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Do you want Seattle to beat the record for days without rain?

Jake Ellison

Hard to know what to root for – a record dry spell or the return of rain.

Our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass says the race is on, and it’ll be close.

Today was dry, “allowing us to tie the second longest dry-spell (45 days), and we will certainly beat it, with dry conditions guaranteed through Saturday (48 days!) But will we beat the all time record---51 days-- which we will tie on Tuesday (Sept. 11th) … Folks, it is going to be close,” Mass wrote in his blog post, “A Nail Biter: Will Seattle Beat the All-Time Record Dry Streak?

Which are you rooting for?

Johnny Burg, weather-service meteorologist, told the Seattle Times that dry weather is expected until Sunday or Monday, when there's "a slight chance" of rain.

Mass’ post goes through some very technical machinations to arrive at the conclusion that the increased threat of precipitation is associated with a trough passing by just to our north. 

51 days in '51

“Well we haven’t had any measurable precipitation at Seatac Airport since July 20th, which brings us up into our top five longest dry streaks on record.”

That’s Ted Buehner with the National Weather Service in Seattle. He keeps track of these things. The record is easy to remember.

"The longest believe it or not was 51 set in 51.”

That was 51 days back in 1951.

Plenty of water, for now

But, despite the dry spell, we’re not in a water crisis. What gives?

Richard Gustav manages resource conservation services at Seattle Public Utilities.  He says this year our water supply situation is still quite good.

“We’ve had an excellent water year to date. But as your listeners are observing and we are watching closely, we have this extended period of dry weather and there is the possibility that could change.”

The public utility isn’t worried right now because we’ve had a wet year so far. Seattle’s reservoirs are full. We have plenty of snow pack in the mountains, which serves as backup supply. And the city says, while it never hurts to do more, people have been doing a pretty good job with conservation. 

“Who says meteorology isn't exciting?” Mass wrote. “I bet the Weather Channel sends Jim Cantore here to cover it. This is going to be closer than the Presidential election. You will tell your grandchildren that you lived through this.”

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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