Welcome to summer, a time known for sun, heat, and playing outdoors. That may be true everywhere else, but the Puget Sound region is also known for fog, mist, rain, and as described last year, Juneuary. Juneuary, a confused month that makes the last days of spring feel like the middle of winter. We had a few of those days, but the rest of the days obliterated that typical retreat. Welcome to burn bans, instead.
Just a few days ago, furnaces set low for the season kicked back on as some houses dropped below 60F. Typical Juneuary.
Before that though, has been a lot of warm, dry weather that is great for tackling outdoor chores, and maybe even getting in some play.
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) June 17, 2019
Three months of above average temperatures. Gardens are happy. So are weeds. The rains held off, too. Go back two months to find a day that was even close to being considered wet
The 0.21″ of rain at Sea-Tac airport today was the most rain at the airport in a day in over 2 months. Last time there was at least 0.21″ of rain in a day at the airport, April 16th with 0.21″. The last day with more rain April 12th with 0.65″. #wawx
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) June 19, 2019
Gardens aren’t so happy. Weeds don’t seem to notice. Ah, but weeds’ deep roots makes the green weeds easier to spot on brown lawns; and the lawns are browning as if we were in our typical July-September drought. At least the lack of moisture makes it easier to keep up with mowing the lawn, and the lack of storms means scheduling yardwork becomes almost convenient.
Someone else is not happy with the warm, dry weather: firefighters. Earlier than usual, the burn bans are in place. We’re still allowed to have cooking fires in fire pits, but that’s about it. Usually, the burn bans are announced at the start of July, right around the Fourth. This year, they may officially dampen fireworks. The official ones are professionally managed, which may mean they can continue. The unofficial ones, well, frequently don’t care about official declarations. A show of independent spirit, possibly? A disregard for neighbor’s fields?
Despite a reputation of dreary weather, reality delivers something new every year. Sure, there are names for Juneuary, the Puget Sound Convergence Zone, and the Pineapple Express; but just like with people, labels rarely properly describe the things they are applied to. Rain is expected, a 20%-30% chance of showers (not even rain) is forecast for next week. Maybe there will be an isolated downburst if hot ground creates a thermal below moist and unstable air. Soon, July’s and August’s heat will arrive even as the daylight shortens. Of course, we expect a drought, but who knows. Maybe we’ll get something to fill aquifers and relieve gardeners from the burden of watering and irrigating. Keep the sunscreen and the raincoat by the front door.