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Yep, it rains a lot here: Seattle sloshes to 157th rainy day of 2018

A rainy autumn day around Seattle (Photo: Lien Titus)

SEATTLE -- Seattle's reputation as Rain Town, USA earned its stripes again this year.

The rains that fell on Thursday morning was the 157th time this year the Emerald City has had measurable rain (defined as 0.01" of rain or more). For those scoring at home, that means it's rained on more than 4 of every 10 days this year.

But as dreary as that might seem, it might even be more surprising that...

It's completely normal.

In any given year, Seattle averages 156 days with measurable rain. With a few more rainy days left in the hopper in 2018, we'll go a bit more above average, but not significantly so. We'll actually end up drier than the past two years with 162 days in 2017 and 172 rainy days in 2016.

While the city certainly has had some wet years and dry years as far as tallies in the rain gauge, our perch along the Pacific Ocean shores near the home of the jet stream means there isn't a whole lot of variability in number of days with rain. Our record year for rainy days is 194 set in 1950, while the least frequently rainy year was 120 set in 1987.

And it's quite predictable when those rainy days will clump together, with our climate dictating soggy autumns and winter, with dry summers and springs that can go either way. April has had as many as 25 days with rain and as few as three. Seattle averages 18-19 days of rain a month in the heart of the rainy season (November-January) but just 5-6 days in July and August with some years going completely dry.

Overall, it's been a pretty typical year for Seattle rain. Seattle is going to end up with roughly 35.5 inches of rain in 2018 -- about 2 inches below normal. We've had five days with 1" or more of rain -- about average. And we've set three new daily rainfall records this year. April was the 3rd wettest on record; May was tied for the driest.

But what is old hat for Seattle, would be record-breaking in much of the rest of the nation. Several cities would set all-time records for most frequently rainy years if they had 157 days of rain in a year, including:

Chicago: 126 average annual days with measurable rain (record: 154)
New York City: 121 (152)
Washington, DC 118 (155)
Orlando: 117 (147)
Atlanta: 115 (148)
Anchorage: 115 (145)
Denver: 87 (124)
Dallas: 77 (113)
San Francisco: 64 (110)
Los Angeles: 36 (81)
Phoenix: 35 (61)
Las Vegas: 26 (49)

But if 157 rainy days aren't enough, just head to Juneau which gets a whopping 225 days of rain a year. Or get in a time machine and head back to 1999, when they had 277 days with rain -- or 3 out of every 4 days that year had rain!

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