We can all agree the year 2020 was an odd and eventful year in so many ways. Weather wise, it was rather routine, yet it also had some unique days on its own.
So let’s all look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for 2021. Weather wise and vaccine wise!
Overall, the year was about 2 degrees warmer than average with September the warmest month at just over 4 degrees above average. Sunday August 16th set new all-time records with Everett hitting 100 degrees for only the second time in recorded history, with Marysville and Lake Stevens peaking at 104 degrees.
The coldest day of the year was on January 14th and 15th when Sedro Woolley dipped to 18 degrees both days. Mid-January also saw snow blanket much of the North Sound with Anacortes reporting 11 inches on the ground, Darrington 14 inches, and Sedro Woolley 8 inches. 2020 was also a wet year, finishing about 3 inches above average. The wettest day of the year was on the Winter Solstice – December 21st – with Monroe, Snohomish and Lake Stevens getting just over 2 inches of rain in 24 hours. The Winter Solstice was also quite an unusual day with midday high temperatures in the 50s before a cold front moved through, dropping temperatures into the 30s and turning the precipitation to snow in many parts of the North Sound.
Thunderstorms are infrequent in the North Sound, but they do occur. The most spectacular day of the year was during the final weekend of May when a band of thunderstorms rumbled through the region during that Saturday morning.
Labor Day Weekend had a weather pattern that develops perhaps about three times per century. Strong surface high pressure moved through Eastern Washington with lower pressure off the coast, setting up strong east winds across the Cascades into Western Washington. Those downslope winds created unseasonably warm temperatures and quite low relative humidities, a warm dry wind event quite like Santa Ana’s in Southern California. The strong winds blew down trees in some locations with falling trees knocking down power lines and sparking wildfires. For the next week, wildfire smoke smothered the North Sound creating horrid air quality.
Our North Sound weather this year was tepid compared to other parts of the country. Wildfires burned throughout much of the western U.S. with California having five of its six worst fires on record this year. The wildfires were driven by a warmer and drier summer than average. In fact, all lower 48 states were warmer than average this year.
The Atlantic hurricane season was the fifth in the row with an above average active season and this year setting a new all-time record with 30 named storms. The previous record was in 2005 with 28 named storms. All pre-determined hurricane names were used and authorities had to dig deep into the Greek alphabet to name the remaining storms of the season.
Twelve named storms hit the continental U.S. this season, the most ever, with a record five making landfall in Louisiana. Above average sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean helped fuel this record setting hurricane season.
Then there was the devastating derecho in August that pounded parts of the upper plain states in August. Measured wind gusts peaked at 140 mph in the band of strong thunderstorms as the derecho rumbled through Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri, leveling agricultural crops, damaging structures, and knocking down trees and power throughout the region.
Our North Sound weather may seem wet and cloudy at times, yet it is tame when compared to other parts of the country. We may get damaging or impactful weather on occasion, yet our weather is rather temperate. Let’s see what the New Year will offer weather-wise. Have a safe and wonderful New Year!