Seattle has never had 90 days of rain in a row, despite legends to the contrary. But this month, at least, has perhaps felt like interminable rain and gloominess.
With precipitation predicted every day this week, Seattle is on track to have a record-tying 28 rainy days in January, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dana Felton.
“The chances are real good it’s going to rain the rest of the month,” he said Monday.
Typically, Seattle experiences about 15 rainy days in January, he said. The last times that the first month of the year was this soggy were back in 1953 and 2006, he said.
Records for the number of rainy days this month will likely be set in Quillayute, Forks and Olympia — which have never before had measurable rain every single day of January — and Hoquiam, which has, he said.
Quillayute and Forks are on track, also, to break their record of 24.02 inches of rain for the month, he said. As of Monday evening, Quillayute had gotten 22.28 inches.
So far this month, 6.49 inches of rain has been measured at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. While that’s more than is normal for January, it’s “nowhere near” the month’s record of 12.92 inches, set in 1953, Felton said.
But Hoquiam will end up with its second-wettest January on record, and Olympia will “definitely get in the top five.”
The steady rain has kept soil saturated and prone to landslides.
One lane of eastbound Highway 18 was reopened Monday afternoon after a small landslide encroached on the highway at Issaquah-Hobart Road. The westbound lanes were unaffected.
“The landslide threat will definitely continue through the week and into the weekend,” Felton said. “The soils are saturated and haven’t had any chance to dry out.”
Temperatures through the rest of the month are expected to remain in the upper 40s to mid-50s, Felton said.
As to the 90-days-of-rain myth, Felton said it’s a legend the weather service can’t seem to squelch.
Justin Shaw, who writes Seattle Weather Blog, has a possible explanation for its persistence.
“I think the technical reason why is because it rained 90 out of 120 days during the winter of 1998-99 … but stick the words ’90 days,’ ‘winter,’ ‘rain’ and ‘Seattle’ in a Pacific Northwesterner’s head, and our minds can’t help but scream, ‘We had 90 days of rain!’ It becomes like a badge of honor for this soggy, dark corner of the country,” he wrote in an email Monday.
“Ultimately, given how dark and drenched this region is during winter, it can be hard to discern whether the faucet that is our rain is completely turned off, or still dripping,” he said.
But take heart: Even during the wettest years, our precipitation levels drop off significantly in February, Felton said.
Our normal for January is 5.57 inches of rain; the normal for all of February is 3.5 inches, he said.
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