Puget Sound Post

Cool and Cloudy in the Pac NW

By: PugetSoundPost, 2:47 PM GMT on July 21, 2011

July 26, 8:45 PM
Unusually Rainy Day

Our "best" week of the calendar year, the last week of July (and let's stretch that into the first week of August, typically) has been anything BUT our best week so far. Wow, what a rainy morning we had here!

Woke to the sound of falling rain before dawn and it kept going for a few hours, again. Since it is "summer", the raindrops are small, so it is hard to rack up too much total, but in spite of that, we still managed to receive .28" rain today, under very dreary and dark misty skies. Only the leafy trees jolted our minds back to reality, realizing that it truly is not February. The clouds did slowly dry and drift apart a little by afternoon, and the hiding, but strong midsummer sun zipped the high temperature up to 74. I guess that works for this afternoon, but it was only in the high 50's for a long stretch of morning.

We had an outdoor potluck this evening to wrap up the summer swim team, and fittingly for most of the swim season, the sky was mostly overcast with a cool little breeze sending everyone into coats and blankets, and watching the sky for what looked like probable rain clouds moving closer. Well, we did manage to stay dry for the whole affair, thankfully, but just now there are some new sprinkles starting to fall.

The forecast is looking a bit more promising as the week progresses. The NWS is thinking that each day this week may slowly provide more sunshine and less clouds and this coming Saturday is looking quite a bit better than recently expected. Hooray! As I wrote last night, I cannot remember the last time it rained during the last week of July. By the week after next, the chances start to slowly increase again for rain. Fall is starting to sound a lot closer than we wish right about now.

July 25, 7:00 AM
Delightful Summer Weekend is Past

The best days of our hit-or-miss summer have just ended. As a bit of nice timing luck, this past weekend was a sweet taste of what summer should be about around here. Wonderful sunshine and finally some warmth! In fact, quite a bit of it! Our high on Saturday was 80, which is really just about perfect, in my view anyway, and Sunday topped that with a high of 87! Both days felt truly wonderful.

On Sunday two-thirds of my family made a road trek into the Cascades. We drove up toward Stevens Pass and then headed onto Forest Service roads up higher into the mountains and explored. The rough dirt/rock roads lead into beautiful country: rivers, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, small hidden lakes, and terrific flower displays; all made more glorious with the hot, sunshiny weather!

Now on this Monday morning, the forecast change has set in. A marine push has brought the clouds back in with another trough approaching. Light showers are possible today, and even thunderstorms don't look impossible, by the view I have out the window. It is much cooler (although maybe not so bad as I expected so far), and this week will have a much different look and feel than the weekend. Well, it was great while it was here!

UPDATE, 9:00 pm:
The clouds never did break today. Such a change from yesterday, especially. Our high today was only 66. It did rain - .07" - and we did have a couple of mild rounds of thunder this morning, which provided a little extra interest factor to the day. I can't remember the last time we had any rain during the last week of July; typically about our most reliably dry week of the year.

July 22, 7:50 AM
Improving Weekend Ahead

After a dreary and wet day yesterday (high of 69, rain total .09"- heavy misty rain lasting most of the morning), followed by some nicer afternoon sunbreaks, our weather is going to take an upswing for the coming weekend. The cycle is moving onto the weak ridge phase moving in today and Saturday, but already by Sunday it will be on the wane. However, we will see brief improvement - more sunshine and warmer temps - maybe even into the 80's! In fact we are supposed to run above normal over the weekend, which would be a real nice change from the perpetual below normal thus far into July, for the most part.

We are just on a 180 out-of-phase cycle from all of the folks not too far east from us. Looking at the national temperature map is always crazy. The entire nation is just shades of red, then you see that tiny little extreme NW corner (and it is only a small sliver of the corner) - hard to spot unless you look for it - that remains forever a tiny green speck. That is us. And each group seems to wish to be the other, even if briefly.

July 21, 7:45 AM

In opposition to just about all of the rest of the country, there is no heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. A cold front is working its way down from the British Columbia coast and across our region. As I write, the sky is heavily laden with solid gray clouds, a southerly breeze is blowing, and misty rain is moving through at times. The current temperature is 57, which is about all that distinguishes this as still "summer". Otherwise it would be 47 probably, or lower. A pretty gloomy day is underway. The pattern is still not showing any real sign of change. As fronts and troughs pass over, a weak ridge takes their place, giving a little more sunshine for a day or two, then the ridge will move east, followed by another trough and onshore pushes that roll the clouds and cooler temps back in. Later Friday and Saturday will be the short-lived break for this cycle, with more sunshine, but the pattern will repeat itself by Sunday and next week, with the clouds taking over again. It is looking like this is just what we are to expect this year.

