Rain on tap by weekend amid record-breaking dry weather, heat

Oct 17, 2022, 7:36 AM | Updated: 9:56 am


Photo from Flickr @JonWojan

The big question on the minds of many across western Washington is: When will it finally rain and douse all the wildfires and smoke that come along with it?

Easterly winds from the Cascades energized wildfires and brought more smoke over the region throughout the weekend. Air quality readings soared to the unhealthy category of over 100 at times.

Fortunately, those easterly winds will shift onshore from the Pacific Ocean today with some relief bringing fresher air.

Wildfire in southwest Washington prompts evacuation orders

This summer has been the driest on record. SeaTac Airport has received less than an inch of rain (0.54 inches) since the summer solstice on June 21st. Rainfall during October is typically 3.91 inches, but so far this month, only 0.01 of an inch has fallen.

Temperatures at Sea-Tac Airport were also the all-time warmest ever this late in the year, hitting 88 degrees yesterday. Sunday was also the 11th day with high temperatures of 70 or warmer so far in the month, crushing the previous record of eight in 1987 and 1991.

Other western Washington cities also exceeded their previous all-time number of days of 70 or greater during October. Bellingham’s 80 degrees Sunday was their 11th day of 70 or warmer, surpassing the old record of six days in 1952 and 2015. Everett’s Paine Field hit 87 degrees, crushing the previous daily record of 68 in 2015 – their 10th day over 70 which smashed the old record of six days also in 1952 and 2015. And Olympia soared to 85 degrees, marking their 16th day of 70 or greater this month, erasing the former record of 11 days in 1952 and a new all-time warmest this late in the year.

When will this extra-inning summer of warm, dry weather end? The weather pattern across the Northern Pacific that has created this extended summer is expected to break down later this week and open the door for a series of wet Pacific weather systems to arrive. The first is forecast to arrive by Friday night into Saturday, with another system swinging onshore early next week.

Enough rain is anticipated to dampen wildfires and thoroughly cleanse the air from wildfire smoke and poor air quality. The record-breaking warm temperatures will also end with readings plunging close to mid-October averages in the mid to upper 50s. Finally, it will feel more like a Pacific Northwest fall starting this weekend, and we will be able to breathe easier.

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Rain on tap by weekend amid record-breaking dry weather, heat