2005: A Streaky Year For Weather

2005: A Streaky Year For Weather
SEATTLE - 2005 just might go down in the Puget Sound weather books as the year of the streak, as there were several times through the year where the weather got stuck in one pattern or another.

We began the year on a crazy weekend weather streak. The rain on New Year's Day was the 6th straight weekend where it had rained. But just because the calendar flipped to 2005 didn't mean the wet weekends would stop. It would eventually rain on every weekend up until Feb. 12 (12 weekends in all.)

But once it stopped, we got a break, as the next four weekends were dry. In the middle, Seattle rattled off 15 consecutive days of dry weather between Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 -- tied for the second-longest dry streak in the wet season ever. We nearly had another top 5 dry streak in March where a paltry 0.01" of rain broke what would have been another 13-day dry streak.

The dry weekends held until March 19, but the rain there just started another wet weekend stretch where it would rain at some point over the next 10 weekends (all the way until May 27.)

[Feb. 11: 2 Days Of Rain In Seattle? Must Be The Weekend Again…

The summer was relatively streak-free, but then once we got into the fall, Mother Nature showed her streaky side once again.

Where'd The Sun Go?

It began in late September, with a sunny day on the 26th. Little did we know it'd be the last sunny day for a while. In fact, Seattle did not see another official sunny day (sky with less than 30% cloud cover) through October... or November. It wasn't until Dec. 7 that the sun was truly out -- a span of 72 days between them.

Speaking of cloudy days, another streak began in late October, when we had 13 consecutive days with rain from the 27th through Nov. 8. OK, that's not *too* out of the ordinary, but then that was quickly followed by 10 straight days of dry weather from the 15th through the 23rd.

In the meantime, on Nov. 11, the high temperature was only 47 degrees. That's not too strange either, but that day began a streak of 36 days where our high temperature was at or below normal. It wasn't until Dec. 17th that we were back above.

Of course, that started its own streak of 15 straight days *above* normal -- a streak that remains active through Friday, Dec. 30.

Speaking of active streaks, at the time of this writing, there's another one going on that's equally impressive -- Dec. 29 marked the 10th straight day with 0.25" of rain or more (actually, it's 0.34" or more, but a quarter inch is a more round number.) It's the 12th straight day of any kind of measurable rain.


Lots of Rainy Days, But Not Too Rainy

For those who crave more typical weather statistics, Seattle finished the year with more rainy days that usual, but also had more sunbreaks than average.

We finished the year with 60 sunny days (right about on par with the average of 58, despite going two months without one), 118 partly cloudy days (normal is 81) and 187 cloudy days (down from the usual 226).

(See this link to see what constitutes a "sunny day".)

Seattle had 174 days with measurable rain -- more than the usual 154. But on the flip side, we're finishing the year around 35 inches of rain, just a hair under normal of 37 inches.

We set 8 record highs and tied three others. We tied one record low. The hottest day was 89 degrees on both May 26 and 27 -- so once again, Seattle did not get to 90 -- and the coldest low was 23 degrees set both Jan. 11 and Dec. 16.

Generally, the year was highlighted by an early drought thanks to El Nino, then the third-most tornadoes on record during the spring and summer (although we had just five, and none did any damage, so it's not like we're becoming Oklahoma west) and then the weather turned more normal toward the end of the year as El Nino went away.

But for those who missed it, or want to relive it, here are the biggest weather events of 2005.

Hey Look! Snow Again On Jan. 6!

The calendar might have flipped to 2005, but the year began a whole lot like 2004 (only with much less snow in the mountains.) As it did in 2004, snow fell across the area on January 6.

But it wasn't satisfied with just the 6th. Mother Nature was teasing us with snow all the way through Jan. 15, with bouts of ice tossed in just to keep in interesting. Here's the list of stories we did covering the snow:

Jan 6: Deja View -- Snow Again On Jan. 6

Jan 8: Snowball Advisory Issued

Jan 9: Mother Nature to Puget Sound: Gotcha!

Jan 10: Skid Road Moves To The North Sound

Jan 10: Mother Nature's Singing The Snow Tune Again

Jan. 12: Mother Nature Slows Down The Snow

Jan. 12: Convergence Zone: Yes. Cold Air? Not So Much…

Jan. 14: Dog Gone It! More Snow/Ice In The Forecast

Jan. 15: Puget Sound To Mother Nature: Make Up Your Mind

From 'Where's The Snow?' To 'Where's The Sun'?

Record rains, along with wind, ice, sleet and snow, buffeted Washington, bringing ice storms to much of the Cascades and Eastern Washington and a serious flood threat to at least 12 rivers in the western half of the state.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for most of the larger rivers feeding into Puget Sound and Washington's marine waters, and flood watches for numerous smaller streams.

