A long-running joke around here goes: "What do you call three straight days of rain in Seattle?" Answer: "A holiday weekend"
But whoever first penned that punch line must have been of the many getting dripped on at Folklife Festival because rain on a Seattle Memorial Day weekend is about as traditional as music and barbecues.
2013 marks the 9th time in the past 12 years that it has rained at some point on the four days of the festival (if we count in Fridays too since a lot of people take an extended holiday and the festival does begin on Friday afternoon.) Eight of those times have rain on at least two of the days, and this year marks the fifth time since 2002 to have rain on three of the four weekend days (Saturday was a trace so we were close to all four.)
But surely we would never get all four days wet, right? Well, it is Seattle, and sure enough, in 2010, it rained significantly on all four days.
Even the recent years when it didn't rain had some wild swings. In 2005, it was 89 on the Friday, but rapidly cooled to 76 for Saturday and 63 for Sunday as a monster marine push moved in. And last year, which I counted as one of the three recent dry years, even had two days with a trace of rain that don't officially count as a measurable rain day.
No, really we've had just one picture-perfect Memorial Day weekend since 2002 and that was in 2009 when each day had plenty of sunshine and highs of 70, 71, 71 and 69. It was enough for this writer to declare it the "Nicest Memorial Day of all time". Guess we're still paying for that one.
Now, I realize the forecasts we wrote last week for Memorial Day weekend were a bit more optimistic than what transpired. An upper level low that was forecast to fizzle on Friday and stay south instead did its best horror-flick villain act and managed to come back around for another round of showers around Western Washington. That gummed up Sunday morning.
Then, Monday's storm which was consistently pegged to move in well to our south decided to make a more direct approach and Monday's forecast for rain to stay south of Olympia was the only thing to go south instead. (Kudos to Seattleites though for maintaining city etiquette. Informal poll out the window here around Seattle center found out of 38 people walking around, only 7 had umbrellas.)
I'm sure more than a few people weren't happy with the result, but I found I could sneak into work in a way that absolutely no one would recognize me:
Past 12 Memorial Day Weekends:
Memorial Day Weekend Weather since 2002 (Courtesy: National Weather Service - Seattle/Tacoma)