(This story, originally published Monday afternoon, was updated Tuesday afternoon.)
Seattle, the city known for its gray, rainy skies, hasn’t seen a drop in 51 days. On Monday, it tied its longest rain-free streak on record and then, Tuesday, will most likely surpass it.
Seattle averages 152 rainy days each year. The last time it rained was before the summer solstice, when 0.06 inches fell June 17. Some mist has occurred a few times since, but no measurable precipitation.
A large ridge of high pressure has dominated the Pacific Northwest for much of the summer, blocking storms from moving inland off the Pacific Ocean.
Cliff Mass, professor of meteorology, points out it’s not unusual for little rain to fall in Seattle during the summer, which is the dry season. “We are only about an inch below normal for the 12-week period,” he said.
Through the end of July, Seattle was having its second wettest year on record. “So in terms of real impacts, the lack of summer precipitation doesn’t mean that much,” Mass added. “Meteorologists like records, though, and I am no exception.”
In a way, temperatures have been perhaps more notable than the dry streak. Monday marked Seattle’s tenth straight day at or above 80 degrees, tied for its third-longest stretch on record.
The streak included three days in a row of temperatures surpassing 90 degrees, Aug. 2-4. Record highs were set on two of those days (91 on Aug. 2 and 94 on Aug. 3) and temperatures would probably have surged higher but for wildfire smoke oozing into the region from British Columbia.
The forecast for the next several days calls for more very warm, dry weather. No rain is predicted for the week, which will allow this dry streak to become truly unprecedented in modern records.
At the same time, highs are expected to continue to be near and above 80 degrees. If it hits at least 80 every day this week, which is a possibility, Seattle will have a record for the longest streak of high temperatures above 80 degrees, passing the existing mark of 15 such days, set in 2015 and 1977.
Beyond this week, however, Mass says the weather may turn cooler and wetter.