Weather

It's sunless in Seattle as city weathers one of the gloomiest stretches in recent history

Posted January 29, 2020 10:55 a.m. EST

— For many people, rain and the city of Seattle are nearly synonymous.

You can thank pop culture's depiction of the city in films such as "Sleepless in Seattle" and shows like "Grey's Anatomy."

In some ways, it's an image that's understanable, especially when you consider that Seattle can experience more than 300 cloudy days per year. But most of those days are just that -- cloudy --- and not rainy. The annual average rainfall just shy of 40 inches per year. Not even enough to crown the Emerald City in the top 30 of America's rainiest.

The likes of Boston, New York, Atlanta and Miami all trump Seattle in annual average rainfall, in some cases by a wide margin.

However, Seattleites have endured a rather unique streak of both gloomy and soggy weather over the past two months. One that even for its hardy residents has become notable.

In fact, Seattle has not experienced an official sunny day since November 30. A sunny day requires that the sky has one-eighth or less cloud cover.

Just two days in December were even considered partly sunny and those days still managed to have an average of 70% cloud cover in the sky's above.

January hasn't been much better. All 29 days in the month have been blanketed by cloudy conditions.

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The city's official weather observation site at Sea-Tac Airport has observed at least trace amounts of rainfall -- more than 0.0 inches of rainfall but less than 0.001 inches -- every single day this year except January 1.

Sea-Tac's record for most rainy days in January is 28, having occurred both in January 1953 and again in January 2006. This record will almost certainly be matched in January 2020.

There is hope. Long-range forecasts suggest that perhaps over the next week, clouds may break for a brief period, allowing the city to squeeze out a much deserved partly sunny day.

Before you get too excited, though, remember Groundhog Day is on Sunday. For the sake of the city's residents, let's hope January's weather doesn't repeat itself.

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