Until yesterday, Seattle had never been this hot this soon.
The city soared to a staggering 87 degrees Monday, crushing the daily record high of 79 and giving Seattle its warmest day on record this early in the year. Previously, the hottest temperature Seattle had experienced through the first week of May was 86 degrees—a mark set back in 1953, less than a decade after Sea-Tac Airport became the official weather recording station for the city. An 87-degree reading had never been observed at the airport until May 11.
Up the charts we go.
It’s now the second-wettest April on record in Seattle, thanks to a stubborn storm system that has dropped nearly an inch of rain on the city since yesterday afternoon. As of 2 p.m. today, the official weather-reporting site at Sea-Tac Airport had received 5.45 inches for the month—edging this April past 1996 for the number two spot on the list of Seattle’s soggiest Aprils. Since weather records began at the airport in 1945, only 1991 has witnessed a wetter April, with 6.53 inches falling that month.
We’ve already earned a share of the bronze, and by Friday, we could be gunning for silver.
In the wake of a spectacular hailstorm that blasted through Seattle yesterday afternoon, overnight rains pushed this month’s precipitation total to 4.54 inches, making April 2013 the third-wettest April (tied with 1993) on record at Sea-Tac Airport. The stormy weather, which dropped nearly an inch of rain on the city from Friday through this morning, has since moved on—but with another rainmaker on the horizon, we could threaten April 1996 for the number two spot later this week.
Only three days in April have ever been wetter.
1.54 inches of rain battered Seattle today, making it the fourth-wettest April day on record since measurements were first taken at Sea-Tac Airport. The daylong downpour shattered the previous daily high of 0.63 inches from 1984 and brought this April’s rainfall total to a whopping 3.10 inches—more than the average precipitation for the entire month.
A typical April receives just 2.71 inches, but with the atypical rains of the past few days (we also logged 1.56 inches from Thursday through Saturday), we’ve surpassed this mark in just one week. The now soggier-than-normal April means that Seattle’s three-month stretch of below average rainfall—January, February, and March all came in drier than normal—is officially over.
Daylight saving time has come and gone this year, and still, Chicago hasn’t seen a measurable snow.
Even Seattle’s done better than that.
Scattered snow showers on Monday amounted to only a trace at O’Hare Airport, making for the 281st day in a row without measurable snowfall in Chicago—a new record for the usually snowy Midwestern city. A ground-whitening snowfall hasn’t been observed in Chicago since March 4—a week before daylight saving time kicked off, and nine days prior to Seattle’s final dusting of the 2011-12 winter, a 0.9-inch snowfall on March 13.
So that’s what 2-plus inches of rain feels like.
Sea-Tac Airport measured a whopping 2.13 inches of precipitation yesterday, giving Seattle its first 2-inch daily rainfall in almost two years. While in recent times we’ve typically seen one 2-inch rain day a year (it’s happened on 10 occasions since 2000), that wasn’t the case in 2011. Last year’s wettest day constituted “only” 1.76 inches—handing Seattle its first year without a 2-inch rainfall since 2004, and making yesterday’s drenching all the more memorable. (Our last 2-inch-plus day came on Dec. 12, 2010, with 2.19 inches.)
The 2.13 inches of rain easily broke the mark for the soggiest Nov. 19 at Sea-Tac, besting the 1962 record by .90 inches. At the National Weather Service office in Sandpoint, it was even wetter—with the 2.60 inches that fell Monday more than doubling the previous record of 1.16 inches for the day, set there in 2003. (Rainfall measurements have been taken at the Sandpoint office since 1986.)
Didn’t we just have our wettest day of the year?
It’s been less than three weeks since Seattle was drenched with 1.36 inches of rain on Oct. 30—beating out the 1.09 inches that fell on Jan. 29 for the honor of 2012’s wettest day. Now, only half a month later, a strong November storm is poised to bear down on the region later tonight into tomorrow, inundating Puget Sound with up to two inches of rain.
With the majority of the rain expected to fall tomorrow, Monday is likely to eclipse Oct. 30 as the soggiest of the year, with a good inch-and-a-half dousing for Seattle. The day is also likely to end up as the wettest Nov. 19 on record at Sea-Tac Airport, with the current mark of 1.23 inches from 1962 almost certain to fall.
Sure, it rained yesterday, and sure, it rained pretty hard in some spots. Boeing Field, after all, saw .18 inches from a midday thunderstorm, and heavy showers pounded areas north of Everett as a strong line of storms—including a waterspout by Whidbey Island—moved through.
Compared to what fell from the sky nine years earlier, however, yesterday’s downpours were mere sprinkles.
Torrential rains swept through Seattle on Oct. 20, 2003, making for the wettest day in the city’s history. 5.02 inches of rain was measured in the gauge at Sea-Tac Airport, shattering the previous daily rainfall record of 3.41 inches from Nov. 20, 1959. The mark for the most rainfall in a 24-hour period was also easily broken, with the 3.74 inches that fell from Oct. 5-6, 1981 well over an inch shy of the October ‘03 deluge.
Rain is at least a week away.
With a massive ridge of high pressure over the Eastern Pacific shunting all moisture well to our north and south, the extensive dry spell that’s gripped Seattle since mid-summer will continue unabated for the next seven days.
And what a spell it’s been. The meager .03 inches that’s fallen at Sea-Tac since July 23 has made for the driest two-and-a-half-month period in Seattle in 90 years. By Saturday—day 76 of the dry stretch—it’ll be the driest such time in Seattle history, eclipsing the current record set over 75 days, back in 1922.
We’re second only to the Summer of Love.
Not since the days of Haight-Ashbury and psychedelic rock has Seattle been this dry from July to September. With a paltry .03 inches of precipitation in the last 30 days, our three-month rainfall total now stands at 1.07 inches—the second-driest July 1-Sept. 30 period on record. Only the infamous summer of 1967 had less rain, with just 0.97 inches falling at Sea-Tac from July through September.
Of course, 1967 went on to record over an inch of rain in the first three days of October alone. 45 years later, we’ll be lucky to even manage a sprinkle or two. (We’ve barely seen more than that these past two months, with Aug. 1-Sept. 30, 2012 now officially Seattle’s driest combined August/September.)