9/2/2014

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In 121 years of Seattle rain records, it's never done this before... until now

In 121 years of Seattle rain records, it's never done this before... until now
Heavy rain floods a street in Kent on Sept. 28, 2013. (Photo by KOMO viewer Hannah Brown)
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2013 has been a bit of an odd year for Seattle, meteorologically speaking, especially in the precipitation department -- raining more toward the equinoxes than our typical deluges around the winter solstice.

In fact, Seattle is set to do something this year it has never, ever done before, be it at Sea-Tac Airport (which goes back to 1945) or the Downtown Federal Building, which tracked weather from 1892-1972...

It's going to crown September as its wettest month of the year.

Technically a summer month and still in Seattle's dry season, the month amassed 6.17 inches of rain, breaking the all-time wettest month of 5.95" set in 1978.

What's even more amazing, the second-wettest month this year was not our typical soggy stalwarts of November, December or January, but April at 5.89 inches -- also unprecedented. In an average year, September and April combine for about 11 percent of our annual rainfall total but this year we're in at 37 percent.

Here's how our months this year compare to a normal year:

Rank of Wettest
to Driest Months
Average year This year through Dec. 26
1 November (6.57") September (6.17")
2 January (5.56") April (5.89")
3 December (5.35") January (4.16")
4 March (3.72") November (3.79")
5 February (3.50") March (2.74")
6 October (3.48") May (2.38")
7 April (2.71") December (1.62")
8 May (1.93") February (1.58")
9 June (1.56") October (1.54")
10 September (1.45") August (1.35")
11 August (0.88") June (1.30")
12 July (0.70") July (Trace)

Other Notes:

  • Probably the closest time we came to crowning September as wettest month before was 1969 when September at 5.57" while November had 5.68" and January had 5.71"
  • In 1978, when September had previously been the wettest month at 5.95", that year currently holds the driest December on record at 1.37 inches. This month so far has just a paltry 1.62" as we near the end of the month. Could this be history repeating itself? If we're going to redo 1978, just a heads up that 1979 was very dry until that December....
  • The only other year on record that had the wettest month outside the October to March time frame was 1991 when April was the wettest month.
  • 1956 had the opposite issue -- April ended up being tied with July for the driest month on record at 0.33 inches.
  • 2013 is on pace to be the second-driest October to December on record. Right now were' at 6.95" through December 26. The record was 4.66" in 1976, but third driest (1952) is up at 7.42 inches.

So while this year hasn't left too many calling cards in the stormy weather department, it will leave an indelible mark in the Seattle weather record books!

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Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record Seattle finishes 2nd warmest July-August on record