From zero to six one-hundredths in less than 60 minutes.
That’s how long it took for Seattle to go from a precipitation-free 2013 to the inevitable—a 37-degree rain strong enough to drop .06 inches in the gauge at Sea-Tac before the six o’clock hour ended. Besides accounting for the first showers of the year in Seattle, the damp weather also snapped our much-deserved dry spell at four days—the city’s longest since early fall.
Imagine going from sunny and 70-something one day to snow and 30 degrees the next. Or vice versa.
In Seattle, either is impossible. In Denver, both happen several times a year.
Thanks to its mile-high elevation and considerable distance from large bodies of water—the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are each over 1,000 miles away—Denver is often subject to dramatic temperature swings, especially in the fall and spring. These wild fluctuations in the mercury can either raise or lower the Mile High City’s temperature by 50 degrees in just 24 hours’ time.
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.
It’s only mid-October, but by this weekend, it’ll feel like mid-November.
Much colder air will invade Western Washington beginning Saturday, dropping our high temperatures to around 50 degrees—a mark not usually reached in Seattle until just before Thanksgiving.
The air will feel especially brisk when contrasted with today’s highs, which hit the mid 60s as warm air ahead of the rain boosted temperatures to above normal. Now, with precipitation falling throughout the metro area, we’ve cooled into the upper 50s—just the beginning of our downward trend in temperature.
Thanks to clear skies and calm winds, temperatures overnight plummeted to their coldest of the season—the upper 20s to lower 30s for most areas.
Sea-Tac Airport—where all of the city’s official weather measurements are recorded—bottomed out at 32 degrees early this morning, making for the chilliest low since Feb. 26, when the mercury dropped to 19. Many locations (especially those lower in elevation) saw overnight lows fall into the upper 20s, including Boeing Field in South Seattle, where the low was 28, and Olympia, where freezing fog and temperatures in the upper 20s were reported most of the night.