Meteorology 101

... setting the record straight

by Jerry Norton

May I take this opportunity to debunk a popular misconception about the
moisture level which surrounds Seattle and its environs? I allude, of course,
to the oft-heard … “Oh, Seattle; it rains all the time out there!”  Nothing
could be further from the truth.  And as a resident of this area (via
Melrose, Massachusetts) I would like to shed light on this distortion of

Readers may recall a couple of my previous offerings regarding one or two
above-average rainfalls which I have experienced since taking up residence in
these parts. Let me assure you, however, that those were exceptions to our
weather pattern. Our rainfall is only about 37 inches annually, which is less
than Boston and New York City. And, as Yogi Berra would say, “You could look
it up.” No, we are practically a desert when compared to the monsoons that
strike many of our cities, particularly down South. I would characterize
weather here more in the nature of the overcast and mist which pervades the
Emerald Isle - so dear to the hearts of the Boston Irish.

The case could be made that we are the “gloom capital” of American cities -
but leave the rain championship to places like Mobile, Miami and New Orleans
or other American cities too numerous to mention. It must be acknowledged,
however, that our gloomy skies may contribute to a higher-than-average
suicide rate here in the Great Northwest. But then what would you be inclined
to do had you lost your job, your house was being foreclosed on and your
spouse had run off with your financial advisor? Would we not all be inclined
to stick our heads in the oven given this unfortunate confluence of events?

I know that many of you visitors have spent maybe less than a week out here plodding along the tourist trail - dining up in the Space Needle, watching fish being thrown at the Pike Place Market and sauntering along Seattle’s waterfront, (restaurant row). But you have made the mistake of arriving here in the late spring or early fall, hinking that to be the ideal time. Au Contraire! Those are the wrong times because our overcast skies and dampness prevail then and through the rest of the year until the arrival of summer. You see, summer does not start in these parts until the 5th of July and ends just before Labor Day.
This shortened period is our only window of opportunity to enjoy those days of sunshine and light which allowed Perry Como to visit and sing “The Blue Skies of Seattle.”

It is to be hoped that this little piece will serve to enlighten readers on
the subject of Seattle’s northwest weather and that you will go forth, like
good apostles, spreading the truth about the nature of things out here. And
as my dear old mother was fond of saying, “There will always be weather,
whether or not.”

September 7, 2012

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