Memorial Day Weekend is coming up this weekend. I often get asked – does it always rain during this 3-day holiday weekend? Sometimes, it sure feels like it. We all tend to remember those soggy camping trips or when our outdoor activities got wet.
So I went back to look at all the Memorial Day Weekends this century going back to 2001. Keep in mind that Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May. So the 3-day weekend moves around on the calendar from year to year.
For the 20 year period, there were seven entirely dry holiday weekends and 13 that had at least some rain in the Puget Sound area. Let’s get the bad news out of the way. The wettest year? That was 2010 when it rained all three days of the weekend and many places got close to a total of a half inch of rain that holiday weekend. It was also very cool with highs only in the mid-50s to lower 60s. The average high temperature during the last weekend of May is in the mid and upper 60s.
In contrast, there have been some really warm and dry Memorial Day weekends. In 2017, high temperatures climbed well into the 80s under plenty of sunshine. The sun angle is quite high now as we approach the summer solstice on June 20th.
Thanks to the influence of the Pacific Ocean, Western Washington tends to be temperate in the latter part of May. The typical Memorial Day weekend often has a morning clouds and afternoon clearing regime with high temperatures in the 60s. Those morning clouds just might squeeze out a trace or a little bit of rain. Half of those 20 years this century had such a weather pattern and that includes last year when highs were in the 60s throughout the weekend, and a little rain fell on Memorial Day itself.
What does the Memorial Day weekend weather look like for the North Sound this year? After a mainly cloudy and wet week, high pressure aloft will build over the region for clearing skies, sunshine, and warming temperatures for the holiday weekend. High temperatures are expected to climb into the 70s Sunday and Monday for the warmest temperatures of the year thus far.
The latest seasonal weather outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center highlights over a 60 percent chance of warmer than average temperatures and drier than normal precipitation for June through September. So the coming summer looks to warmer and drier than average as well.
If you are heading into the mountains this holiday weekend, there is still plenty of snow in the higher country after an above average snowfall winter season. Some trails have not opened yet thanks to all the snow. With the North Cascades Highway now open, that drive should be a pleasure with all the snow in the higher passes.
If heading out on area waterways, the water is still quite cold – under 60 degrees. Wear a life jacket to keep you afloat in case you go into the water. That chilly water will leave you gasping like going into a cold shower!
And on Memorial Day, let’s remember those who paid the ultimate price for our country. Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend!