Seattle is in midst of rainiest April stretch in 56 years

Apr 11, 2019, 12:58 PM | Updated: Apr 12, 2019, 1:30 pm

After an historically snowy February and a record-setting warm March, Mother Nature is completing the weather trifecta with the rainiest April stretch the Seattle area has seen in 56 years.

RELATED: Rain set to return after Seattle’s second driest March on record
RELATED: Western Washington braces for tough year of wildfires

Thursday marked the ninth straight day with rain in Seattle — the last time the city got a streak that long in April was a 10-day stretch between April 11-20 in 1963. The all-time record for consecutive rainy April days for Seattle is 11 days, set between April 7-17 in 1955.

Just 11 days into April, the 1.71 inches of rainfall so far this month has already outstripped the total for all of March, and is just one inch short of the average for all of April.

While it may be disappointing to see Seattle’s sunny spring take April off, it’s also been a much-needed change of pace for the region. Last month marked the second driest March Seattle’s ever had on record.

A three-day stretch of record-setting warm weather in March saw 25 fires pop up across the Puget Sound Region, having many concerned that it could be a harbinger of what’s to come later this year.

That in turn has fueled concerns that late-spring/early-summer will make for a particularly rough wildfire season.

UW climate scientist Cliff Mass argued in a recent blog post that those concerns may not be entirely warranted.

“My read: The current situation is NOT serious, that the snowpack is not that low, that our reservoirs are in good shape, and that substantial April rain/snow will ensure that we go into this summer in reasonable shape,” he said.

Mass noted that April “plays a critical role regarding summer drought in the Northwest,” with a dry month often begetting an even drier summer.

Initial reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called for a 40 to 50 percent chance of “drier than normal” weather this spring for Western Washington. That prediction has since flipped, with the region now sitting between a 40 to 60 percent likelihood for above-average precipitation.

Correction: A previous version of this story falsely reported the 11-day rainy streak in 1955 was set between April 7-11. In fact, it was April 7-17, 1955.


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Seattle is in midst of rainiest April stretch in 56 years