- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

SEATTLE (AP) — Don’t let it get around, but Perry Como was right about Seattle — at least in summertime — when he sang that “the bluest skies you’ve ever seen” are here.

Despite the region’s deserved reputation for dark, rainy and seemingly endless winters, summers tend to be sunny and dry.

And this one has been a doozy. Seattle set a modern record at 12:07 p.m. Tuesday when the thermometer at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hit 70 degrees, marking the 50th consecutive day with a high temperature of at least 70. The previous record was established in 1958.

The sunny stretch is expected to last well into September, said meteorologist Jeff Rood with the National Weather Service.

“We’ll shatter the record,” Mr. Rood said.

Yesterday’s high was expected to be in the mid-70s. The forecast called for gradually climbing temperatures over the Labor Day weekend, in time for the 33rd annual four-day Bumbershoot Arts Festival, named for an umbrella in a wistful bid at reverse psychology for the weather gods.

“I’ve lived in Seattle all my life and I don’t remember a summer like this,” said attorney Brad Mehtala, 43. “When I was in high school, I remember literally counting nice days. There’d be like 12 or 15 in a row, and then the clouds would move in.”

Long stretches of warm temperatures are more common south of Seattle, where some western Washington communities get 80 days of temperatures 70 or higher, Mr. Rood said.

Of course, the sunny days here are nothing compared with the recent searing and sometimes-deadly highs in the Southwest, the Midwest and even Europe.

Mr. Rood said he has learned not to call sunny weather “beautiful.”

“Some people complain if we call it beautiful when it’s sunny and 75,” he said. “Some people think cloudy and cool is beautiful.”

Dry-waller David Benson, 53, prefers the cooler weather of spring and fall. “I like the sun but I don’t care that much for the heat,” he said.

Teacher Lynn Black, 63, grew up in Hawaii and is still getting used to bundling up her grandchildren for June trips to the beach.

But when summer finally arrives, “it’s glorious,” she said. “This summer especially.”

President Bush noted the sunshine during his visit here last week, prompting a collective shush among those who hope to rein in Northwest population growth.

“It’s a tragedy,” said author Bill Dietrich of the bright, sunny weather.

“We just got the economy so bad that it’ll keep people away and now you’re broadcasting this word of good weather,” said Mr. Dietrich, who writes books, fiction and nonfiction, about the region. “They might all start coming again.”

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