From Sunny And 70 To Rainy And Windy In 24 Hours

From Sunny And 70 To Rainy And Windy In 24 Hours
MUKILTEO - What a difference a day makes!

In 24 hours, we've gone from blazing sunshine and 70 degrees to heavy rain and gusty winds in some areas. Winds have been particularly gusty in the North Sound area.

Paine Field in Everett recorded a gust of 49 mph at 11:40 a.m. and a 43 mph gust just before 1 p.m., and we've had reports of three trees down in the nearby Mukilteo area -- including one that was blocking the Mukilteo Speedway near Olympic View Middle School for about an hour.

Our photographer on the scene up there also reports that most of the city was without power around 1 p.m., but power has since been restored.

Gusty winds will continue through the afternoon and evening, and perhaps even spread south into the Central Sound area toward nightfall. Main wind speeds are expected to stay in the 20-30 mph range, but there might be an occasional higher gust.

As for the rain, or lack there of in Seattle, we can thank the Olympic Rain Shadow, which we borrowed from Sequim today.

With our usual southwest flow on rainy days, the Olympic Mountains usually work to block the rain from the little city on the Olympic Peninsula (Sequim is the driest city in Western Washington, with just 16-18" of rain a year. See a map of annual rainfall in Washington at this link and how our rain shadow works at this link)

But Thursday morning, as happens occasionally, the flow is coming almost due west. So it's the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett corridor that's getting the benefit from the rain shadow, while Sequim is getting wet today. (Well, they have to get their 16" somehow!)

You can see a good representation from this radar image I grabbed at 11:36 a.m.:

And here's a visible satellite image where you can see the break in the clouds just to the east of the Olympics, while it's cloudy everywhere else:

Rainfall totals also really show how well a rain shadow works. Bellingham had just under an inch of rain, while Forks was over 3". Meanwhile, Seattle had just a paltry 0.02" as of late afternoon -- and Everett had *0* -- zip, zilch, nada.

But don't worry Sequim, we'll give it back. As the front sags south a bit during the day, we'll bring enough southerly component back to bring rain to the Seattle area as well. So just because it's been mostly dry so far today in the city doesn't mean it'll stay that way.

Thus, rain will becoming more widespread as we head into the afternoon. And as we said, it will also be somewhat windy. Highs will stay in the mid 60s. Check the KOMO Weather Center for the full forecast.

One last thing about the rain shadow. It's exactly this pattern today as to why Seattle and Everett only get 33-37" of rain a year, while points south of the Olympics like Olympia and Chehalis get more like 45-55" of rain per year.