Weather Blog

What is that strange ball of light in the sky?

What is that strange ball of light in the sky?
We all know sunshine is rare in Seattle in the winter, but it's been cloudy even by our gray standards.

Sunday was the first official sunny day in Seattle since December 16th -- meaning we've gone over a month since the last time sunglasses were needed for more than a few minutes, and likely more than a month since the last time Mt. Rainier has appeared in earnest.

But it's not like sunshine was a frequent visitor before then. Since October 1st, you can almost count on one hand the number of sunny days we've had -- just six. Three in October, two in December and Sunday. (Although Monday will likely be credited with No. 7). We average 12 between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, so still a chance to catch up as sun remains in the forecast.

In the meantime, we had a streak of three consecutive days of dense fog reported (visibilities at or less than 1/4 of a mile) and we're in the middle of a streak of six consecutive dry days (as of Sunday. Monday, again, should be No. 7).

Could we be nearing any kind of records? Eh, not likely. In fact, it'll be a bit to get to the Top 5. In December of 1985, the mother of all high pressure systems set up shop, setting two records that will be quite a challenge to break.  

As for fog, the worst stretch ever was the 13 days between December 16th and 28th, which had dense fog reported every day (and 18 days overall that month). 

The next closest stretch was 10 consecutive days between Dec. 30, 1980 and Jan. 8, 1981.  To get into the Top 5, you need 7 straight. Sea-Tac had three days, but the streak was broken Sunday. (They had fog reported, as they have had for the past nine days - and has had every other day this month, save the 3rd, 8th and 9th, but not dense fog.)  We have had 6 days so far with dense fog -- already reaching our monthly average of 5.2 days.

As for the dry stretch, for the rainy season (November to February) we again go back to December 1985, where we went 21 consecutive days without rain between the 8th and 28th.  That's way ahead of No. 2, which are 15 day streaks, set Feb 13-27 in 2005 and Jan 16-30 in 1963.

As I mentioned, Seattle is at seven days through Monday (I'll go ahead and stick my neck out and say it'll be dry today.)   Current long range forecasts as of Monday keep it dry through about Sunday the 25th, which would be good for 12 days in a row (assuming rain on Sunday). That would not get us into Top 5 status, but we would join a several-year tie for 5th if we can get to 13 days.

In the meantime, enjoy the sun. After this week, who knows when we'll see it again :)