why does it rain alot in seattle
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States, but that greenery comes at a cost. It rains in the Pacific Northwest, and it rains a lot. Despite the gorgeous landscapes and cosmopolitan cities, the western parts of Washington and Oregon get a bad rap for how gray and dismal they can be. But why exactly does it rain so much in the Pacific Northwest? The reason gloomy weather is so common boils down to prevailing weather patterns and the unique terrain that makes this part of the world so gorgeous. This stretch of land between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, usually finds itself directly under the track of the jet stream. The jet stream is a fast-moving river of air that encircles the Northern Hemisphere right around the latitude of the U. S. -Canadian border. Whenever the jet stream swoops to the south, creating a trough, it can generate low-pressure systems at the surface that produce heavy rain and high winds. These troughs and resulting low-pressure systems often intensify in the Gulf of Alaska and over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington, allowing large storms to crash into the coast with ease. Most of these storms are run-of-the-mill rainmakers, lasting for a day or two before moving on, but some of them can be enormous and cause significant wind damage and flooding.
While the photogenic low-pressure systems that swirl into the coast are the driving force behind the Pacific Northwests seemingly endless rains, its the regions terrain that locks in those dismal weather conditions. When moist winds blow inland with an approaching storm, the high terrain of the Cascade Range forces the moist air to rise into the atmosphere, enhancing the thick clouds and steady rainfall. Even though it rains quite a bit along the northwestern coast, actual rainfall totals in the Pacific Northwest vary wildly from place to place due to changes in elevation. Some spots at high elevation right along the coast or along the Cascade Range can see more than 10 feet of precipitation in a single year, accounting for both rain and the equivalent amount of liquid in snowfall. Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, each only see around 36 inches of rain every year, which hardly makes these bustling metro areas the wettest in the country. Compare their rainfall totals to New York Citys Central Park, which measures nearly 50 inches of rain every year, and Mobile, Alabama, commonly one of the wettest cities in the United States; its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico gives it nearly 66 inches of rain every year.
The rain that does fall in Seattle and Portland, though, falls over a longer period of time. Between 1981 and 2010, both cities saw a little more than 150 days with measurable precipitation per year, compared to about 122 rainy days in New York City and just 115 in Mobile. This accounts for the Northwests reputation as the gloomiest part of the countrybut makes for spectacularly green landscapes when the skies clear out.
Seattle experiences an average of 152 rainy daysВ a year, which is more than most cities across the U. S. A rainy day is defined as a calendar day in which at least 0. 01 inches of rain, or melted snow and ice, falls. В В (FORECAST: ) The amount of rain that falls, however, is typically not that much. In fact, Seattle typically sees only five days a year with at least 1 inch of accumulating precipitation. Given the low amount of rain the falls each rainy day, it is no surprise that the average annual rainfall in the Emerald City is only 37. 18 inches. This is lower than much of the Eastern and Southern U. S. , as well as portions of the Midwest.
Portland, Oregon, is one of the few cities that sees more days with measurable rainfall, about 155 days, but it actually receives slightly less rain than Seattle: 36. 20 inches. The Olympic Rain Shadow is one of the reasons for the lack of hefty rainfall totals in the Seattle area. Basically, when moisture encounters the Olympic Mountains, west of Seattle, the mountains force the air upward. As the air moves upward, it condenses and moisture is squeezed out. Then as the air comes down the eastern slopes, it sinks and becomes drier. This leaves less moisture in the atmosphere east of the mountains, where Seattle is located. Cities in the Northeast that receive notably more rainfall than Seattle include New York, which sees an average of 49. 92 inches per year but that rainfall occurs over 122 days. In other words, New York enjoys the equivalent of a month of additional dry days compared to Seattle, but picks up about a foot of additional rainfall. В (MAPS:В ) Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina, also see about 50 inches of rain per year and expereience 113 rainy days per year, with 15 of those measuring at least 1 inch of rainfall.
Miami is another southern location that receives significantly more rain than Seattle, but in fewer days. Miami records an average of 61. 92 inches of annual rainfall, with measurable rainfall on 135 days per year. It is also worth noting that Miami usually reports 19 days annually with at least 1 inch of rain, compared with 5 in Seattle. (MORE: ) Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans measure more than 60 inches of rain annually and this rain accumulates over only 115 and 114 days. respectively. В Overall, the South sees fewer days with rainfall, but when it does rain, a more substantial amount of rain falls. Much of the rainfall here is due to thunderstorms, which can generate heavy rain from ample moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Thunderstorms can also be very slow moving, which allows for the rain to quickly add up. Two places that receive substantially more rainfall than Seattle and in more days? Juneau, Alaska, and Hilo, Hawai i. В Juneau recieves an avearge of 62. 25 inches of precipitation each year over 229 days. Hilo recieves an incredible 126. 69 inches over 272 days, with an average of 30 days each year recording at least one inch of rainfall. MORE ON WEATHER. COM: Dogs On A Rainy Day (PHOTOS)
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