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Originally published July 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 21, 2007 at 2:05 AM

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1-2 inches of rain? Rivers on the rise? In ... July?

The rain promises to drop attendance and spirits at various local festivals and events, Seattle Center's annual Bite of Seattle included.

Seattle Times staff reporters

Look out your window this weekend and it might feel like November has come a few months early.

The unusually hot weather that made headlines earlier this month has turned unusually rainy as the National Weather Service is predicting 1 to 2 inches of rain in the Seattle area, and the possibility of local rivers flooding.

To make matters worse, the rain promises to drop attendance and spirits at various local festivals and events, Seattle Center's annual Bite of Seattle included.

The Darrington Bluegrass Festival and the Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow also are this weekend.

The forecast calls for heavy rain to roll into the Seattle area tonight, dumping 1 to 2 inches in the lowlands and perhaps even more in the mountains. The Olympic Peninsula could get the worst of it, with up to 5 inches in the mountains there.

"It's kind of hard to say now about how much rain is going to fall," said weather-service meteorologist Johnny Burg. "We're not going to issue any kind of flood watch until maybe [Saturday]."

The average daily rain at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for July is about .02 inches, or about .79 inches for the entire month. An inch of rain would certainly be record-breaking, Burg said.

At Olympic National Park, rangers will monitor weather conditions throughout the weekend, and park officials recommend visitors check in at ranger stations when they arrive, said Barb Maynes, a park spokeswoman.

Maynes said people should be cautious, check weather patterns before they arrive, and not try to cross swollen creeks or rivers.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for Olympic National Park. More than 427,000 visits were recorded in July 2006.

There was "some flooding in August a number of years ago," Maynes said. "It's very unusual; July is typically one of our driest months."

The rain might be remnants of Typhoon Man-Yi, which lashed Japan last week, Burg said.

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This weekend's forecast is the latest in what is becoming an unusually wet July in Western Washington.

For the month, Olympia has recorded 50 percent more rainfall than normal.

Rainfall at Sea-Tac is about average, but the weather service expects this weekend's rains to push the monthly total above average.

Burg suggests staying inside this weekend unless you're "a glutton for punishment and you like sloshing around in the mud. Personally, I would say, wait until next weekend; next weekend looks a lot better."

Seattle Times reporter Christina Siderius contributed to this report.

Manuel Valdes: mvaldes@seattletimes.com or 206-748-5874; Brian Alexander: balexander@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2026.

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