The Vancouver area and Vancouver Island in neighboring British Columbia also were hard hit, with numerous road closures reported in Vancouver and the suburbs of Burnaby, Langley and Surrey.

24-hour rainfall totals included 4.45 inches at Quillayute on the Pacific coast, 4.29 inches at Shelton, near Olympia, 2.74 inches at Bremerton and 2.36 inches at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Records for Jan. 17 were set with 2.39 inches at Sea-Tac, breaking the mark of 0.94 set in 1997, and 2.21 in Olympia, eclipsing a high of 1.48 recorded in 1986.

Jan. 18: Heavy Rains Prompt Flood Threat

And then, just a day later, it got pretty warm outside. Temperatures across the Puget Sound area got into the 60s, with some spots pushing up close to 70! Port Angeles set their all-time record high for January with a 68 degrees reading.

Jan. 19: Where Are We? Tampa?

'There's... Um... Nothing In Them, Thar Hills

The little bouts with lowland snow were nice, but the bigger story was the lack fo snow in the Cascade mountains. El Nino conditions kept us generally mild and dry for most of the winter, making for the lowest mountain snowfall since the winter of 1976-77. Ski resorts were hardly ever opened, and there were times during the winter when Snoqualmie Pass was completely bare.

Feb. 2: Where's The Snow?

Ohh, That Wacky Convergence Zone

Those that live in the North Sound are well familiar with the antics of the Puget Sound Convergence Zone, The one on Feb. 5 put out a myriad of lightning, hail, heavy rain, and snow.

Feb. 5: Mother Nature Puts On A Show

A day later, snow fell along the Hood Canal and Whatcom County areas.

Feb. 6: Snow Blankets The Hood Canal; Whatcom Co. Area

On Mar. 16, a weak waterspout touched down in Puget Sound off of Shoreline, but it didn't do any damage.

Welcome To Spring! Now, Hang On To Your Hat

A steady rain with wind gusts into the 40-50 mph range buffeted the area on the first day of spring, with a 60 mph gust registered in Bellingham and 66 mph near Vail in Thurston County.

The strong winds knocked out power to about 35,000 Puget Sound Energy customers between Kitsap and Thurston Counties. It also knocked down several trees in both counties, including one large tree in downtown Olympia that blocked Legion Way. A tree fell onto a motor home in Arlington, and the Coast Guard had to rescue several stranded or runaway boats in Puget Sound.

Mar. 20: After Summer-Like Winter, Spring Begins All Wet

Hey Mother Nature -- Make Up Your Mind!
Spring storms aren't too unusual in Seattle, but this one was fairly noted for going from absolutely dumping rain in Seattle (with lightning striking the Space Needle) to blazing sun in just 20 minutes.

Mar. 29: Didn't Like The Weather? Just Wait A Sec…

What Took You So Long?

After a winter of seemingly endless sunshine and inevitable water problems, Mother Nature comes through in the clutch with heavy mountain snows.

April 2: Better Late Than Never…

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's... A Funnel Cloud?

Several people caught a funnel cloud over Yakima on film (or is that, "digital media" these days?). The cloud never touched down, and there was no damage. It did rain a lot, though.

May 9: Funnel Cloud Spotted Near Yakima

Speaking of tornadoes, one touched down just west of Arlington near Lake Ki. It didn't hurt anyone, but it did snap a Cedar tree which collapsed a car port and fall on the roof of a home. There was some impressive lightning over Seattle as well.

May 18: Spring Storms Spark Seattle

At Least It's A Dry Heat

Our first and what would eventually be our strongest heat wave of the year came just before the Memorial Day Weekend. Several areas crossed the 90 degree mark, although Seattle officially "only" hit 89 both days. It did prompt the first ever "Heat Advisory" to be issued for the Puget Sound area.

May 26: Mother Nature Sends S.O.S -- Seek Out Shorts

May 27: Another Day, Another Scorcher

June was relatively quiet, with just one severe thunderstorm in the hills near Darrington on the 19th that toppled over several trees along SR-530.

July was also quiet, and on one clear evening, some photographers around the area captured some great photos of the Northern Lights and the Andromeda Galaxy.

July 18: Amazing What You Can See On A Clear Seattle Night

Summer Heat Wave, Take Two

Just in time for the Blue Angels and SeaFair, the sunshine comes out and temperatures soar into the 80s and 90s again.

Aug. 4: Seattle Goes From Medium Rare To Medium Well

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Strong winds in Eastern Washington led to a major dust storm, as blue skies in Moses Lake were erased in minutes, replaced with an orange haze.

