At Windjammer Park, escaping into the shade on Monday, are Venus C. Bemish (wearing sunglasses) and Konomi Fraley with her children, Grace, and Johnny. The Oak Harbor residents had planned to take a long walk along the shore but opted for a cooler spot. Temperatures are expected to drift into the high 80s, maybe 90s on Whidbey this week. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

Too hot? Too dry? Too bad. More is on the way.

Higher temperatures lead to stricter burn ban

Too hot and dry for you?

You may want to brace for even hotter weather.

It’s about to get worse — or better — depending on your perspective and affinity for fun in the sun.

Locally, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-high 80s Wednesday and may drift into the 90s Thursday, said local weather guru William Ingram Jr., who operates the popular Facebook page, North Whidbey Island Weather.

Thursday at noon, a stricter burn ban begins throughout Island County because of the high temperatures, low humidity and lack of rain.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown ordered a Type II burn ban, which forbids all recreational fires and all outdoor burning of natural debris even with a permit.

Use of barbecue grills using propane or briquettes, or self-contained camp stoves, are still allowed.

Brown, who is also the fire marshal, cited reduced availability of fire-fighting resources as an additional reason for upgrading the burn ban, which was set at the minimum level July 7.

Deception Pass State Park issued a Level 2 fire ban, restricting wood fires to designated fire pits within select areas of the park; gas, propane and charcoal fires are allowed.

Fire restrictions vary in different parts of Washington and its state parks and are ranked in five levels from low risk to dangerous. For example, Palouse Falls, near Pasco, is at level 5, outlawing smoking and open flame of any kind.

Wenatchee Confluence remains at the lowest level and allows fires in all designated fire pits.

Washington State Parks urges campers to be extra cautious with their campfires and be aware of the heightened risk of wildfires.

“Campers and visitors to state parks should check ahead before heading out to learn what — if any — restrictions might be in place, so they can plan accordingly,” advises a State Parks news release.

Monday, July ended on a dry note.

A very dry note.

“I would say in the last 20 years, there hasn’t been a drier month than this July,” said Ingram, who tracks precipitation with a backyard weather station.

On Whidbey Island, July closed with just 0.01 inches of moisture — remember that big sneeze from the sky July 22?

Prior to that, the island had 30 straight days without precipitation.

That’s twice as dry as the previous driest month of the past 20 years, July 2013, which came in at 0.02 inches, Ingram said.

July 1984 had no moisture, a fact that Ingram discovered by digging into Naval Air Station Whidbey Island weather records.

Hot and dry may be the daily forecast until the middle of August — or longer.

“Long-range models, while not too accurate, do paint a picture suggesting we stay with this pattern of temperatures in the 70s through Aug. 14,” he said. “We could see moisture after then, but I wouldn’t put any money on it.”

Jenny Kester, of Oak Harbor, said she’s one of those who hopes sunny days are here to stay — the hotter, the better.

“I love the hot weather,” Kester said, soaking in rays on a beach chair at Windjammer Park as her son, Clayton, swam and practiced flips off the raft in the Lagoon.

“When the sun’s out, we are out.”


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At the Windjammer Park lagoon, Clayton Kester practices his flips. Monday afternoon, many kids (and adults) jumped from the raft and waded in the water or soaked up the sun. “I love the hot weather,” said Clayton’s mother, Jenny Kester. “When the sun’s out, we’re out.” Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

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