Warmer weather is here! Expect sunshine, rising temps

Jun 5, 2024, 12:41 PM

Photo: The long-awaited warmer drier weather is arriving! The sun shines in Eastlake, Seattle on Ju...

The long-awaited warmer drier weather is arriving! The sun shines in Eastlake, Seattle on June 5, 2024. (Photo: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest)

(Photo: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest)

The long-awaited warmer drier weather is arriving!

Higher pressure aloft is building over the entire western U.S., shoving the Pacific storm track well to the north. Clearing skies are expected Wednesday afternoon with temperatures warming well into the 60s. The average high temperature in early June for the interior of Western Washington is in the upper 60s to around 70 degrees.

The warming trend will continue through late this week. Thursday, temperatures will nudge above 70 degrees in much of Western Washington under sunny skies. By Friday and Saturday, some of the usual warmer spots will warm into the lower to mid-80s, though marine clouds will hug the coastline Saturday with temperatures only in the 60s.

The warmup late this week has the potential to be the warmest of the year thus far. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), the high temperature reached 84 degrees on May 10 leading into a fine Mother’s Day weekend.

Nature’s air conditioning to kick in Sunday

If 80 degrees is too hot for you, relief is expected. Those marine clouds hugging the coast on Saturday are a big clue. On Sunday and through early next week, nature’s air conditioning will kick in with cooler marine air surging inland, offering a regime of areas of morning clouds and afternoon sunshine. High temperatures in the interior of Western Washington will cool back down into the more comfortable lower to mid-70s.

Meanwhile, those in parts of California, Nevada and Arizona will be baking. Temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees, well above average for early June. Wildfire danger is already high and firefighters are already addressing a few fires.

Some are calling this a heat dome. In actuality, a heat dome involves strong high-pressure aloft that is literally cut off from the overall airflow pattern around the globe. That is not the case here, yet high pressure aloft is amplifying like a rising rollercoaster resulting in the seemingly abrupt warm-up and drying conditions.

More weather: Will a ‘Heat Dome’ be part of the upcoming Seattle summer?

The weather outlook heading well into the middle of this month continues to show warmer-than-average temperatures. Beyond that, the seasonal outlook maintains good odds of warmer-than-normal temperatures through the summer.

Does it seem like summer is longer? In Western Washington, many noted in the past that summer did not begin until after the Fourth of July. Yet, so far this century, there have been many quite warm months of May and June.

Summers are longer now than in the 50s

A researcher looked at global temperatures going back into the 1950s, and found summers are now at least 3 weeks longer than back then, starting earlier and finishing later. These longer summers with warmer and drier conditions have led to a growth in the number of wildfires, particularly in Western North America including Canada. And those wildfires have led to more smoky events, producing poor air quality. Western Washington has suffered wildfire smoke at some point during the summer 6 out of the last 7 years.

Preparing for the heat

Now is the time to prepare for summer heat and its by-products. With the sun quite high in the sky as we approach the summer equinox on June 20, we are not used to warm summer temperature conditions. After our recent cool wet spring weather, our skins will be vulnerable. Be sure to apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Also, continue to drink water and remain hydrated.

The very young and older adults, along with those suffering medical conditions are the most vulnerable to hot weather conditions. Remember — avoid leaving kids and pets in cars. The heat inside a car can build up quite quickly. Studies have shown that heat rises one degree per minute, even with the windows open.

In addition, our area waterways are so inviting when the weather gets hot. Yet remember those waters are also cold, and falling in often results in cold water immersion, that gasp reflex like walking into a cold shower, that all too often results in drownings. This time of year is the unfortunate peak of drownings in the state. So be sure to wear a properly fitting life jacket when on the water, particularly when having fun on a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe.

A period of warmer drier weather is finally arriving offering a taste of summer that lies ahead. Enjoy the warm sunshine — just in a safe manner.

Ted Buehner is the KIRO Newsradio meteorologist. You can read more of Ted’s stories here and follow him on X.

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