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Originally published April 1, 2014 at 6:28 PM | Page modified April 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

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After soaking-wet March, expect a more-normal April

After the wettest March on record at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the atmospheric pattern has shifted and a more normal spring pattern is on the way.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Cheer up, soggy Puget Sounders. It’s time to dry out.

After Seattle’s wettest March on record, the fire hose that nature pointed at the Northwest the past two months is growing slack.

“The pattern is changing, and we’re getting into a more normal spring,” said Ted Buehner, warnings coordinator at the National Weather Service in Seattle.

The 9.44 inches of March rain at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was a full inch above the previous March record (8.4 inches in 1950) and swamped the normal March mark, 3.72 inches.

To the north, in areas flanking the Oso mudslide, Arlington and Darrington each had their second-wettest March on record, with Arlington getting 8.7 inches of rain and Darrington getting 19.3 inches.

Darrington, nestled at 550 feet elevation in the Cascade foothills, where cool moist air condenses into rain, is no stranger to soggy storms. Its normal annual precipitation, about 80 inches, is twice that of Seattle.

Even though the wet pattern is easing, don’t break out the sunscreen and beach towels just yet. A normal Seattle spring can come with plenty of April showers.

After a sunny Wednesday, rain is back in the forecast for the next several days — into and through the weekend, with highs in the mid-50s.

But after that, things are looking up.

The Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast for Seattle calls for dry conditions Monday through Thursday, with high temperatures approaching the 70-degree mark.

A longer-term encouraging view comes from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The agency’s three-month outlook foresees above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for the entire West Coast.

The rainy season drawing to a close had a split personality, Buehner noted.

In October through January, precipitation was well below normal in the Northwest, while the Midwest and East Coast were hammered by a series of snowstorms.

But with the start of February, Buehner said, a shift in the atmospheric pattern aimed a persistent “moist southwest flow” at the Northwest, producing little snow but copious rain.

At Sea-Tac, three March days set rainfall records for their specific dates: March 8 (1.27 inches), March 16 (1.09 inches) and March 28 (0.87 inch).

But trivia buffs might want to note that the month’s soggiest day, March 5 (1.84 inches), failed to even approach the record for that date, 2.7 inches, set in 1972.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com



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