Looking back on a warm and dry summer of 2023 as fall begins
Sep 25, 2023, 11:33 AM | Updated: 2:15 pm
The summer of 2023 in Western Washington can be summarized as warm and dry, which many would say is nearly ideal.
Following a cool, wet April, the weather turned warm and dry in May, well before the calendar rolled over to summer. From the summer solstice until the final day of summer, Sept. 22, there was plenty of sunshine with warm but not many hot days. There were just a handful of 90-degree days in the Puget Sound area during the summer of 2023.
August was the warmest month of the summer, with temperatures at SeaTac Airport averaging 2.5 degrees above normal. June, July, and September were also warmer than average.
It was another dry summer as well. Many Western Washington locations were between 2 and 4 inches of rain below average, less than 50% of normal. Parts of Whatcom County had wells run dry, and the U.S. Drought Monitor listed parts of Western Washington in severe or extreme drought. Seattle Public Utilities asked residents to conserve water last week.
“Everyone can help by doing things such as taking shorter or fewer showers, stopping lawn watering, washing only full loads of laundry and dishes, and fixing water leaks, especially running toilets,” said Anna Dyer, SPU water conservation manager, on the utility’s website.
The dry weather led to a number of roadside fires around the region. Wildfires elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia produced smoke that found its way into Western Washington during a weekend in mid-August, making it six out of the last seven summers that saw wildfire smoke and poor air quality. On one day, Seattle had the worst air quality in the world.
Right on cue when the calendar rolled over the fall, the warm, dry weather pattern dramatically changed with much cooler temperatures and rain over the weekend. More cool and wet weather is in store for much of the rest of this month.
Yet, the latest seasonal weather outlook shows much of this fall and winter has good odds for warmer and drier than average conditions. That does not mean there will not be colder and wetter periods. Instead, the overall averages are anticipated to be warmer and drier through March of next year.
September is National Preparedness Month and now is the time to prepare for whatever nasty fall and winter weather arrives in Western Washington.
Follow Ted Buehner, the KIRO FM news meteorologist, on X, formerly known as Twitter.