I have to say that yesterday turned out better than expected - I think what we are seeing today was really just delayed from yesterday. My family went on an outing to the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, and previously I had been expecting today's weather to hit yesterday, but by a little surprise, it turned out quite fine. Nice sunbreaks and comfortable shirt-sleeve, dry, calm, weather! The animals were great fun too! Including a ride on a camel, which was a first for the whole family. The high temperature at home yesterday was 78, reached shortly after noon, but I think mainly it was in the lower 70's for much of the afternoon, then dropping into the upper 60's by early evening.

July 21
Sunrise: 5:32 AM --- Sunset: 8:57 PM (PDT)
(losing 2 minutes, 12 seconds tomorrow)

Updated: 3:49 AM GMT on July 27, 2011


Looking/Hoping For Summer

By: PugetSoundPost, 3:26 PM GMT on July 15, 2011

July 18, 7:40 AM

A surprising sight this morning: fog! Fog developed overnight in the valley below us, and it is creeping higher as I type. Unlike the coast that can get a lot of summer fog, we don't typically see any during the summer. In fact, it is usually considered an early sign of fall, first arriving about like this in the third or fourth week of August. It is usually a mental sign that school is getting ready to begin. However, here it is in the middle of July. Well, that should perhaps not be surprising.

A pretty dreary weekend is just completed. Saturday morning was dark and rainy. The final swim meet of the season found us huddled under umbrellas and tents in a steady, if light, rain. At home we wound up with .20". It did partially clear in the afternoon, allowing the sun to give us a decent second half of the day. But, by Sunday morning the rain was back again. Less intense than on Saturday, but we still racked up another .06" rain. However it stayed cloudy all day yesterday and our high only reached 66.

In spite of the light fog, it does appear that it will quickly burn off and today may end up pretty nice. The sun is now already starting to break through and at this time of year, any time the sun shows itself, we warm up nicely and it will be a good day, and certainly by this year's standards. I think this may be about the best day of the week, at least until the weekend. Another dip tomorrow will lead to a "vigorous for July" weather system for later in the week, including more rain, but there seems to be some hope for an upswing by next weekend. Something to keep an eye on!

July 15, 8:30 AM

Summer lasted about two days last week and I rather foolishly jumped on the long-awaited band wagon. Perhaps thinking I could wish it to be so by declaring it in print.

The weather has not been what anyone wants for the middle of July. In fact it is very hard to really notice that it is now the middle of July. We have been stuck in this same stubborn pattern for months now, and apparently there is no end yet in sight. An upper trough pattern that has consistently persisted over the Pacific Northwest continues to pump in nothing but clouds and cool, drizzly weather. We are not getting soaked and actually it has hardly rained. BUT, it looks so much like it could much of the time. Overcast skies are just the summer norm this year.

Yesterday did bring some scattered showers and it was cool. The high was only 65 (average is 74) and the clouds were dark and heavy all day. Another swim meet last night and we were bundled up, but thankfully no rain.

A new system is headed our way today. Rain should develop here in the interior by tonight into Saturday morning. Currently at 8 AM the sky is solidly overcast. A partial break up may occur today, but it will be quick - this next system will begin to overspread the area increasingly this afternoon. And to summarize - more of the same next week. With a few little ups and downs along the way, the Big Picture is just more clouds and shower chances and below normal temperatures next week as well. This is cause for a little concern, as usually by those dates we are beginning to enjoy our most sure-fire days of summer, which is most "sure-fire" from late July into the first couple of weeks of August. If it doesn't improve soon, and it doesn't look like it will for the next week at least, we will start to lose our best window of opportunity for summer for this year.

We are beginning to notice the little bit shorter days already. We have had swim meets twice a week for a few weeks in the evenings at the same times. By the end of them now, after 9 PM, it is noticeably darker than it was just a few weeks ago. Somehow seems to add some urgency to getting summer underway.

