May 3, 2012 in Washington Voices

Cool Bloomsday start expected with chance of showers

 

The annual tradition of Bloomsday is this Sunday. Each year, thousands of runners participate in the event that started on May 1, 1977. It was first billed as “Run With the Stars” and featured a little more than 1,000 runners. The race grew in the second year as 5,000 runners joined in. By 1996, a whopping 61,298 runners, joggers and walkers participated.

On average, there are more than 50,000 people who enjoy Bloomsday, even during challenging weather conditions.

At this time of year, the average high temperature is in the low to mid 60s with an average low near 40. Although many years have seen favorable weather conditions, Bloomsday has seen its share of extremes.

Snow has even fallen during Bloomsday. On May 6, 1984, 1 to 2 inches fell before the race began. Throughout that morning, runners experienced a rain and snow mix as temperatures remained in the 30s until the early afternoon. On May 2, 1999, cold, light rain showers fell with temperatures holding in the chilly upper 30s and lower 40s. Winds occasionally gusted to 15 to 20 mph.

Some of the warmest Bloomsdays were on May 1, 1977, and May 4, 1980. Temperatures on both days climbed into the upper 70s during the race.

At this time of year, the chance for a thunderstorm increases. On May 5, 2002, Bloomsday had one of those thunderstorms that dropped small hail and temperatures fell into the lower 40s with winds gusting to 25 mph.

There have been a number of Bloomsdays with winds gusting to 10 to 20 miles per hour. The windiest Bloomsday was May 6, 1990. During that blustery day, gusts during the race were more than 30 mph. By the early evening, a peak gust of 46 mph was recorded.

For this year’s Bloomsday, it looks like we’ll have partly to mostly cloudy skies with a chance of a few showers. Temperatures should start off near 40 degrees in the morning, but rise to near 60 degrees by the mid to late afternoon.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Randy at www.facebook.com/wxmann.


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