SEATTLE -- Break out the barbecue and lather up the sunscreen. Warmth is roaring back into the Pacific Northwest for the next several days. The return to a summer-like weather pattern is expected to grip the Northwest with temperatures about 20 degrees above normal for this time of year though the weekend.
At SeaTac Int'l Airport, Puget Sound's signature climate data point, highs temperatures will be near record highs on both Saturday and Sunday. Typically for the first week of June, the average high temperature is 68 degrees. The forecast high for Saturday is 88 degrees. The number to beat in the record books is 91 set back in 2009. We'll likely see temperatures in the 90s in many areas in the South Sound, SW Washington and east of the Cascades. The Nat'l Weather Service office in Portland has issued an 'Excessive Heat Warning' for SW Washington, the Columbia Gorge, Portland Metro and the Willamette Valley where temperatures will soar towards triple digit territory for the first time this year.
The warmest Seattle has seen so far this year was the 89 degrees we reached in our record-setting April. That month also had four consecutive days above 80 degrees, which was also a new record for April.
Sunday is expected to be the peak of this particular heat wave. We'll come closest to beating or tying the record of 92 degrees set back in 1978. My forecast high temperature is 92 for SeaTac on Sunday, but many places in the Cascade Foothills and South Sound will likely see temperatures in the mid-90s or slightly warmer.
We'll see a marine push of cooler air moving in off the Pacific Ocean on Monday, so we'll likely cool down into the low 80s. That's much cooler, but still more than ten degrees above normal for this time of year. Officially there is no meteorological definition of a "heat wave", but generally speaking it's considered as more than three days of temperatures more than 10 degrees above normal. This heat wave will be relatively short lived compared to last year. We're expected to be back into 70s by Tuesday and our next chance of rain looks to be next Thursday.
A typical year in Seattle has 26 days at or above 80 degrees. We've had 9 so far in 2016, which equates to roughly 33% of the normal days we see in summer above 80 and summer doesn't officially start for another few weeks. Last year, we shattered records for days above 70, days above 80 (with 51) and days above 90 (with 13). Most long range forecast models have the next few months of warmer than normal temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest. It is looking to be hot this weekend for western Washington.
The Nat'l Weather Service office in Seattle has put out a reminder for folks to be aware that area rivers and lakes are still very cold. So practice water safety (which includes a life jacket) and know your limits as a swimmer. As Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley likes to say,"hydrate or die." Here's a link to the Nat'l Weather Service's heat safety tips if you'd like more information about how to beat the heat: www.weather.gov/heat