While the city is known for rainy days, Seattle doesn’t even come close to the rainiest cities in the country—rainfall in some parts of Hawaii top what Seattle accumulates in a year in just one week. Rumor has it that the rainy reputation is the locals’ way of keeping unwanted visitors away, so don’t be fooled. But as the 25-day-a-month sunshine the city enjoys each summer comes to an end, take a look at these three record-setting rainy days from history to make you feel better about incoming cloud banks.
3.41 inches – November 20, 1959
Already the rainiest month of the year on average, November 1959 brought a storm bearing levels of rain that went unchallenged for nearly 50 years. With the city shielded from the west by the Olympics, it took a gale from the south to sneak in from the coast and hit Seattle with true drenching downpours, rather than the slow, grey drizzle.
3.77 inches – December 3, 2007
Flooded creeks and surging storm drains greeted commuters and homeowners on this day in 2007 that led to lawsuits against the city to provide better drainage after 4 and a half foot floods ravaged neighborhoods. For Seattleites accustomed to sprinkling skies and not used to the power of a deluge, driving rains like this stopped the town in its tracks.
5.02 inches – October 20, 2003
To put this in perspective, the average monthly rainfall for the entire month of October is just 3.19 inches. With records going back to 1945, this dubious honor came after one of the driest summers ever recorded. The torrent accompanied by blustery winds stopped traffic, knocked out trees and power lines, and left enough standing water for boats to surf the streets.