Weather whiplash: Seattle area veers from wet winter to fourth driest spring

Seattle's weather can usually be described in multiple ways, but "scattered showers and sunbreaks" was not among the popular choices over the past six months as the Emerald City just had one of its driest springs on the heels of a rather wet winter.

June 1 marks the start of "Climatological Summer" (also sometimes called "Meteorological Summer") as those in the various weather communities use three-month periods that start with the months to better track climate data over the seasons. Winter goes from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, spring from March to May, summer from June-August and autumn from September through November.  

Also, you'll find the season's expected weather seems to better track with the climatological season dates than the solstice and equinox dates. (But don't worry, solstice fans, the astronomical start to summer is still around June 20-21. Nothing has changed there. Just for bookkeeping purposes, the weather folks like to run with start-of-the-month dates. Those financial experts are on to something)

Thus we can now look back on the just-completed spring and, wow, where did the rain go? Seattle only collected 4.76 inches of rain between March 1 and May 31 -- good for fourth-driest climate spring on record at Sea-Tac Airport. 1979 takes the cake at 3.24" with only 1973 (4.57") and 1985 (4.71") coming in drier. 

Just 30 days this spring had measurable rainfall -- the fifth-fewest amount. 

It's a proverbial record-scratch sound from winter, which had 20.08 inches of rain -- good for 14th wettest out of 76 years of Sea-Tac Airport data. 

Most of the dry stretch was in April and May which saw just 2.15 inches of combined rainfall, also fourth driest. 

Spring temperatures were a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, the average high temperature was 60.6 degrees which is the 13th warmest on record at Sea-Tac, but last month was the coolest May since 2012. It was also ooooooh-so-close to being the first May in 10 years to not reach 80 degrees in Seattle, until the temperature just briefly nicked the 80 degree mark at the buzzer on May 31. 

June looks to continue the trend of "one way or the other" with a warm spell to kick off the month as highs soar well into the 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday, but much cooler weather returns for the weekend into early next week as a large trough of low pressure sets up shop.

But overall, the long range forecasts still suggest warmer and drier will remain the theme going forward as we head into summer:


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