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Now and Then a Rainy Day in Seattle

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Weather

Seattle is known for its rain but — truth be told — it doesn’t rain 24/7 in western Washington.  Sometimes it just feels that way.  The last two months, in fact, have been surprisingly beautiful and dry after a wet first half of summer.  And so far this week we’ve had barely a drizzle.

The fall and winter wet typically starts by late October and sometimes the skies open up.  Never was that more true than on this very date eight years ago.  Oh, I remember it well! October 20, 2003 was a drencher in the Puget Sound area. The rain came down in torrents, overwhelming the drainage ditches in my neighborhoods.  Storm drains elsewhere were already clogged with fallen leaves. Five inches of rain that day obliterated (by an inch and a half) the 24-hour rain record that had stood for 44 years. To put that in perspective, five inches is about one-seventh the normal precipitation in Seattle … for an entire year!

On the anniversary of our record rainfall, we give you the 16 wettest days in Seattle history (at least since the weather station was established at Sea-Tac Airport).  The gauge collected more than two and a half inches of rain on each of these wildly wet days.

DAYS OF GREATEST PRECIPITATION IN SEATTLE

Rank Date Precipitation
(inches)
1. 2003 Oct 20 5.02 << within the last ten years
2. 2007 Dec 3 3.77 << within the last ten years
3. 1959 Nov 20 3.41 << more than 50 years ago
4. 2006 Nov 6 3.29 << within the last ten years
5. 1996 Feb 8 3.06
6. 1998 Nov 25 3.04
7. 1986 Jan 18 2.98
7. 1951 Feb 9 2.98 << more than 50 years ago
9. 1990 Nov 9 2.95
10. 1990 Nov 24 2.93
11. 1990 Jan 9 2.83
12. 1981 Oct 6 2.72
13. 1972 Mar 5 2.70
14. 1991 Apr 4 2.64
15. 2001 Nov 14 2.61 << within the last ten years
16. 1955 Feb 7 2.58 << more than 50 years ago

PHOTO © Steve Campion

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