Puget Sound Post

Summer Wanderings Expanded

By: PugetSoundPost, 2:14 PM GMT on August 15, 2011

August 29, 9:30 PM
Change

The summer weather we have had of late has gone, for now. Unfortunately, as expected, this morning we awoke to find our more usual situation: overcast, much cooler, and enough breeze to rattle the windchimes. A marine push came in overnight and changed the weather. The ridge that was baking us in sunshine has moved on and a trough pattern is replacing it - the most common pattern of this summer. Our high today was down to 76, only aided by the afternoon sunshine that finally burned the clouds away. In fairness, the afternoon turned out rather nice.

Tuesday could see a deepening marine push, and could even bring some drizzle with it and cooler temperatures. Ugg. But, not to despair too much, it looks like the weekend will rebound back into sunshine and maybe 80's again! We will just have to wait and see on that.

We had a nice weekend, in the hot sunshine. My youngest child just turned 18 - seems like a milestone in my life as much as hers - and the same daughter also swam across Lake Washington for a fundraiser - about 1.5 miles! This is actually the second time she has done it. A nice thing to accomplish. Great weather for it - started out foggy early yesterday morning but slowly burned off (while they were swimming) and ended up with a sunny high of 84 (87 on Saturday)and I hope we can get more of that weather. There is a long enough road ahead of the stuff we had most of today.



August 26, 10:25 PM

Not much to write about these days! Nothin' but blue skies and hot temps! And the livin' is easy...

Certainly enjoying this spell of summer weather - at long last. The last four days have featured highs of 82, 88, 86 and 86. Nice! Warm evenings complete the picture. The weekend ahead looks delightful. Puget Sound at its best.

I posted another series of photos from our Olympic NP trip.



August 23, 10:30 PM

More wanderings to write about! Summer has made a fashionably late appearance and other than .16" rain yesterday, our only rain of the month, the days have been mostly sunny and warmer/hotter than previously. A nice change! In fact, here at home we reached 92 degrees on Sunday! Clearly our hottest day of the year and our only foray into the 90's so far this year. And we missed it!! But for a good cause.

As I wrote last week, my whole family took off last Friday and we headed out to camp in Olympic National Park. After a longer-than-expected ferry wait, we arrived at a beach campground by middle afternoon and found it already full. So onto the next idea and we headed to the Hoh Rain Forest campground and did find space, and a lovely one at that. We got our tent and camp set up and ready to explore. Over the next two days we hiked the rain forest trails, drove back to the beach area and ended up on a sandy beach (compared to the rocky ones that are also beautiful options - there are miles and miles of beaches in the park, on the NW tip of Washington), and ended the weekend with a trip up to Hurricane Ridge, on the Port Angeles side of the Peninsula. For all activities the weather was TERRIFIC, and couldn't be beat, especially given the locale and traditionally often pretty crummy weather. The sun shone brightly the entire time, it was quite warm, no wind, and NO rain!! Even in the rain forest!! The day that it was 92 here at home, we were mostly closer to 6,000 feet at Hurricane Ridge, enjoying the spectacular and sweeping views from the ridge of the Olympic Mountain range, and the deep river valleys below. A picnic in a nearly empty picnic area sitting on the brink of the expanse was breathtaking, along with the deer that came and laid near us for the entire picnic! We saw a lot of animals, including a bear foraging on a hillside not far off the road, and many deer. The deer, however, were extra special due to the many young fawns that were out and about, and watching a twin set with their mother was such a delight, as they worked their way through a beautiful field of lupine. Wildflowers were quite wonderful at Hurricane Ridge. The rain forest was a favorite part of the park for some of our gang, and it was wonderful too. The temperate rain forest is filled with huge Sitka spruce and red alder trees, mainly, mostly draped in a thick swadle of hanging moss. Logs down on the ground acting as nurseries for the next generation of trees, along with ferns and brush give an other-wordly look. Even the beach was a delight. Short sleeves and shorts were ok on the beach - my experience is that so often one must bundle so much more than that to be comfortable. The water was frigid, however, but shallow wading became more tolerable with time and exposure to it. We all had a good time in the sand and water and the salt air is rejuvenating. My youngest daughter is anxious to go back to the coast during a winter storm and also to camp in the rain forest when it is raining. After all, she is her mother's daughter. We came home Sunday night late, and on Monday the coast where we had intended to camp received over 3 inches of rain! What perfect timing for us! But, like my daughter, I would like to be there for that some time too. Olympic National Park is unique with the three distinct physical regions in the same park: ocean beaches, temperate rain forest, and alpine mountains. We hit all three in three days and enjoyed all of it very much. Can't hardly beat national park vacations, in our book.

