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Tuesday, June 10, 2008
While East Bakes, West Gets Record Cold and Snow

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

In the Seattle Times story Think it’s cold? You have good reason, Susan Gilmore reports “Seattle just experienced the coldest first week of June, according to climate records dating to 1891, said Cliff Mass, University of Washington meteorologist. “Just wait until tomorrow,” he said, when temperatures are going to be even colder. A heavy snow warning has been issued for the Washington Cascades and Olympics as a storm from the Gulf of Alaska plows into the state tonight. Forecasters with the National Weather Service said up to a foot of snow may fall in the mountains as low as 3,000 feet. In 30 years I can only remember two other times when it snowed this late in the season,” said Sam Krahenbuhl, Snoqualmie Pass assistant maintenance superintendent. “One time it snowed on a Fourth of July weekend. This is really rare."While it won’t snow in the Puget Sound area, records for the lowest high temperature may be broken today and Tuesday. In eastern Washington at Washington Sate University in Pullman, it snowed on June 10th.

WSU Campus Pullman, WA, June 10, 2008

Mass added: “People are really upset about this weather."He said in the mix of all the statistics, he’s put together (with former Assistant State Climatologist Mark Albright) the “barbecue” index. That’s the number of times since March 11 (the usual start of spring here) temperature climbs to 60 degrees or more - a temperature that Mass thinks people are comfortable being outside in."It turns out that this year was the worst year of the barbecue index since 1917,” said Mass. “We only got to 60 degrees 23 times this year. Compare that to 1934 (74) times or 1992 (69) times."Mass said the coldest spring was 1917. This year is tied with 1908 for 2nd coldest, he said. The warmest spring was 1934.

Meanwhile The Aspen Skiing Company said Monday that it will open up Aspen Mountain from June 13 to 15 for skiers and snowboarders. The company says record winter snowfall has left the mountain covered with snow, leaving behind an average of more than 3 feet of snow on the upper slopes. And Missoula, Montana’s water park is closing due to cold weather ‘to protect children from hypothermia’ while Badger Pass recorded 40 inches of snow from June 10-12th.

Icecap Note: There has been plenty of cold air to go around this spring. The summer warmth has been suppressed south. This week the heat has has made an intrusion into the east as the cold air has dipped into the west. After a chilly start to the month in the northeast, the first 90 plus degree days of the season followed last weekend and early this week. Even though cold air is likely to continue to drop into the Pacific Northwest, some of the cooler air will increasingly make its way east and put an end to the current heat.

Ironically. just last week, Seattle’s mayor, Mayor Greg Nickels and his Seattle Parks and Recreation might do what even this week’s chilly weather couldn’t—douse the long tradition of beach bonfires at Alki and at Golden Gardens for fueling global warming!  So poor Seattle folks can’t have bonfires because they contribute to global warming but can’t barbecue because it is too cold. You just can’t make this stuff up. 

Posted on 06/10 at 01:32 AM
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