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Balmy Monday breaks records in Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia

May 6 isn’t known for much. Perhaps it languishes in the shadow of its older sibling, Cinco de Mayo.

But at least this year, May 6 saw something special when the mercury climbed to a record-breaking high of 87 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport around 5 p.m., crushing the past record high of 79 set in 1957.

And the Seattle area wasn't alone. The 79 at Bellingham broke the record of 74, and the 86 at Olympia broke the 84-degree record. Both had been set in 1957.

But for all you fans of May 6 and the sunshine, don't get too excited, says Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weekly weather analyst.

“Daily records are broken all the time. That means it’s the all-time record high for that one day. If we had the exact same temperature yesterday [May 5], it would not be a daily record," says Mass, since the record on May 5 is 86 degrees. Ouch! Another point scored for Cinco de Mayo over Seis de Mayo.

"Daily records are impressive perhaps, but they are not as impressive as monthly records,” says Mass, and today won't even come close.

At least, there's no rain in the forecast. Even though today will be the last really warm day, the rest of the week looks pleasant.

"The marine air has already pushed along the coast, and in fact, its 10 or 15 degrees cooler on the coast.," says Mass. "And that marine air is starting to push inland. I think tomorrow is going to be substantially cooler, at least 10 to 15 degrees."

Open your windows tonight, and cool off.

"I would not be surprised if there were some low clouds in the morning, and you will notice the difference," says Mass. 

Keith Seinfeld is a former KNKX/KPLU reporter who covered health, science and the environment over his 17 years with the station. He also served as assistant news director. Prior to KLPU, he was a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.