Weather Blog

Phoenix -- Now Seattle-north? Almost...

Phoenix -- Now Seattle-north? Almost...
Milwaukee Brewers fans Bill Peters, right, and Erica Gunderson, both of Oshkosh, Wis., look out onto a tarp-covered infield after a spring training baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and Brewers was canceled due to heavy rain Sunday, March 7, 2010, in Phoenix.

I can hear the snowbirds from up here who are down in Arizona this winter from here: "Why did we bother?"

It's not often Seattle's weather can be compared with Phoenix, but this El Nino winter has turned the desert into a virtual Seattle clone.

I received a note from frequent blog contributor Mark Albright (a research meteorologist at the UW) who has been down in the Phoenix area for a while. He says that five of the past seven weekends down there have featured rain. Or as we call it up here: "Typical weekend weather for months that end in 'r', 'y', 'h', 'l', 'e', and 't.' "

With that note, I was eager to crunch the data and muse that the past seven weekends in Seattle have been nicer here than there. But before they start erecting Space Needles and we plow over the arboretum to make way for cacti, it turns out that while they have tried to mimic our weather, even with our mild El Nino pattern, we have still out-Seattle'd them.

While it has rained at some point on five of the past seven weekends in Phoenix, it's rained on the past six of seven here. (Our lone exception? The Sunniest weekend EVER!...(Ever...ever...ever...))

Of the 14 weekend days, it's been soggy for 7 of them in Phoenix, but 10 in Seattle. Accumulated rain: Phoenix had 1.51" while Seattle checked in at 1.75". Phoenix did get the honor for wettest weekend day (0.70" on Feb. 28 versus 0.42" on Feb. 14 for us).

But in just about every other category, we "win" -- we even "out-clouded" them, with average sky cover at 54% for Phoenix but 67% for Seattle.

And then, of course, the real reason why people flee here for winters in the desert: Average high temperature in Seattle during those seven weekends? 52.6 degrees. Phoenix? 66.8 degrees.

So, I guess that means the flora in the arboretum can breathe easier? :)