Dismal Doppler

Seattle Can Officially Complain about This Gloomy Spring Weather

The authorities have weighed in.

By Benjamin Cassidy May 17, 2022

A person looks out at the sea from the ferry in bad weather.

Not a view to be had.

Weather commentary is one of the quickest ways to out yourself as a transplant in Seattle. Whining about rain in November? Must be from California. Laughing at our flurry freakouts? Minnesotan, eh?

Living in the mist is basically an art form around here, so you can understand why anyone would be hesitant to complain about the recent onslaught of chilly, damp days, or the cloud cover that ruined eclipse photo opps. But the local meteorological authorities have weighed in, and even the software engineers who’ve arrived in the post-Russ era can say it: This spring has been bad.

How bad? The worst in a decade, according to Seattle Weather Blog. Since March 1, the mean average temperature at Sea-Tac is a hair north of 48 degrees, the coldest since 2011 and the 13th lowest since the airport started keeping track in 1945. Halfway through this soggy May, we’re already threatening record rain tallies for the entire month, per the National Weather Service.

The reasons for this discomfort aren’t reassuring. A La Niña winter has lingered into spring with little sign of letting up. And the cold, wet weather seems worse than it is because of rising temperatures in recent years. “Simply put, we have been ‘spoiled’ by so many warmer spring months than we should expect, our perception of what a ‘normal’ spring is has been ‘reset,’” KIRO 7 chief meteorologist Morgan Palmer recently observed.

Of course, hundreds of thousands in the vicinity of Puget Sound weren’t around for that chillier version of “normal.” Some of these newcomers only know our extremes; memories of the heat dome and urban skiing are still fresh.

But rest assured, transplants, this weather isn’t likely to stick. The sun has made some cameos in recent days, and the forecast looks decidedly less gloomy later this week. Later sunset times will gradually bump up temps, too. Perhaps not annoyingly high: La Niña could bring a blessedly cooler summer than last year’s scorcher, experts say. 

Temperate—just the way we like it around here.

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