Can you remember when the last time there was any meaningful rain? No? Well you are not alone. It has been a while. In fact, the last significant rain at Paine Field-Everett was on June 20th with just over a tenth of an inch of rain, and Monroe had six tenths of an inch. Yet, many other locations had little if any rain that day given the spotty nature of the weather event. For example, Bellingham had a meager 3 hundreds of an inch of rain on the 20th.

But since the June 21st summer solstice, it has been bone dry across much of Western Washington and the North Sound. This summer’s dry weather is even ahead of last year’s record dry summer. By this time last year, Paine Field-Everett had received just under a tenth of an inch of rain since the summer solstice on its way to the driest 4 months on record through mid-October.

Looking ahead at longer range weather forecast charts, there is just not much rain to anticipate during this region’s driest time of year. Monday could offer some light yet spotty precipitation. Yet, through near the end of this month, the overall dry weather with near or above average temperatures will persist. The seasonal outlook for the rest of the summer through September also tips the odds of overall continued warmer and drier than average conditions.

Even though this summer is off to a fine start, this ongoing dry warm weather will likely generate growing concerns. For instance, much of the average winter mountain snowpack has melted and run off in the rivers. As summer rolls on, river levels will continue to drop with river temperatures rising to levels potentially harmful to fish. That was the case during the dry warm summer of 2015.

Another concern is overall water supplies for agriculture, municipal water supplies, recreation and more. At this time, municipal water supplies remain in good shape, but if no significant rainfall arises, some water restrictions may be needed by late summer.

Michael Kunda of Alderwood Water offered reassurances regarding municipal water supplies. He said, “The source for Alderwood and Everett water is from Spada Lake and Chaplain Lake on the Sultan River. Spada Lake contains about 50 billion gallons of water and Chaplain Lake another 5.2 billion gallons. Spada Lake is at full capacity. Alderwood and Everett see no potential impacts to our water supply for our service through the winter of 2023/24.”

The ongoing warm dry conditions will also elevate the threat of wildfires and resulting wildfire smoke. Western Washington has suffered poor air quality from wildfire smoke five out of the last six summers starting in 2017 when wildfire smoke spread into the region from the interior of British Columbia. And of course last year, the region suffered smoke and poor air quality from the Bolt Creek Wildfire along the west side of Stevens Pass Highway late in the summer.

The threat of more local wildfires is also going to rise if substantial rainfall fails to occur. There have already been a number of roadside fires. This is the time of year to keep any burning materials in vehicles and not toss them out the window, and tighten up tow chains to avoid sparks on the road surface.

Weather forecasters, fire agencies and water supply managers are all keeping an eye on the weather until the fall rains arrive.

For those concerned about water supplies and want to save on the water bill, water saving ideas including tightening up any water leaks, use drip hoses to water landscapes minimizing water evaporation by sprinklers, dormant lawns will turn green again this fall, and collect shower water when waiting for it to warm up and use that water in hand sprinkler cans for potted plants.