Rain inching up on record
In 1953, England's Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, the Korean War ended and the Seattle area recorded two of the region's longest stretches...
Seattle Times staff reporter
In 1953, England's Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, the Korean War ended and the Seattle area recorded two of the region's longest stretches of consecutive rainy days since people started keeping track in 1891.
It rained every day for 33 straight days between Jan. 6 and Feb. 7 of that year, the longest consecutive string on record, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dana Felton. Later that year, between Nov. 10 and Dec. 3, it rained 24 days in a row, the third-longest streak on record, he said.
As of this morning, there have been 24 consecutive days of rain recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a streak that began Dec. 19. Between 12 a.m., Tuesday and 12 a.m. today, 0.94 inches had fallen, with an additional 0.27 inches falling between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. today, said meteorologist Gary Schneider.
If the Weather Service's forecast of at least seven more days of rain holds true and it keeps raining through the end of next week, the Seattle area would be well on its way to a record.
Commuters who ride the Sounder train between Everett and Seattle should look for updates about service by visiting www.soundtransit.orgor calling Sound Transit's rider information line at 888-889-6368.
Amtrak passengers with questions about the service interruption can call 800-USA-RAIL, or visit Amtrak.com.
"Rain is likely almost every day. There are no dry days in the foreseeable future," Schneider said.
But history was the last thing on the minds of railway officials, road crews and river watchers Tuesday as slides covered train tracks and clogged a handful of roads, and flood watches were issued for rivers in four counties, including four in King County.
For the second time in less than a week, Sound Transit's Sounder train service between Everett and Seattle was halted after mud, rocks and trees tumbled down a hillside onto BNSF Railway tracks, said Sound Transit spokesman Lee Somerstein. The Sounder had just resumed operations Monday after a series of slides early Friday.
Even if the tracks are cleared, federal law requires a 48-hour halt to passenger-train service after a landslide to make sure hillsides are stable.
Sounder train passengers in Everett were bused to and from Seattle on Tuesday.
Dale and Donna King, city of Seattle employees who live in Concrete, Skagit County, said they prefer the train to the Sound Transit bus as they climbed off their bus in Everett during the Tuesday commute.
"Nature takes her course," Dale King said.
Although Sounder train service between Seattle and Tacoma was not affected, an earlier slide three miles south of Tacoma has halted Amtrak service between Seattle and Portland, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. The two slides together mean "there will be no Amtrak service between Portland and Vancouver, B.C." before Thursday at the earliest, he said.
If rain falls today in the Seattle area — and forecasters say it will — it will tie a record for the third-longest streak of consecutive days of rainfall in the region since measurements began being taken at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 1945. Here are the top five stretches of rainfall recorded at Sea-Tac.
No. 1: 33 days Jan. 6-Feb. 7, 1953.
No. 2: 25 days Jan. 28-Feb. 21, 1961.
No. 3: 24 days Nov. 10-Dec. 3, 1953.
No. 4: 23 days Dec. 19, 2005-Jan. 10, 2006.
No. 5: 22 days Dec. 19, 1964-Jan. 8, 1965.*
* From 1891 to 1972, rainfall also was measured at the federal building in Seattle. The longest stretch of consecutive days of rainfall there was 22 days, which occurred twice (Dec. 23, 1949-Jan. 13, 1950, and Jan. 27-Feb. 17, 1893).
Source: National Weather Service
Freight trains are still allowed to travel through the landslide areas but at reduced speed, Melonas said.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Washington also was victimized by the drenching rain. The Seattle Fire Department evacuated five members of the fraternity from a house in the 4700 block of 22nd Avenue Northeast around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday after mud and water pushed through the back door and into a bedroom. There are concerns that rain has made a nearby hillside unstable, department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.
Lowland flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley was a big concern for county road crews because of the dangers associated with driving through standing water, said King County Department of Transportation spokeswoman Rochelle Ogershok.
Heavy flows on Issaquah Creek washed out a portion of Issaquah-Hobart Road near Tiger Mountain on Tuesday afternoon, forcing King County to close the road between 255th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 164th Street. The route will remain closed until Jan. 19, weather permitting. Motorists should use Tiger Mountain Road as a detour.
According to Doug Williams, a spokesman for the county's Department of Natural Resources and Parks, King County's flood-warning center was activated at 6 a.m. Tuesday as water levels continued to rise. Phase 2 flood warnings have been issued for the Tolt, Snoqualmie, Green and White rivers, he said.
The Snohomish County Public Utility District reported that about 2,500 customers lost their power overnight between Monday and Tuesday because of the rain and high winds. An additional 12,000 customers in northeast Snohomish County lost their power from about 7 to 10 a.m., PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Dana Felton said lots of people have been calling his Seattle office, asking about a 90-day rain streak.
"Somehow a rumor has gotten around about rain for 90 days in a row, which didn't happen," Felton said. What did happen is it rained for 94 out of 120 days between Nov. 1, 1998 and Feb. 28, 1999, he said. "We had breaks in there so they weren't consecutive days."
Showers are expected all day today. On Thursday, there will be a bit of a break in the rain in the morning, but by afternoon or evening the rain will return, Felton said.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com
Seattle Times staff reporters Brian Alexander and Karen Gaudette contributed to this report.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(Courtesy of LeMay — America's Car Museum) New LeMay exhibit to look at NASCAR LeMay — America's Car Museum in Tacoma will look at the wil...
Post a comment