A Rain-Free August?

We’ve got six more days to wetten the rain gauge, or this August is headed straight for the record books.

As the driest August in Seattle history.

The current record for our most arid August belongs to 1974, which saw only .01 inches of rain (falling on the 18th of the month). This August, of course, we’ve seen no measurable rainfall whatsoever—and September is less than a week away. Could we really make it through the entire month unscathed?

Dry August in Seattle
Sunny skies have been the rule of thumb in Seattle this August, with no measurable rainfall recorded in the city since July 22.

Cue an approaching upper level low.

The low, currently parked over the eastern Pacific, will slowly move northeast as the day progresses, shoving a weak front toward the coast tonight. This should lead to areas of light rain from Aberdeen to Shelton, and further north around the Olympic Peninsula and Forks. Importantly, the front will fizzle as it moves east, allowing the Seattle area to eke out another dry day.

The front will still manage to cloud things up, leading to overcast skies and cool temperatures in Seattle Monday morning. The sun should break through by midday, allowing temperatures to rise into the low 70s.

The upper level low will continue to meander off the coast both Monday and Tuesday, before weakening and moving inland Tuesday night. As it does, isolated showers will break out across the metro area—giving us our best shot at precipitation this month. Getting measurable rainfall in Seattle, however, won’t be a slam dunk, thanks to the spotty nature of the moisture. This morning’s weather models from the University of Washington, for example, have the showers just missing the city.

Once the low scoots through early Wednesday, we’ll return to partly sunny skies and highs around 70 degrees. Models do show another weak system heading toward Western Washington on Thursday—giving Seattle one last chance for some August rainfall, should we remain dry on Tuesday.

Think 1974 is getting nervous?


  1. While a record would be noteworthy, I start worrying about the trees when we go through these multi-week dry spells. When they get no rain at all for 5+ weeks, do they start to shut down and perish? Obviously our city’s big trees made it through 1951 and 1974, so I suppose I worry too much.

    • Good thought about the trees, Jeff. You’re right in that they’ll do just fine—mainly because they’re quite accustomed to long stretches in July and August with hardly any rain. (Three of the top six driest Augusts on record have occured in the past 10 years.) That, and we’re still six inches above normal precipitation-wise for the year. And great point about 1951—if they can survive 51 days without rain, 30-something is no biggie!

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