Now that we are home, and looking ahead, it looks like summer weather will hang around for the next several days, with another warming spell next weekend. Today our high was 82, with a second low this week of 61! So unusually warm at night. Perfect temperatures. Gotta enjoy it while it lasts!





August 16, 11 PM

A wonderful day today and I must brag on it some. Rather than the usual cloudy start, today was the type of day that sings "summer"! Blue sky from dawn til dusk, and beyond, without a cloud to be seen anywhere!Mt. Rainier standing tall and proud on the horizon. My daughter and I got an early morning swim in and my enthusiasm for the day was off to a good start. But, after realizing that all the beach front parks were too full at lunch time (not a surprise, when the sun comes out, people take FULL advantage of it!) I spread the picnic I had packed to eat with my mom right back at home and we ate outside on my deck. The best place to be after all, enjoying the warm sunny day. The high reached 81 - just a perfect temperature.


August 15, 7:15 AM

We had vacation days last week and rather than an extended road trip, which is how we often experience vacation, this year has been different. Living in schedule limbo-land with three college kids and a high-schooler in the house with four different wild and crazy work and school schedules, getting the time to really go somewhere has proven to be a great challenge. Plus my husband's work schedule has been challenging enough all summer, with not much time off. So, we did a variety of local things as day trips.

One day we were quite fortunate to be invited with another family to join them on their boat for a cruise on Puget Sound. Going through the locks out of Lake Union (and back in again later) was great, and last experienced by me when I was about five years old. We had a wonderful day over at Blake Island, going ashore and spending time on the beach in the sunshine that did come out in the afternoon. The Sound was just like glass that day and a wonderful day spent on the water. We also had an opportunity for special seating and viewing of Seafair, Seattle's big annual summer event, highlighted by hydroplane races and the Blue Angels. A great time there, with catered food all day and a lovely spot to sit and watch.

Another nautical day was spent on a whale-watching tour! We took my in-laws and left Seattle early in the morning on a tour boat that took us up to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, and from there we went out for 2.5 hours looking for whales, and any other interesting sealife. Well, the whales had moved up around Vancouver Island, where our boat couldn't go, so no whales at all that day. The best we could do was see some harbor seals lounging on rocks and some porpoises, but it was a fun sight-seeing boat ride, passing islands and a few lighthouses too. We returned to Seattle that evening, after a ful day and actually a lot of miles at sea, plus a wonderful lunch at a waterside restaurant in Friday Harbor. Unfortunately the sun did not come out at all until well into the afternoon, so although the sea was calm, there was not enough sun or warmth on the boat deck.

Another big outing was down to the Mima Mounds, south of Olympia. These are natural features that are a mystery. Over hundreds of acres, little mounds averaging 4 to 6 feet high are standing side by side, covered in grasses and wildflowers (not quite so "flowery" now this late in the summer) but we did have a sunny day and walked nearly three miles around the whole landscape. In spite of many theories, no one knows with certainty how these mounds formed. I wonder if BriarCraft has been to see these - getting close to your neck of the woods! After our visit to the mounds, we did some backroading up mountainsides nearby, and eventually came home via the Bremerton ferry, always a wonderful way to approach Seattle in the evening - by water from the west and the city is like a sparkling jewel at night. We had various groupings of our family for each event, so each day was a different and unique experience.

Not much has changed weather-wise for us. The last couple of weeks have been nice, although usually not too spectacular. This has been a muted summer in the Pacific Northwest. For a straight week now we have had highs only in the 70's, usually after morning clouds (and fog one day) that give way to varying amounts of afternoon sunshine. It has been dry the entire month of August so far, so that is a plus. The evenings have had a little chill to them, especially if you want to sit outdoors without too many layers.

Now we have another little change. Yesterday a little threat of showers moved in, bringing clouds, however we never had a drop of rain. The threat is here this morning, as well, but so far no rain, even though it is overcast again. A weak front is in the area today, but indications seem to point toward little or no precip. The main story of the coming week is pretty much more of the same. Morning clouds and afternoon sun (or maybe later morning sun on some days) and likely dry and in the 70's for eventual highs. Nice, and I guess we will be happy with what we get.

