Miss the rain after a record 52 straight days without? Here's a reminder...
SEATTLE -- An astonishing seven-plus-week journey through the calendar with no measurable rain in soggy Seattle reached a historic milestone Tuesday, as it'll become the 52nd day to accomplish the feat (at least, Sea-Tac Airport).
Never before since records have been kept in the late 1800s has Seattle gone so far without getting a rain fix. The old record was 51 days set in 1951.
Sure, as people have constantly reminded us on social media, not the ENTIRE region is working on a similar dry streak. We've had two other days in July that have brought a little rain to parts of Western Washington - even within the Seattle City Limits. But it didn't rain at the airport where the streak is being counted.
Those drizzles were pretty paltry though, and we haven't had a good soaking in nearly two months. Even though summers are typically dry here and we just came off one of the wettest winters and springs on record, many of the locals here cherish a cloudy, rainy day and quite a few are really craving one now.
While I can't bring the rain, I can perhaps bring back some fond memories. I produced this video two years ago when Seattle underwent a long hot and dry streak. It's especially apropos today:
(Thanks to Mike McLaughlin for providing much of the video.)
How did we manage this streak?
Seattle has managed to somehow dodge rainfall for nearly two months due to a combination of a very stubborn weather pattern, great timing on the calendar, and some good old-fashioned luck. (But was it bad luck?)
You would have never known such a streak was coming the way June began -- a few storms brought a decent amount of rain, topped off by a soaking storm on June 15th that brought 1.05" of rain in Seattle. It would rain 0.06" two days later on the 17th and then…rain was never seen in measurable quantities since.
A huge, very stubborn ridge of high pressure began building over the intermountain West, acting like a protective barrier to incoming storms. We spiked to 89 and 96 degrees on June 24th and 25th, respectively, but for much of July, the ridge settled in just to our east -- close enough to keep the rain away; far enough away to allow Western Washington access to the ocean breezes. It produced a remarkable stretch of weather that saw weeks of comfortable highs in the 70s or low 80s… but no rain.
Once the calendar started getting into late July, now we had climate on our side. The last week of July and first week of August are typically extremely dry around here with rain on those dates maybe once every 10-12 years. So we did well in starting this dry streak at the perfect time on Seattle's climate calendar to get an assist from the usual arid weather setup. And of course, the luck factor in that two times we did have a pattern that squeezed out a few showers in July, it didn't rain in the right place.
As the calendar flipped to August, the ridge drifted farther West, bringing more heat along with it. For the first six days in August, Seattle had matched New Orleans for an average high at 87.8 degrees.
That's where we stand on Tuesday -- still under the influence of the rain-guarding ridge. However, there remain signs that the streak doesn't have that much longer!
Long range models suggest a pattern shift this weekend that will not only bring in cooler west winds and blow out the smoke, but also our first real chance of rain on Sunday, which would end our rain streak at a lofty 56 days.
Even if Sunday's rain doesn’t materialize, we're starting to get away from the dry peak of the calendar -- hey, October is just about 7 weeks away! -- and showery days will become easier to come by.
Until then, bask in the record, sun fans. You've never had a stretch like this before. And rain fans, just put that video on loop.