The Northwest weather calendar in the stormy season is filled with historical events that people can name just by the date: October 12, 1962 (Columbus Day Storm). January 20, 1993 (Inauguration Day Storm). December 29, 1996 (Edmonds Marina Collapse snow). January 31, 1950 (the day the temperature hit zero in Seattle.)
But I wanted to know was there a date on the calendar that has missed all the fun? In other words, what has been the most boring date in Seattle's winter season? What day would be the worst to plan a snowball fight, or count on that power outage to save you from homework?
I did the period between November 1 and February 28 because those four months are the heart of the stormy season in Seattle. I did consider records from both Sea-Tac Airport and the Downtown Federal Building, which stretches back into the 1890s, but heavily weighted Sea-Tac's numbers since I had access to most of its data. (Editor's Note: Believe it or not, there are no recorded daily snowfall totals for Sea-Tac Airport between late 1996 and 2003. NOAA at first decided to do away with the snow measurements in 1996, then reinstated it in 2003. More on that in a future blog.)
* It has to not have snowed on this date in Sea-Tac history -- bonus if also not at Federal Bldg.
That wiped out all of January and most of December, save for Dec. 9. There were 11 blank days in November -- most toward the start of the month, which would make sense. (Heck, we hit 74 on Nov. 3 this past year.) And there were 5 days in February.
So that left us with 17 days still standing.
* It has to not have a decent windstorm on that date.
For reference, I used Wolf Read's Excellent "Storm King" website that details just about every wind event since the late 1880 to have struck the Northwest.
If a date was on his list, it was off of mine.
* It had to not have had a significant rain event on that date.
For this, I just glanced at the daily rainfall record for each date.
This left us with 5 days left. I applied a few other minor tie breakers and came up with what I am declaring as THE MOST BORING DAY OF WINTER.
And it is (drumroll...)
(Come on, I don't hear you banging the table with your hands...)
Yes, today. It has not snowed a measurable amount on February 25th at Sea-Tac, and only has 0.8" in the records at Federal Building. Its record daily rainfall is just 0.80". It has only had 3 days with .50" of rain or more. Its record low is just... well, it's now 21 as of 2011. It was 22.
If some actual winter weather were to occur on February 25 and it has to relinquish its throne, there are a few other dates that have mostly sat on the sidelines throughout history as well.
February 21: I almost crowned this as the winner. It also was blank in snow for Sea-Tac and is just 0.7" at Federal Bldg. It's daily rain is 0.98" and it had 5 days with more than a half inch of rain. Its record low is just 25 which almost pulled it ahead, but the lack of big rains on the 25th sealed the deal.
February 18: Not only has it not snowed on this date either, nor has it had a windstorm, but it is statistically the least likely day to have rain in February. But what penalized the date from reaching top dog status was it's had two dates where over 1.6" of rain fell, including 1.63" in 1963.
November 1: No snow, 1.06" daily rain record
November 10/16: Both no snow, 1.08" daily rain record
November 6: 0.2" snow, 0.99" daily rain record
November 29: 0.6" snow, 1.08" daily rain record
February 11: 1.1" snow, 0.81" daily rain record.
On Monday, I'll post what I felt is the STORMIEST DATE IN THE NORTHWEST (West...west....echo...). And I think the answer will surprise you.
In the meantime, keep some snowballs from this week's earlier snows in the freezer for these dates. Trust us, you'll be the only one armed.