Seattle Doesn’t Get That Much Rain

Daven Hiskey 144
Cats Under UmbrellaToday I found out that Seattle doesn’t really get that much rain compared to most U.S. cities. In fact, Seattle ranks 44th among major U.S. cities in average annual rainfall, getting approximately 38 inches annually.  Cities that get more rainfall than Seattle include such as Houston Texas (48 inches), New Orleans (60 inches), Mobile AL (65 inches), Memphis (52 inches), Nashville (48 inches), and pretty much every major city on the eastern seaboard, such as New York (43 inches), Philadelphia (41 inches), Miami (58 inches), and Boston (44 inches).

So why does everyone not from Seattle think to go outside in Seattle without an umbrella is tantamount to committing suicide?  Partially because of the entertainment industry producing things like Sleepless in Seattle, Frasier, and the like which portray it as such. (Along with always showing a Seattle skyline where somehow the space needle is by far the tallest thing in Seattle.  Even though the Space Needle is actually about average in height compared to the 25 or so skyscrapers in Seattle; coming in at about 600 feet including the needle.  With Seattle possessing quite a few skyscrapers around the same height and 6 skyscrapers taller than it; including the Columbia Center at 937 feet, which has more floors, 76, than any building in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River and is the 20th tallest building in the United States).

But the primary root of this rainy misconception really lies in that Seattle has a relatively high amount of days per year with precipitation (158), compared to such places as New York (119), Boston (127), and Nashville (119).  All cities that get an average of about 16% more rain per year than Seattle, but also average between them about 36 less days a year of precipitation.  So it rains a lot less in Seattle, but is spread out over about a month more of days than those cities.  This is why almost no native Seattle-ite carries an umbrella generally.  When it does rain, it tends to be a very light drizzle that isn’t bothersome.  It almost never really “rains” as most people from places like Alabama, Boston, or the like think of rain.   On top of that, it never really storms in Seattle either.  Seattle gets an average of a mere seven days a year where thunder is heard, for instance.

Seattle SkylineAnother contributing factor is that Seattle doesn’t have a very uniform distribution of cloudy or rainy days from month to month like Boston, New York, and many other major U.S. cities have.  As a rule, it pretty much is cloudy with occasional light drizzles from October through March in Seattle.  Then from April through September, Seattle gets almost no rain and from June through September almost no cloudy days.  Makes for a very nice climate if you don’t like large changes in weather.  Around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and cloudy in the winter, with only an average of 8 light snow days, and around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny in the summer.

So how does this city that is right next to the Puget Sound and relatively close to the Pacific Ocean manage to have such a mild climate and get so little rainfall, yet have so many more cloudy days than places like New York and Boston?   Seattle-Tacoma (Tacoma being a neighboring city that most rain estimates include in estimating Seattle’s annual rainfall) is protected by the Olympic Mountains where the Olympic National Rain Forrest is located.  The Olympic mountains and rain forrest, about 80 miles to the west of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula, gets a staggering 142 inches a year of rain coming off the Pacific Ocean.  This trims off most of the precipitation coming from the ocean before it gets to Seattle.  On the other side, Seattle’s climate is protected from arctic air by the Cascade Range which is a major mountain range East of Seattle extending from Washington down to Northern California.

So in short, if you like sunny not too hot summers, mild winters but with lots of cloudy days, and ridiculously beautiful scenery everywhere you turn, Seattle’s the place to be.  If you like more evenly distributed cloudy vs sunny days throughout the year and hate nature, then not so much.  Either way, if you visit Seattle, don’t bring an umbrella.  People will look at you funny.  Unless you want to visit the Rain Forrest; then definitely bring an umbrella, strong bug spray, and try not to get lost; the animals will eat you.

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  1. Medisoft January 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I’ve been a Seattle a few times, can say when I was there it only rained a few times, and they were light rains like you said. I’m from NC, and it’s common to have thundershowers where it POURS rain for an hour, and floods some local streets a few inches. We have Ft. Bragg near us, and it’s hard to tell if it’s Ft. Bragg dropping bombs in the testing area (for real) or if it’s thundering.

    • Ann May 5, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

      If you live anywhere near Seattle, Washington, and the operating word here is live, the cloudy, gloomy weather can get to you, whether it’s raining or not.

