History of Thanksgiving weather in Seattle

Nov 21, 2014, 9:13 AM | Updated: 9:49 am

Here is a look at some statistics and memorable weather for the last 50 years on Thanksgiving weekend.

The most memorable Thanksgiving Day weather event was the windstorm in 1983 that many nicknamed the Turkey Day Storm. Winds rose quickly in the morning, leaving many residents without power. Peak wind gusts in the low to mid 60 mph range were common.

Although it didn’t occur on Thanksgiving, 1985 was also memorable for the snow that fell the previous day. Sea-Tac Airport recorded 7.6 inches of snow on Thanksgiving Eve and with a high of only 27 degrees on Thanksgiving Day, none of the snow melted. This was the second snow event of the month with snow on the ground at the airport from Nov. 20 through Dec. 4.

Another big weather event over Thanksgiving weekend was the 1990 major flood. Heavy rain on the 23rd and 24th pushed many rivers well above flood stage. Numerous record crests were set on the 24th and 25th with records at Snoqualmie Falls, Cedar at Renton, and Skagit at Mount Vernon still intact today.

Dry Thanksgiving weekends are rare with only four occurring in the last 50 years – 1963, 1969, 2002 and 2007. In contrast, there have been nine years where measurable precipitation fell on every day of the four-day weekend – 1971, 1972, 1973, 1980, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2008, and 2010.

In the last 50 years on Thanksgiving Day, measurable precipitation has been reported at Sea-Tac Airport 28 times (56 percent), a trace of precipitation 7 times (14 percent), and no precipitation 15 times (30 percent). The statistics are nearly identical for Black Friday with measurable precipitation 28 times (56 percent), a trace 6 times (12 percent) and no precipitation 16 times (32 percent).

The coldest Thanksgiving Day in the last fifty years was that high of 27 degrees in 1985. The warmest was 59 degrees in 1983. The high temperature on Thanksgiving has been between 45 and 54 degrees 36 times (72 percent).

This year, the National Weather forecast for Thanksgiving Day in the Seattle area shows a chance of rain. Skies are forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high near 49, fitting right in the average range.

These numbers were compiled by NWS Seattle staff member Dana Felton.

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History of Thanksgiving weather in Seattle