August was extra wet in the Seattle area, and now it’s time to think about snow in the mountains.
An August that delivered more rain than the previous four months combined and a weather-service advisory of mountain snow before Labor Day are the two latest indications that 2015 weather intends to stay interesting.
After producing near-drought conditions for much of the year, nature let the floodgates open in August. Although measurable rain fell on just six days at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in August, those soakers produced 3.28 inches of rain — more than three times the normal August amount, 0.88 inches.
In contrast, April, May, June and July had yielded a combined 2.93 inches.
Josh Smith, weather-service meteorologist, said this wasn’t a record wet August. That title is held by August 1975 and its 4.59 inches of rain.
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But he said the wet August did bring the year’s rainfall total to 19.61 inches, much closer than it has been to a normal amount, 20.59 inches for the eight-month period.
August’s rains do not mean local utilities are canceling their recent request for people to cut water use.
“We need to keep going to make sure we have enough water in the streams this fall for the fish,” said Andy Ryan of Seattle Public Utilities. In mid-August, Seattle joined Tacoma and Everett in urging customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10 percent.
Early readings show that cooperation with the request has been good, Ryan said.
And about that snow … It‘s not expected in the Western Washington lowlands, but in mountain areas above 5,600 feet in the Cascades and Olympics on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a Weather Service advisory.
Although that level is higher than the major mountain passes, high-country hikers could encounter snow falling Wednesday and Thursday and lingering on trails into Labor Day weekend. Two to four inches could fall above 6,000 feet, with a foot or more possible at higher elevations on Mount Baker, according to the advisory.
Meteorologist Allen Kam said the alert was issued not because many people will be impacted by snow, but because, “It’s such a stark change from the weather we’ve been having.”
Travelers, campers and hikers, he said, should be aware that even if they don’t see snow, the weather is shifting quickly to a cool, fall pattern. At Stevens Pass, nighttime temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s.
Wet, cooler weather is expected the next few days in Seattle, with high temperatures forecast in the mid-60s through Friday, followed by a warmer, drier pattern on the holiday weekend.