Scott Sistek is on a mission to make Seattle’s chilly weather cool. A Pacific Northwest native and University of Washington alum, Sistek has been forecasting the weather for more than a decade, including stints at the National Weather Service, NOAA and now KOMO News. His insightful and dependably witty weather blog, Partly to Mostly Bloggin, celebrates weather trends and events unique to Seattle. Last July, when the rest of the nation was gripped by oppressive heat, Sistek shared what became his most popular entry to date, “Seattle: Home of the 78-minute summer,” which tracked our inability to drum up temperatures above 80 degrees.
SM: How did you get interested in weather?
SS: When I was about 10 years old, my family moved to North Carolina. It was my first experience with thunderstorms and I was terrified. I started watching the weather forecast out of fear, and after a few years, I was able to notice the storm patterns and predict them on my own.
SM: How is predicting the weather in Seattle trickier than in other places?
SS: Topography makes things really difficult; the mountains, the ocean, the Strait [of Juan de Fuca] and the desert combine to create a very complex system. We also have very little in terms of monitoring to the west, where a lot of our weather comes from. There are a few weather buoys, satellite imagery and passing boats with weather stations, but for the most part we don’t know what’s out there until it hits our shore.
SM: Why do you think the “78-minute summer” blog post gained such attention?
SS: People in Seattle really depend on their summers, and it’s hard when they don’t seem to be panning out. Last summer I think a lot of people were upset about how chilly it was, but they had no real proof, no way to explain the situation to other people or to themselves. The “78-minute summer” easily quantified those feelings.
SM: Do we have any hope for next summer?
SS: I’m a law-of-averages person. I think that, based on other trends that have followed previous La Niña years, we should have a slightly better summer, but not drastically so.…But no one’s ever upset if it gets warmer than the forecast predicts.
Favorite temperature? 52 degrees
Best assistant? Brand-new Doppler radar station installed on the Washington coast
Read Scott's blog here: komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott