Seattle just gave new meaning to Dry January.
The city experienced its driest January in 22 years, with 3.09 inches of rainfall last month — that’s 53% of the normal 5.78 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
For context, 7.75 inches of precipitation fell in Seattle in December, with 3.36 inches just between Dec. 24 and 27, said Carly Kovacik, a meteorologist with the weather service in Seattle.
The last time Seattle’s first month of the year ran this dry was in 2001, when Wikipedia came online and Apple released iTunes to the public for the first time.
It was also the 12th driest January in 79 years — no internet back then, let alone computers.
The start of February will briefly continue its predecessor’s dry dance, with no substantial rainfall in the forecast until Friday.
High temperatures warmed to near-seasonal levels Wednesday.
“We’re finally creeping back into the upper 40s,” Kovacik said Wednesday, something Seattle has not experienced so far this week.
Plentiful cloud cover will blanket Western Washington on Thursday, continuing to raise overnight lows and daytime highs from below-average temperatures, according to the weather service.
Thursday’s high clouds could also give the Seattle area a colorful sunrise at 7:34 a.m. and colorful sunset at 5:12 p.m., NWS said on Twitter.
Seattle’s expected high of 50 degrees on Groundhog Day may just be our own version of Punxsutawney Phil, signaling the arrival of springlike weather — although only in the form of temperature for now.
With a blanket of clouds over our region, and “especially as our next weather system gets close,” it will be hard to spot Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) as it sweeps closest to Earth on Thursday night, Kovacik said.
Dry conditions are expected to last until Friday afternoon, when rain will push through to the Puget Sound area, wetting pavement and coaxing the region out of its recent dry spell.
Friday’s weather system will also bring moderate snowfall to the Cascades, while the lowlands will turn wet and windy by the evening, according to the weather service.
“It’ll probably be breezy just about everywhere, but gustiest along the coast and then across portions in the north like the San Juans and up toward Bellingham,” Kovacik said.
As Punxsutawney Phil looks for his shadow Thursday, we want to know: What’s the Seattle-area equivalent of this quirky way to predict when spring will arrive? Is it, perhaps, when the banana slugs slither out of hiding? When rainfall becomes warmer? Or maybe even when faux spring teases us all?
Share your answer with us, in haiku, and if we get enough fun ones, we’ll publish a selection. Email your haiku and name to email@example.com by noon Friday.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.