July 15
Sunrise: 5:26 AM --- Sunset: 9:02 PM
(tomorrow will be 1 min, 52 sec shorter)

Updated: 2:42 PM GMT on July 18, 2011


July 5, Summer Arrives

By: PugetSoundPost, 11:44 PM GMT on July 05, 2011

July 11, 10:30PM

Drizzle and sprinkly showers are back. The first 2/3 of the day was fairly nice today. Pleasant summer day. In fact, it reached 82, but I think that was somewhat brief. When the sun came out from the scattered clouds it was warm, but when it was behind the clouds it wasn't as nice. Anyway, the clouds started to thicken as the day went on and by early evening we had a trace of sprinkles. It looks like the clouds will be around for awhile as the week goes on, plus more chances of sprinkles or showers.

In conclusion, we are not breaking free into the extended nice summer weather yet. But in reality it is probably warm enough when we are active outdoors. Too much hotter and we won't know what to do with it.

July 8, 10 AM

After writing on the 5th that summer was finally here, we have had our ups and downs. Summer can't really seem to "stick".

The next day, July 6, was a wonderful day, giving us 85 degree weather! That is what we are looking for! Then July 7 came, and the crash was Big. We had heavy drizzle/rain for much of the first half of the day, only totaling .04" because of the tiny size of the drops. The clouds were oppressive and we dropped 23 degrees from the previous day. The high yesterday was only 62 cool degrees. The clouds never lifted and it was a dreary day.

Now today, the 8th, is similar to yesterday, but it is more dry. Heavy cloud cover, but maybe a little thinner and brighter than yesterday, and so far nothing more than scattered sporadic sprinkles at best. If these conditions continue the rest of the day, and they are expected to, it looks like 60's may be about all we can muster up.

Last night we had another outdoor swim meet and although cloudy, it started out reasonably comfortable while wearing long sleeves, but by the end (after 9 PM) it was feeling chilly while wearing a jacket. Poor swimmers! Well, they did have a portable outdoor heater to huddle under in shifts. But, as I wrote on the 5th, this too is summer weather in the Northwest. Hopefully by late July, our statistically best time of the year, we will be able to rally a long string of sunny warm days together in a row. Still something to look forward to!

July 5, 4:45 PM

Sage people in the Pacific Northwest always say that summer doesn't arrive around here until the 5th of July. More often than not, they are correct. Including this year. I would say that summer has truly arrived, at last. Summer in the Northwest does not mean that everyday is blue and bright, but the chances are greatly improved that it will be.

Even last week we were still fighting a lot of clouds and occasional drips. However the last handful of days have increasingly been thinning and clearing the clouds, so that this morning, July 5, dawned flawlessly. Not a cloud in the sky anywhere, and at 6 AM it was glorious to just sit outside and watch the sun climb into the sky. The temperature is climbing as well, up to 81 this afternoon. Not necessarily the highest we have had this year (it isn't) but just the way the day and sky and temperature have played out describe only one thing: SUMMER!! Today is the kind of day that makes people live in the glorious Northwest, forgetting about all the other days. Including a hard couple of last weeks, very sadly most noted for the passing last week of our sweet and beloved cat of 13 years due to cancer, of all things. Hard days, but now the sun has come out to dry our tears.

This afternoon I had to drive my daughter into Seattle and the trip reached down into my bones and soul. Just beautiful crossing Lake Washington - the water, boats, distant Olympics, green-saturated arboretum, Drumheller fountain at UW and bright blue clear skies; not to mention how spectacular Mt. Rainier was looming incredibly large and clear (from base to summit!) over us on the return trip! Lunch outside at home was a treat and I look forward to many more over the coming weeks. Hooray for summer!

This will last through tomorrow, then that other part of summer will return for awhile - clouds and more shower chances. But this kind of day will be back and likely sooner rather than later. We don't get much rain at all in July - it is going to be increasingly difficult to really rain as the next few weeks unfold. Not until around middle August does that threat start to increase again. It won't likely be totally dry but the greatest chances are for sun and delightful weather. At least that is my plan for the summer!

A Quick Summary of June:

Average High: 72
Average Low: 50
Warmest Day: 83 on June 21
Lowest Temp: 45 on June 12 and 17
Lowest High Temp: 58 June 7
Highest Wind: 24 mph on June 13
Wettest Day: .41" on June 18
Days of Measurable Rain: 11

Total Rainfall for June: 1.68"

July 5
Sunrise: 5:17 AM --- Sunset: 9:09 PM (PDT)
(losing 1 minute, 10 seconds tomorrow)

Updated: 5:26 AM GMT on July 12, 2011


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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

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