Share this story...
Latest News

Was latest storm ‘The Big Dark,’ or just normal weather?

Looking out over Lake Washington. (National Weather Service in Seattle via Twitter)

This week we survived an ominous weather system that could be seen stretching from China to British Columbia. With it brought the darkest days we haven’t experienced since our dreary weather over the winter and spring did a 180-degree turn and warmed up.

RELATED: History of big windstorms in the Northwest

Talking to The Seattle Times, a National Weather Service meteorologist dubbed the storm system “The Big Dark.” The combination of the name and photo of the clouds stretching across the Pacific Ocean brought the realization that summer is long gone and grey skies are becoming a part of our daily lives.

But was the three-part system that brought strong winds and heavy rain “The Big Dark,” or just normal?

The National Weather Services says this was the second year in a row that the Seattle area has experienced back-to-back days with at least 1 inch of rain. Between 1945 and 2015 there were four October days that have experienced similar rainfall. So definitely not a common occurrence, but it didn’t set a record.

As of Thursday night, Seattle rain totals for 36 hours had reached 2.37 inches. That’s just over two-thirds of the monthly normal of 3.48 inches in October, according to the Weather Service. However, it doesn’t compare to 14 years ago Friday, when Seattle experienced the wettest day in history (on record) with 5.02 inches.

There have been several notable storms in Western Washington during the month of October. The windstorm of Oct. 21, 1934, brought with it gusts of more than 55 mph in downtown Seattle. It was called “The worst gale in history,” after 17 people died.

The Columbus Day storm of Oct. 12, 1962 did approximately $2 billion in damage between British Columbia and Northern California and killed 46 people.

Peak winds recorded on Wednesday topped out at 49 mph in King County. The strongest winds were recorded at 101 mph; the location: Chinook Pass in Pierce County.

So, sure, the three-part storm this week that is wrapping up with more rain was nasty at times, but it is far from the worst we have seen. Especially in the lowlands.

Instead of preparing for “The Big Dark,” we should just be preparing for the next several months of typical Washington weather.

Most Popular