The wind was blowing up to 60 mph in some places, reducing visibility to near zero in some spots and knocking out power to parts of the Moses Lake area.

That led to several crashes on westbound I-90, including a 12 vehicle pileup near Moses Lake that included two semis.

Aug. 13: Dust Storm Knocks Out Power; Causes Big Crashes On I-90

Hang On To Those Barbecues

In 24 hours, we went from blazing sunshine and 70 degrees to heavy rain and gusty winds in some areas. 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 there were trees down in the nearby Mukilteo area -- including one that was blocking the Mukilteo Speedway near Olympic View Middle School for about an hour.

Aug. 19: From Sunny And 70 To Rainy And Windy In 24 Hours

Just a few events in September made weather headlines. A lightning strike on the 9th blew a hole in a house and damaged wiring and electrical outlets in Everett. Then, on the 29th, gusty winds knocked out power to about 5,000 homes in Snohomish County.

That was quickly followed by another thunderstorm Oct. 1 where lightning strikes knocked out power to 6,000 homes and ruptured a natural gas line, staring a small fire.

Mother Nature Makes It Up To Skiers

After a dismal ski season in 2004, the 2005 ski season kicks off with a bang. Some mountain snow storms in late October and early November allow some resorts like Crystal Mountain and others to make their earliest opening in years!

Those storms also brought gusty winds again -- the storm on Nov. 4 had gusts to 40 mph that down trees and knocked out power to thousands in the Sequim and Joyce areas. A day later, gusts to 57 mph knocked over 100 trees in eastern Lewis and Thurston counties, falling on 10 homes and knocking out power to over 12,000 customers. Damage was estimated at $335,000.

Nov. 1: Wax 'Em up! Crystal Mountain To Open Friday

Nov. 3: Mother Nature Is Brought To You Today By The No. 3

Nov. 4: Let It Snow!

Honey, Have You Seen The Driveway Lately?

Dense fog and stagnant air became a recurring theme in November and December.

Nov. 18: Foghorns Getting A Workout

Seattle Develops Snow Repellant

The end of November and early December saw another bout with cold air and snow... well, at least for most.

Seattle was the "cone of green" around the greater Puget Sound on Nov. 29, as some morning snow dotted the Everett area and points north and east, while another round of snow rolled through the South Sound area Tuesday afternoon.

Seattle? A little drizzle, and still-green lawns.

More snow reappeared in the forecast on Dec. 1 with just about 1-3" around the area -- except for the heart of Seattle, which stayed in the bare lawn category.

Mother Nature saved her best snow for last, as yet another storm dumped snow across the area on Dec. 2. Spots along the higher Eastside areas had between 5-8" of snow, with a little less to the south...and none again for Seattle.

Nov. 29: Snow To The North… Snow To The South

Dec. 1: Snow In The Puget Sound Forecast, Take 2

Dec. 1: Puget Sound Weather Forecast? A Little 'Flake'y

Dec. 2 Second Wave of Snow Blankets South Sound, Foothills

Fluffy Goat Advisory For Foothills

The foothill folks might have been smiling at the extra snow, but by mid-December, they were probably hoping Mother Nature would go pick on someone else.

Strong east winds developed in the Cascades that lasted for several days. On the 10th, gusts to 64 mph knocked down trees and power lines, leaving 16,000 in the dark.

More winds to 60-65 mph blew through on the 18th and 19th.

Dec. 18: Goats Getting Fluffed By Strong Winds In Foothills

Dec. 19: Just Another Windy Monday

Santa Needs GoreTex -- And A Flashlight

As Christmas weekend approached, Seattle went from a long stretch of cold weather to a much warmer pattern. Temperatures on Christmas Eve hit 62 degrees -- just one degree shy of the all-time December record.

In addition, the heavy rains started and haven't really let up since. There was some minor flooding, but most rivers managed to hold their water.

Then, as Christmas morning dawned, as kids ran to see if they got a new bike or video game, parents were probably hoping Santa brought a generator, as strong winds to 40-50 mph blew across the Puget Sound area. About 20,000 lost power between Bellingham and Olympia -- with most on the Kitsap Peninsula. But power was restored by most in time for Christmas dinner.

Dec. 23: All I Want For Christmas Is A New Umbrella

Dec. 25: Winds, Heavy Rain Mark Christmas Weekend

As the year drew to a close, Mother Nature was sending one rain storm after another in hopes of making up for an early start to the month. Seattle went from just 0.40" of rain on Dec. 18 to nearly 6" by the end of the month -- enough to put us ahead of normal for December.

It looks like January will stay wet, but at least there's no snow forecast for Jan. 6 :)

Have a safe and wonderful 2006!