      • MikeLM December 12, 2014 at 9:45 pm - Reply

        I lived in Seattle four years and though we absolutely loved it – our house was on a cliff overlooking Puget Sound with a wonderful view – I knew at least four couples, all immigrants to the Pacific Northwest, where the wife announced she was leaving with the kids, going back to where they’d come from, whether the husband came or not. The ladies simply got fed up with living in a gloomy wooded neighborhood, with the rain dripping off the tree branches and the kids confined in the house, for days on end. All four guys left good jobs and returned to – wherever – with their families.

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  3. George April 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve been a Seattle a few times, can say when I was there it only rained a few times, and they were light rains like you said. I’m from NC, and it’s common to have thundershowers where it POURS rain for an hour, and floods some local streets a few inches. We have Ft. Bragg near us, and it’s hard to tell if it’s Ft. Bragg dropping bombs in the testing area (for real) or if it’s thundering.

  4. Eric April 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    I’ve been a Seattle a few times, can say when I was there it only rained a few times, and they were light rains like you said. I’m from NC, and it’s common to have thundershowers where it POURS rain for an hour, and floods some local streets a few inches. We have Ft. Bragg near us, and it’s hard to tell if it’s Ft. Bragg dropping bombs in the testing area (for real) or if it’s thundering.

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  10. Sarah April 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I’m *from* Seattle. It has been a really dry year, really. Surprisingly warm… sixty degrees in February. It does rain a whole lot more than where I used to live and there’s this strange misty rain that is here a lot of the days and probably doesn’t measure much… a millimeter probably, but it’s just annoying as ever. I used to carry umbrellas everywhere when I first moved here, but not any more. Only when I walk somewhere and it’s pouring… which really isn’t too often. Like I said, we get a lot of the misty rain, but not a lot of the heavy downpour rain.

  11. Sarah April 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    And another thing, it really is very cloudy and gray a lot of the year. Maybe that adds to the misconception. Probably Sept-April… lots of clouds.

  12. Marcia September 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    I live in Seattle. We DON’T carry unbrellas since it almost never really rains. You will find however, that we all own at least one Gortex jacket!

  13. Laura October 24, 2010 at 7:34 am - Reply

    People in the PNW do no use umbrellas. The precipitation levels are not surprising as most the rain comes downs as mist, or a light drizzle.

    Winter in the PNW is like living inside a light bulb.

  14. dreamcass November 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    I’m glad that someone is dispelling the myth that Seattle and surrounding cities have some of the most terrible weather in the nation. Yes, it’s cloudy 5/6ths of the year, but we rarely have storms, never ever have hurricanes or tornados, and only in freak years does it get much below freezing in winter. The best thing about our weather, in my opinion, is that all moisture immediately forms into clouds or mist instead of saturating the air, so the air itself stays dry and it never feels humid, even in summer. I didn’t even know what humidity was until I traveled! I’d take Seattle over Orlando any day!

  15. Zabe January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Forest is spelled with one r. Just wanted to point that out…

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven January 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      @Zabe: Good catch.

  16. Tony April 27, 2011 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Weather in Washington and Oregon is horrible. It will make you want to run screaming back to (insert your state of origin here). Spring and fall are so damp you will grow moss on exposed skin. Summer (all two weeks) has so many mosquitoes that locals stockpile their blood during the winter for emergency transfusion. Winter weather swings between deadly ice storms and deadly windstorms. The eastern part of both states are desolate windblown wilderness, where even lizards and snakes cannot survive. Eastern Washington has the added risk of Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where a gazillion gallons of radioative waste are threatening to leak and destroy all civilization from Bozeman to Tokyo. Stay far away, for your own safety!

    • Don December 2, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Most of the natives in the PNW wish you *would* run screaming back to whatever inferior hole you arrived from.

      The weather in the PNW is *not* horrible. Summers are gorgeous and moderate, winters are a bit dreary but also moderate – it’s almost never really cold. If you can’t deal with it being drippy everytime you go outdoors, then by all means, go away.

  17. Sarah K. July 6, 2011 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I have lived in Seattle my whole life, and when ever I travel out of state, due to Twilight, everyone who has never been here thinks we have rain ALL THE TIME. If it really does rain, like pour and pour, the kind where it could damage things, just wait 5 minutes, it’ll change. We also happen to have about 52 different ways to describe rain. I love it here!

  18. AngelaR July 25, 2011 at 11:20 am - Reply

    I live in Seattle and almost everyone here carries an umbrella! Things like that are amde up by people who don’t live here. In the rainy season anyone would be an idiot to walk outdoors without one. And it just does not mist here. While it’s true we get very few if any thunderstorms or heavy rains, it is more than just a light misting and if you don’t have an umbrella you will look like a wet dog upon your arrival. Not to mention cold!

