Fall feel across the Puget Sound, wet weather lasts till Wednesday
Sep 25, 2023, 8:32 AM | Updated: 8:37 am
(Photo by Bill Kaczaraba)
As Friday brought the last official day of summer, it started to feel like fall incredibly fast, with the first heavy rain of the season that started this weekend and will continue through Wednesday.
Western Washington received its first round of heavy rain starting late Sunday evening. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), this heavy rain will continue into Monday and Tuesday, with more than two inches of rain expected.
More autumn news: Fall is coming to Western Washington and it will bring changing leaves
Rain will likely taper off by Wednesday, though cooler temperatures and light rain will continue across the region.
KIRO 7 meteorologist Nick Allard’s prediction for the rest of the week shows rainy weather shifting to windy conditions, along with some spats of rain.
“An area of low pressure will move over the area on Wednesday for wet and breezy conditions with another wave of rain on Thursday that will turn to showers during the day,” Allard wrote. “Friday will only have scattered showers with some sunshine on the way for the weekend!”
This rapid shift in weather is due to a low-pressure system coming in from the coast, KIRO Newsradio meteorologist Ted Buehner said.
“It’ll be like a switch shifting into fall this weekend, with a very strong low-pressure system off the coast creating a surge of coastal rain, about two to three inches, Sunday through Tuesday,” Buehner said. “(Friday) is the end of summer, marking the transition back to the Seattle most people think of, rainy and gray.”
The NWS said that as this is the first heavy rainfall of the season, residents should watch out for flooding and debris from burn scars from the summer’s wildfires.
“The primary impacts from this heavier rain are expected to be roadway ponding in urban areas and minor nuisance flooding of poor drainage areas, and this risk may be enhanced in areas where storm drains become blocked,” the NWS said in their forecast update. “Although many rivers are expected to see rises, river flooding is not expected at this time. However, the risk cannot be ruled out, and the response of rivers to rainfall will continue to be monitored.”
Wildfire season: The beginning of the end
The summer saw some of the hottest temperatures on record, along with several major wildfires, including the Sourdough Fire and the Oregon Road Fire. This rain doesn’t mean that the state is completely clear of wildfire danger, but it does mark the beginning of the end of the season. Washington had a total of 1,855 wildfires burning 155,503 acres, which is ahead of the typical pace for a number of fires but below average for acres burned, which is 1,417 fires and 288,682 acres burned.
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a press conference that elevated temperatures and dry fuel conditions through the fall could still see wildfires spark up.
More weather: Count out 80-degree days in Seattle as El Niño arrives
“The recent fires on the west side of our state remind us that fire season is not over yet. As we’ve seen the past couple of years with the Bolt Creek and Nakia Creek fires, autumn still holds potential for large wildfires that can impact broad areas of Washington,” Franz said in a prepared statement.
“We’re seeing fires rage through wetter forests, even the Olympic Rainforest,” Franz added. “Even though it’s been cooler, we still haven’t seen much rain, and until we do, our forests remain vulnerable to wildfires that can threaten homes and fill our skies with smoke.”
As for the rest of the year, the El Niño winter means a warmer than average winter, with below-average precipitation, along with less than average snowpack, Buehner said.
“Looking ahead to next year, we will have less runoff from the mountain, earlier wildfire, more water concerns for next dry season,” Buehner said. “I’m worried about how next year will unfold without the snowpack we have been getting, coupled with the continuing trend of hotter, drier summers.”