Weather Blog

Does the dry streak record now need an asterisk?

Does the dry streak record now need an asterisk?

Update: Another rain shower hit Sea-Tac Airport Monday evening, dropping another 0.01" of rain, making a whopping 0.02" for the storm.

I am conflicted.

I'm not sure whether to really accept that Seattle's dry streak is really over. Part of me wants to submit an appeal to... I don't know, perhaps Punxsutawney Phil? Most people in Seattle awoke to sunshine Monday and had no idea the streak-busting rain had come overnight.

I mean, the streak ended with 14 minutes of rain in the dead of night. 14 minutes! With just the bare minimum 0.01" to count -- 0.01! Just about a half-hour short of midnight -- a half-hour! (Believe it or not, this has happened before. Seattle ended up six minutes short of setting a spring dry streak record in June of 2009.)

Granted, we weren't directly on the cusp of setting the record. Getting into Monday would have meant the streak was at 49 days rather than the 48 it ended up being, and the record was 51. Had it poured Monday, this would be akin to biting nails over a last-second field goal attempt when you're down 4 points.

But lo and behold it hasn't rained since. And it looks like had the 14 minute shower not measured, the streak would not only be alive, but reenergized and poised to run another week at least, shattering the record. (It did actually rain a second time in Seattle Monday morning -- for 25 minutes -- but this time it didn't measure, as the intensity was lighter.)

On the other hand, it did rain quite a bit in many other parts of the greater Seattle area. While the rain was blocked a bit from the South Sound and Sea-Tac Airport area by the Olympic Mountains, spots in the city of Seattle and points north had a decent bout of rain. A spotter in West Seattle had 0.02" but just up the road, a spotter near Ballard had 0.12". Eastside locations reported between 0.10 and 0.17" while Shoreline and into Snohomish County had several reports around a quarter inch -- not just a few drops, that's for sure.

In that sense, this is sort of like blowing what likely would be a game-winning field goal, but it was a dubious pass interference play that got you there to begin with. Had that 14 minute shower not registered in the rain gauge, Seattle's dry streak would have continued on somewhat of a technicality in many people's eyes.

Then again, no other dry streak greater than 40 days had ever been so close to continuing on -- each before ending with a douse of rain.

So, were we robbed? Does the streak need an asterisk? Or would it have been disingenuous to keep it going considering the amount of rain elsewhere? Other neat rain streak fact: It actually rained for over 2 hours in late July on Day 6 of the streak, but it was a fine drizzle that never accumulated. So maybe the streak should have been a week shorter, but makes the 0.01" in 14 minutes seem even more agonizingly close.