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven August 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      @AngelaR: I too live in Seattle (almost my whole life) and have observed the opposite. Subjectivity! ;-)

    • Tawny December 8, 2012 at 2:08 am - Reply

      I know this is old but…. I lived in the PNW as a kid and return at least once a year. My youngest son brought an umbrella with him because he read in a book that it rains alot. we gave him guff because only tourists bring umbrellas to the PNW. I live on the plains in Montana now and even I know you don’t need an umbrella, just Gortex. We go to Washington in the winter for our vacation to get away from the Artic air for awhile.

      • Ann May 5, 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

        What’s the difference between gortex and an umbrella? They are both things to keep the rain off. Umbrella, gortex equals same thing.

        • @R September 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm - Reply

          The difference is: an umbrella is designed to stop rain that is falling straight down. When you are dealing with a rain so light it is nearly a fog, a Gortex jacket is much more useful. How useful is an umbrella when walking in a heavy fog? There’s no point. Either you just go without, or you wear a water-proof jacket, preferably ventilated, because it’s probably not very cold.

    • cas November 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      Maybe you just have never been to another state or country to compare. Yes, we all HAVE umbrellas in our car for those occasional downpours, but it’s not like Japan where it’s considered practically unthinkable to leave the building in even the lightest of sprinkling without an umbrella. Coming from western Washington, I at first never used an umbrella in Japan, but then Japanese people started GIVING me and my other Seattlite friend umbrellas if they saw us outside without one. I collected about 4 umbrellas that way until I got the message. I got used to using umbrellas in Japan and still continue to carry one (more as an accessory than a necessity) after I came home, but when fellow Washingtonians see my umbrella, they often ask me where I’m from, no joke! I’ve been asked by Japanese people who come over here why Americans don’t seem to use umbrellas. I never even realized we used umbrellas less here relative to other places until I traveled. So yeah, this article is very accurate and I can tell it’s been written by a native Seattleite.

      The main reasons we don’t use umbrellas every single time it rains is because (1) most of the time it’s a light rain and not more annoying than always carrying around a cumbersome umbrella, (2) the weather can be very fickle, so you’ll go into a store when it’s dry without your umbrella, but 20 minutes later when you’re done shopping, you can find yourself walking back to your car in a downpour, (3) when it’s pouring down hard, it’s usually windy enough to break your umbrella anyway, and (4) public transportation sucks so we use our cars as umbrellas. If we had subway stations to walk to we’d use umbrellas more.

  19. Julie December 22, 2011 at 12:04 am - Reply

    I am a Seattle native but now live in E. Wa. It is true the media perpetuates the “rain all the time” myth. It’s also an old Seattle joke to tell people it rains all the time so they won’t move here. Seattle does get heavy rain but only in certain months. Oct./Nov.; April and June are rainy months. The rest of the time it drizzles. However, when it does pour, it doesn’t pour straight for hours. The hardest thing about the weather is that it constantly changes. It is all the gray (low clouds) days that’ll kill you.

    I usually didn’t carry an umbrella but carried one in the car just in case it poured. Also, I heard that Seattle-ites buy more sunglasses than most other people. Which makes sense because when it is sunny, I could never remember where I had put them. However, Seattle is one of the most beautiful places in the world on a sunny day. Mountains, water, and very few hot muggy humid days.

  20. Luz January 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    I often tell people that what has me running from Portland, OR is not the rain but the clouds. It is so grey and depressing 9 to 10 months out of the year. Do not move to Portland unless you have a sun disorder that requires that you not be exposed to the sun. Otherwise be ready to almost never see the sun. An example my 5 year old said one day, “that car is the color of the sky” and I said what? He responded “it’s grey like the color of the sky.” I knew then we needed to move. The sky should be blue not grey.

    • Ann May 5, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

      So true!!!! I got so sick of the grey when I lived out there and even now when I visit there it seems so dark.

