Weather Blog

Seattle in December: Drier than Los Angeles, almost less snowy than Phoenix

Seattle in December: Drier than Los Angeles, almost less snowy than Phoenix
A woman braves the rain as she crosses the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way in Beverly Hills, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010.
It was a fight to the finish, but in the end, a rare December sunny streak in Seattle is costing us a crown. (Whether that crown was coveted or not depends on who you ask.)

Despite December being one of the wetter months of the year on average for rainy Seattle...
Despite Seattle being 50% above normal for the month...
Despite Seattle *recording their 7th wettest December on record*...

It wasn't enough. A buzzer-beating rain storm in Los Angeles on Dec. 29th overcame Seattle's large 4th quarter lead (Yes, I've now moved on to using basketball analogies and Seattle in the same metaphor. The irony continues) to allow sunshine city to take the December rain crown away from Raintown, USA.

The final tally shows Los Angeles with 8.83" of rain in December, while Seattle, unless someone gets a firehose near Sea-Tac's rain gauge tout suite, will finish with a "paltry" 8.69" of rain. Seattle's total is well above the 5.81" we normally get this year, and ranked 7th wettest for any December since 1945. But for L.A. 8.83" is far and away their wettest December on record, breaking their old record of 6.49" set in 2004. It looks like it might be their 7th wettest month ever.

What makes it really strange is that La Ninas are rarely wet in Southern California. Typically it's the El Nino winters where they get their heavy rains.

We lost in snow to Arizona?!?!?

To add insult to soggy injury, we almost had the great statistic that Downtown Seattle was even less snowy than Phoenix this month. That's because Downtown Seattle completely missed out on any of the snow show eariler this week. Meanwhile, Phoenix had several residents report it was snowing there Thursday -- sights of snowflakes were originally reported in several neighborhoods.

But then, late Thursday, the story changed when the National Weather Service came out and said that it wasn't snow that they were seeing but -- wait for it -- graupel. Yes, that same "it looks like the world's largest beanbag chair exploded over Tacoma" popcorn snow that fell in spots around our area Wednesday. But I suppose we can forgive Phoenix residents for not knowing what snowflakes really look like :)

Still then, we can say Phoenix has "out-grapueled" Downtown Seattle in December, but for actual snowflakes, we both remain tied at zero.