Under the Weather: Dry stretch continues with no rain in sight

I’m back! A lot has happened these past couple weeks, namely one of the strongest heat waves we’ve ever seen in Western Washington. Believe me, I definitely felt the heat—and so did my husband. We had to take wedding photos outside at the beginning of the worst of the heat, donned in our full wedding attire (especially him in his full suit). It was worth it—but it was uncomfortable to say the least.

In our area, heat like that is extremely dangerous. With the majority of homes not equipped with air conditioning, that heat is exhausting. Normally, our nights cool down enough to give a slight reprieve from the heat. During the height of this heat wave, however, nighttime temperatures didn’t even drop below 70 degrees. It was absolutely dreadful sleeping weather.

Here’s a snapshot of the temperatures that were recorded at Paine Field:

For some reason, the observed temperature range data (the blue bar) for Monday ,June 28 doesn’t show up, but the high temperature for that day was 100 degrees. This was only the third time that Paine Field had registered a triple-digit temperature reading. Sea-Tac airport maxed out at 108 degrees. This all-time max temperature is hotter than that of Orlando, Florida (103 degrees) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (107 degrees). (You can see this list here, courtesy of Scott Sistek).

I know I have never been happier to have temperatures in the 70s and low 80s, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Ever since the heat wave, highs have been much more comfortable, primarily in the 70s. This trend is expected to continue in the coming days. There’s nothing to really write home about in terms of the temperature forecast for the next week or so, but it’s a different story for precipitation.

So far, July has not seen any rainfall measured at Paine Field. In fact, we haven’t seen measurable rainfall since June 15. We had a wet start to June, but since then? Nada. Below shows a table with the number of consecutive days without rainfall. Back in 2017, we had a whopping 80 days in a row without rain. Ouch.

Right now, we’re sitting at 22 days in a row without rain, but this number will continue to grow with no rain expected in at least the next week.

The forecast for the next week looks very much like a copy and paste situation: dry, sunny and warm temperatures. Climatologically, July is our driest month of the year, but I am a little concerned with the lack of rain over the past few weeks.

Below is the most up-to-date drought monitor for Washington state. As you can see, most of the state is running dry or in the drought category.

If we don’t get some rain, these conditions will likely worsen, creating a much more favorable environment for wildfires, should a spark occur. I for one am hoping for at least a little bit of rain in the coming weeks to hopefully curtail fire risks.

While we can’t wave a magic wand and make it rain, we can practice ways to help with fire prevention. Some practical tips include:

  • Not parking vehicles in dry, grassy areas
  • Properly disposing of cigarettes
  • Paying attention to burn bans and restrictions
  • Putting out all campfires completely

More tips can be found here.

While the potential is there for a difficult wildfire season this summer, nothing is set in stone. At this time, however, you may want to begin preparing for that possibility.

In the meantime, while it is still dry out, it is looking quite pleasant in the coming days. Enjoy it! I know I’m looking forward to enjoying the nice days with my husband.

Have a great weekend!

— By Kelsie (Knowles) Nelson

Kelsie Nelson is a meteorologist and recent University of Washington graduate who lives in north Lynnwood. After writing weather blogs as a KOMO News intern, she discovered a passion for writing about weather. You can learn more in her blog www.wxnoggin.com and you can also follow her on Twitter at @kels_wx3.


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