  21. Kelly March 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I don’t know who had written that article about never carrying an umbrella in Seattle, guy is on dope. I lived there for 25 years, I didn’t know anyone who didn’t. It may not rain in seattle as much as say Miami, where I lived for 5 years, that is for sure, but days of average drizzle is 225 out of 365 days in a year. That is an average by the way, I work out side, I have seen it 310 days where it was like that, depressing some of my guys quit that year and moved, I didn’t blame them. Most normal people don’t walk out and try and measure it, they just know it is raining period, and guess what it is so foggy you can’t see nature, all my family still lives there. The fog can last for many months, and for some can be super depressing, not being able to see when you drive to work. we finally moved I was just sick of being wet all day long for so many months. I still love seattle it is a great town, but don’t let anyone lie to you, it can be super depressing there.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven March 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      @Kelly: I wrote it, and I’ve lived in Seattle almost my whole life (now 30)…

  22. ron April 12, 2012 at 11:10 am - Reply

    nice balanced story. I too am a native. I lived in Santa Barbara and hated it. I got so bored of the constant sun, lack of seasons, and the ‘why go anywhere else’ mentality of the people there. I moved the day after graduation.

    No one mentioned the great sailing, skiing, the vineyards of Easter Washington. Which you could do all in one day.

  23. Jimmy May 7, 2012 at 1:46 am - Reply

    I was born in Tacoma and I’ve lived here my whole life and I go over to Seattle a lot and visit friends. I just realized my whole life I’ve never owned an umbrella. Sorta weird how I just now noticed that by reading all these “we don’t use umbrellas” comments. It’s so true! But yeah anyway, I love the Northwest. It’s so beautiful. I want to live here my whole life :)
    P.S. it’s rains here 24/7 don’t ever move here

  24. Dave September 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Seattle does get alot of rain. I tend to think that the 38″ figure is on the light side, but I could be wrong. It feels like alot more than that when it rains more than half the days in a given year and sees solid sunshine for only a few weeks in the summer. We’ve seen periods in the winter where there are over 2 months of rain straight, with only a few minutes of joyful (albeit still grey, damp and dripping wet) relief. The only place worse that I have seen is Portland, where the monotonous grey sky is sickening and unbearable. Cold, icy freezing fog almost every winter morning and disgusting layers of moss and lichen on everything exposed. Even on the “sunny” days you never really see the blue sky, whereas at least in Seattle when it is clear we get BLUE skies.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey September 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      @Dave: “Sees solid sunshine for only a few weeks in the summer…” It’s been solid sun here since early July, which seems pretty typical (lived here almost all my life). Summers start a month or two later here than elsewhere, but when July hits, it’s nothing but sun until mid to late September and one of the most beautiful places in the country. It’s also nice that it typically doesn’t get stiflingly hot like many other places in the country. 75-85-ish with a cool breeze from the Sound is very comfortable in the summer. :-) Granted, once it gets cloudy in late fall, it stays cloudy the majority of the time until late June-ish, but still, got to take the good with the bad. :-) Despite the prevalent cloudiness though, it doesn’t rain all that much as noted in the article.

  25. CookieMonsta September 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I have lived in Sequim ( Said, Skwim ), for the last two years. It is cloudy a lot but lately, it has been all sunshine. I would say that it has not rained here since July. I moved here from Fort Worth, Texas. When it rains in Fort Worth it really rains. The weather is severe with a lot of thunderstorms and lightening with the occassional tornado. The type of rain is different as well. In Fort Worth it feels like someone is pouring out a huge bucket of water. In Sequim it is a very light rain. The winters are mild about like Texas. But, unlike Texas when it does snow it usually snows about 5-7 inches. In Texas in snows about an inch or two. There are far more cloudy days in Sequim. I would guess that about 200 days or more are cloudy. I remember the first time I heard thunder in Sequim, I thought it might be an earthquake. I had not realized that it hardly ever thunders up here. Coming from Texas where the summers are pure hell this ought to put some perspective on the weather difference. In Texas my A/C bill ran around $475.00 a month in the summer. In Sequim I don’t even own an air conditioner! Don’t need one. All that being said, I have never seen a more beautiful state and I’ve been to all of them except Hawaii, Alaska and Maine.

  26. Brian October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I lived in Seattle area for 30 years. One thing is for sure it is definetlly one of the most Beautiful places on earth. I miss all the scenery everyday. The summers are are just about perfect but are so short. The amount of days it rains does start to wear on you. Even when it’s not raining it is usually gloomy and cloudy, looks like it could rain at anytime. I saw this year there was a record setting 80 days without rain. I remember the record 80 days in a row with measurable rain. Anyways the summers are worth it alone, I truly do miss it.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey October 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      @Brian: Ya, this year’s been really weird. While there have been a couple instances of rain, since about the beginning of July to now (October 10th), it’s not only been not raining, but clear blue skies virtually ever day up until a couple days ago. I am actually starting to get sick of all the sunny days and am craving some rain. :-) It seems like most summers in Seattle are like this, except usually when they start in July there are some cloudy days and they usually don’t extend anywhere near October. :-)

    • Ann May 5, 2013 at 9:15 am - Reply

      GLOOMY!! Yep, that’s the right word to use for this area. Dark and gloomy most of the year.

