By Eric M. Johnson
SEATTLE (Reuters) - An extraordinary "heat storm" could push temperatures as high as the mid-80s Farenheit (about 30 Celsius) in Seattle and parts of the U.S. Pacific Northwest on Thursday, offering respite from April showers and an early taste of summer.
The heat comes on the heels of what the National Weather Service has called the wettest winter in the city's recorded history. The average daily temperature for this time of year in the region is mid-to-upper 50s F (13-15 C), accompanied by gray drizzles.
"I am looking for my shorts," University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass said, dubbing the 24-hour burst of record-highs a "heat storm".
In Seattle, hordes of office workers on lunch break lingered outdoors as Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, could be seen from downtown buildings standing out against a blue sky.
It has been 40 years since temperatures hit 85 F (29 C) in Seattle in April, the National Weather Service said.
The unseasonable warmth is part of a center of warm air shifting north across portions of the western United States, the National Weather Service said.
In Oregon, temperatures were also forecast for the 80s F from the coast to the mountains, and were expected to hit 84 F (29 C) in Portland.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Sara Catania and David Gregorio)