacific are cooling rapidly,” he said. “Right now, the forecast is for a weak to moderate La Nina to begin in the fall and through the upcoming winter.”
What that means is not exactly known just yet. The effects of La Nina, and El Nino, generally strike during the colder parts of the year. And as with El Nino, it could mean a drier than normal or a wetter than normal season.
This all comes after the Northwest experienced an unusually warm spring, which luckily didn’t affect the decent levels of snow pack in the mountains.
“From about the second week of June to about now, it’s been fairly typical for this time of year,” Albrecht said. “But before that – April through the first week in June – was abnormally warm here in the Northwest.”
One source of the change to mild weather is found far out in the Pacific Ocean where other anomalies are being watched.
“One thing that affected us last summer that gave us some abnormal heat and humidity was the warm blob of water – the blob – off the West Coast of the United States where water temperatures were quite a bit above normal,” Albrecht said. “That blob is gone now, so we are moving into what looks like a more normal period of weather. That means in a couple of weeks we should start seeing less cloud cover, temperatures peaking during mid-July and mid-August.”