  27. Jim Smith March 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Actually, this article is quite wrong. We’ve lived in Seattle for 15 years. It is cloudy from about September to mid July. Then there is a 6 week period (mid-July through August) where it might be sunny fairly regularly (if you are lucky). The issue really is that you go for long periods of time where you just don’t see the sun. Sometimes 30-60 days. This is especially bad in winter since Seattle is so far north, that, combined with the clouds, means that this is not a good place if you enjoy daylight.

    I’m actually looking to leave as soon as possible 15 years is too much to take, and my SAD is getting worse as I get older.

  28. Michael Babbitt April 21, 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

    No, it does rain a lot in Seattle. This article is trying too hard to dispel a so-called myth. I have lived in Seattle for 30 years now. I grew up in the East – NYC area. Yes, cloudy most days with sun breaks in the forecast, and a lot of drizzly days – but there are very numerous rainy days, light to moderate. If you live in the convergence zone area, it can rain for 4 days straight. with a few hours break here and there. Yes, other places get more rain in more severe events, but day in, day out even light rain (beyond drizzle) gets old mighty fast. The beautiful days are indeed beautiful; but you pay for them dearly.

  29. Nicole H April 30, 2013 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I had lived in Seattle for a year before moving to Houston and I would love to move back someday. Granted, I have the typical porcelain skin, being out in the sun without at least 50 SPF reapplied every 30 minutes would give me awful heat rash. I haven’t won the battle with my husband yet to move- he wants to move back to Boulder, CO where it has at least 300 days of sunshine. I don’t know how many days of sun we have in Houston (awfully lots and humid!!!) but spent 2 weeks in Boulder, I used up 2 bottles of sunscreen in June!! Unfortunately it will be an uphill battle since my hubby’s company doesn’t have an office in Seattle nor Boulder.

  30. Valerie April 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    I lived here in the Seattle area for about 20 years before moving to California for another 23 years, now I’m back. It’s been over a year since I’ve been back and I am remembering why I never liked it here. I have to say I’m surprised it has less rainfall than other places. It’s very wet here all the time. The ground never dries up and is always soggy. It’s cloudy more than it isn’t and is very depressing. It isn’t warm enough to do anything. But like I remember years ago, so long as the sun comes out so does the summer clothes… doesn’t matter if it’s 40 degrees out. Crazy people. I’m freezing. It’s pretty here, but I don’t like living here.

  31. yavasw2 April 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    It is subjective, like the author of the post said. I grew up in Seattle and live in Portland, OR now. And I don’t have a problem with clouds and rain I actually enjoy it, but I can understand how others could become affected by the clouds and rain. My mood is not affected by the weather, but I definitely know people who are.

  32. Georgia Berry May 8, 2013 at 9:04 am - Reply

    I live in the North of England. It’s constantly cloudy here– we’re actually shocked when we see blue sky! Right now, it’s summer (which last for about two months up here) and the hottest it’s been in a while (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit) but the sky is just a block of grey clouds. If the weather is similar in Seattle, I’d probably like it and not overheat in the Summer. ;)

  33. Glynn Powel May 27, 2013 at 7:00 am - Reply

    I grew up in the South and lived in California before moving here 24 years ago. We have a climate similar to London and Amsterdam, as these are two favorite cities and I compare often. However, we are warmer AND drier than both of them. They get rain throughout the year, and cooler temparatures, whereas we go into drought mode for most of the Summer and into early Fall. Clearly there’s more to great cities than the weather, which most do not have!
    Vancouver, which is continually voted one of the best cities in the world to live, has a climate slightly cooler and wetter than Seattle.

