Toasty summer indeed: Seattle reaches 10,000 minutes of 80+ degree weather

Sunset on a summer day in Seattle. (Photo courtesy: Brennen T. Photography)

If it feels like it's been warm quite a bit this summer, you would be right. In fact, if you consider 80 degrees "warm" and you live in Seattle, you've had 10,000 minutes of 80 degree weather so far -- and summer's not done yet!

I keep a running tally of how many minutes each day the temperature has been at or above 80 degrees, as measured at the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Building. (Why UW? They publish the weather every minute and they're in the heart of Seattle so it's a good measuring spot for the city.)  I then publish the tally each day on the Twitter feed @SummerMinutes.

I figured it's a unique way to put into perspective how warm (or chilly!) summer has been by showing how long it's been warm. Back in 2011, through mid-July Seattle had only accumulated 78 minutes of 80 degree temperatures.

Over the past 20 years, Seattle has averaged about 7,700 minutes of 80+ degree temperatures -- about 128 hours' worth, or just over 5 full days. 

Chart of "Summer Minutes" in Seattle since 2000.

But this year we've blown past that number, crossing the 10,000 minute mark on Tuesday. It’s the 7th time since 2000 we've reached 10,000 minutes. 

The historic heat wave is responsible for quite a chunk of it. In fact, adding to June 29th's superlatives aside from the record-smashing 108 degree day was that UW stayed above 80 degrees the entire day, adding the entire 1,440 minutes of the day into the tally. 

The heat coming up later this week should push this year easily into Top 5 territory since 2000. We've got about 6 more weeks to add to the score so we'll watch to see how far up the charts this summer's heat can take us.

READ NEXT: Despite record heat soon, Seattle begins annual march toward winter


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