Soggy Seattle goes on streak of dry weather

AP News
Posted: Aug 31, 2012 5:51 PM
Soggy Seattle goes on streak of dry weather

SEATTLE (AP) — Not too many people are complaining in typically soggy Seattle, but the city is on a surprising run of dry weather.

The gauge at Sea-Tac Airport has gone to the end of August without a drop of rain. And the National Weather Service says if it stays that way through Friday as expected, it'll break the record of .01 inches of precipitation, which has happened just three times in the city since 1891.

The current dry spell could challenge the 51-day record set in 1951. The last rain at the airport was .04 inches on July 22 — marking 40 days and counting.

There's no more reason for the dry August than there was for the wet June, said weather service meteorologist Allen Kam.

It's just the way things go, he said, "Streaks happen."

The dry stretch is just fine for people heading outdoors for Labor Day weekend. The 200,000 people expected to gather by the Space Needle for the annual Bumbershoot Festival, a three-day music and arts fair named after an old-timey word for "umbrella," can expect sunny skies and highs around 70.

"You can't always count on good weather — this is Seattle," said Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust. "This weekend the weather forecast is perfect."

Gathering clouds could lower temperatures and bring a chance of showers in some other areas of the state for the last holiday of the summer, but forecasters don't see any Seattle rain storms on the horizon.

"It has a decent chance of lasting a bunch into September," said Kam, who is based in Seattle. "We could certainly be sneaking up on the 51."

Though the summer has been dry, for the calendar year, precipitation in the city is about 5 inches above normal, Kam said. He added that rain watchers follow the "water year," which starts in October, and on that calendar, Seattle is just about 1 inch above average for this time in the year.

"That brings it whole heck of a lot closer to normal," Kam said.

The city's dry summers are often overlooked because of its rainy reputation, said University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor Cliff Mass. Seattle can attribute its damp status to the persistent drizzle and overcast skies that shroud the city much of the rest of the year.

"We are one of the driest places in the country in mid-summer," Mass said. "People don't hear about that but it's true."