August 15
Sunrise: 6:04 AM --- Sunset: 8:21 PM
(losing 3 minutes, 6 seconds tomorrow)

Updated: 4:32 AM GMT on August 30, 2011

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This Year's Pac NW Summer

By: PugetSoundPost, 4:36 PM GMT on August 03, 2011

August 4, 10:30 PM

A nice summery week so far. Very appreciated! Lots of sunshine today! Low 80's for a couple of days now and it feels good on our bones. Looks like the marine layer is heading back in for the next few mornings, unfortunately, and probably/hopefully afternoon sunshine. If the sun wants to show up before afternoon, that would be great.

I enjoyed an early morning outdoor lap swim with my daughter this morning. That was a real treat. I need to do more.

A few tomatoes have set now, and that is happy news. The cool summer has been a nice bonus for my flowers, mainly potted ones. So that is a nice benefit to the otherwise unremarkable summer. Hoping now to end summer strong in the coming weeks.



August 3, 9:30 AM

Here we are into August and the pattern seems pretty well set. The series of weak troughs and ridges alternate through, mostly keeping weak onshore flow going, which gives us continuing morning clouds, although at this time of year they are varying degrees of strength too. Some days are overall more sunny than others. So far we have had very few sunny and clear days beginning at sunrise, which is my favorite summer weather. The usual situation has been either patchy or total cloud cover, followed by either some or total clearing by afternoon. The temperatures respond accordingly. Either staying in the 70's, or on the better days reaching into the lower 80's. This appears to be Summer 2011.

The sun seems to be on a stronger trend this morning than yesterday, and with patchy clouds floating around, it will end up a pretty nice day. I took a long walk early this morning with my daughter and the cool of the morning was nice when tackling the hills.

Speaking of hills, as I alluded in a comment a few days ago, our family took a wonderful day trip up to Mt. Rainier over this past weekend. Packed an old-fashioned picnic and in spite of quite large crowds in the park (a rare clear,sunny,summer Saturday really drew the folks out!) we managed to find a delightful picnic table secluded in the woods of Cougar Rock picnic area. The weather was sparkling for the trip (wouldn't be worth going otherwise)and since we brought along a guest who had never been to Mt. Rainier, it was extra important to have such a clear day. We spent time up at Paradise, which is the main visitor area, where many of the summit climbs begin from, and at a high point for road travel in the park (other than the Sunrise side, which is a bit higher, but less visited). All the winter snows, and actually much of it came in the spring this year, have really piled up and it is slow to melt. The snow level is about 5,000 feet right now, so a lot of trails and rec areas are not so accessible this summer. But the mountain was gloriously "out" and it was such a nice day for the seven of us to tour Mt. Rainier National Park. We ended up driving a loop around the mountain, so we saw it from several sides. An evening tail-gate snack dinner shortly before sunset parked along the White River provided a wonderful ending to the day. But, it is a long day to do all that from here. Probably about a 14 hour day to comfortably do all that we did before we returned home.


Mt. Rainier - 14,410 feet high - July 30, 2011

Mt. Rainier rising above Reflection Lake. A bit too much breeze on the water for a reflection, but a wonderful view!



July Stats in Review

Average High Temp: 76
Average Low Temp: 52
Warmest Temp: 87 on 7/24
Coldest Temp: 46 on 7/4, 7/9
Coldest High Temp: 62 on 7/7
Highest Wind: 24 mph on 7/21
Wettest Day: 7/26 - .28"
Number of days of highs only in the 60's: 6
Number of days with highs 80+: 12
Number of days with measurable rain: 13

Total rain for July: .95"

Notes: Comparisons to last July are notable. Last year our avg high was 79, our avg low was 54, we had four days that were over 90 degrees, and our total rainfall was .45". So, it is easy to see that this July has been cooler and wetter certainly than last year, and on average over time as well. July is our driest month of the year, so places that see regular summer thunderstorms and downpours of rain, our amount this year will see paltry, no doubt. But summers here are dry for the most part, so this was a "wet" July. We make up for it over about 10 of the other months of the year.

August 3
Sunrise: 5:48 AM --- Sunset: 8:40 PM (PDT)
(tomorrow will be 2 min, 47 sec shorter)

Updated: 7:19 PM GMT on August 08, 2011

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About PugetSoundPost

Weather has been a lifelong passion for me; while my husband and 4 kids all in college and beyond, one now married, have patiently gone along with me!