  34. John Hill June 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Absolutely agree with your assesments concerning Seattle weather/rain. I lived in Seattle—55th and University–for 4 years while in the military, and we go to Seattle every 2 years for vacation (we plan on retiring in the Seattle area), so I think I am qualified to support your assessment. IMHO, Seattle has THE BEST summers–I found approx. mid/late June to mid/late Sept on average— in the U.S., 70 to 80 degrees (sometimes warmer), LITTLE rainfall (especially July/August), low dewpoints, mostly SUNNY, few thunder/lightning storms, few mosquitoes, and gorgeous scenery. Minnesota summers, (we are native Minnesotan’s) by contrast—Very hot, HIGH dewpoints, mosquitoes eveywhere, thunderstorms, tornadoes. Will take Seattle summers anytime!

    Can’t believe all the negative comments about the number of grey /cloudy days Seattle has—I will take some more cloudy days in exchange for the overall mild weather, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

    Seattle winters—grey skies, rain, 40 to 45 degree temp. during day, 30ish at night.
    Minnesota winter–anywhere from 25 degrees to 20 below, snow, ice, blizzards, impossible driving conditions, will take Seattle winters ANYTIME!
    Again, just a matter of perspective/preference.

  35. Bryce June 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Statistics show that the city is becoming wetter: the current annual rainfall average of 952 millimeters reflects an increase of 11 mm.[70] Seattle receives the largest amount of rainfall of any U.S. city of more than 250,000 people in November, and is in the top 10 through winter, but is in the lower half of all cities from June to September. Seattle is in the top 5 rainiest U.S. cities by number of precipitations days, and it gets the least amount of annual sunlight of all major cities in the lower-48 states.

  36. Deb August 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    if u r from California…..Seattle rains a is dark a lot.The “ceiling” is low. the minute your plane jets through the dark clouds…..beautiful blue sky! You begin to feel limitless after being stuck down below.

  37. Clay October 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    A little more honesty is required here. What is not talked about is the amount of hours of rainfall. When Boston picks up a 3 inch downpour in summer, the sun comes out the next day. In the winter when Boston gets 3 inches of rain in two days, the rain then stops for a week, with a couple of sunny days, maybe a snowy day, followed by another break of sunshine for a couple of days. In Seattle there are very few breaks, except in the summer. Typical day from October to early May, the skies will drop about a quarter of an inch of light rain. This will happen almost every day, without break. When it’s not raining it’s foggy or cloudy, without break. There might be one or two sunny days a month. And when a High pressure system moves in, the fog moves in. So I can’t help but crack a smile when I hear East Coast newscasters make a claim about how much wetter their east coast cities are, when they really do not understand the difference between their climate and Seattle’s climate. A lot people don’t know that London does not get a huge amount of rain, but because of low clouds and fog they are much wetter than east coast cities because they don’t get very many hours of sunshine.

  38. Clay October 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    I agree with John that the winters are much better in Seattle. I grew up in Eugene,OR which is similar to Seattle. I have lived in Denver for the last nine years. I do miss the ease of the west coast winters. I don’t ever remember dreading starting my car in the morning when I lived in Oregon. Here is Colorado it is always 5 or 10 degrees in the morning. That cold air bites like the dog and is dreaded every morning of the winter season.

  39. Jeff October 28, 2013 at 9:38 am - Reply

    “All cities that get an average of about 16% more rain per year than Seattle, but also average between them about 36 less days a year of precipitation.”

    Should be “36 fewer days”

    I left with a sunburn the one time I visited Seattle.

  40. Dennis November 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    So if “Columbia Center at 937 feet, which has more floors, 76, than any building in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River” and it’s west of the Mississippi River, which it certainly is, it must have more floors than Columbia Center.

  41. Mike January 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    How in the world does anything get painted outside there. Do all the exterior paint guys have to wait until the small summer window to work without it getting rained on?

  42. Rob February 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    I grew up near Seattle. I remember my mother excitedly telling us children to “come outside and see the sun!”

  43. Ilen March 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I live in Tacoma which is near Seattle and have since 1986, and when I first moved here from Eastern Washington I was so depressed because all it did was rain everyday. I have become use to the rain now.
    I don’t know where you get your information but it is not correct. Far from it. Yes I carry an umbrella at all times even when it sunny cause in 15 minutes it could be raining. Most people have umbrellas as I do.

  44. Britta April 17, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Good article. Unfortunately the only thing I got from the comments is that commenters don’t realize how good they have it in Seattle, which is a shame. Please try living on the Eastern seaboard, where the weather is atrocious (between extreme snowfall, extreme humidity, and somewhat debilitating, over-the-top thunderstorms from late spring through summer) before criticizing the author of this piece or the beautiful climate you’re lucky enough to live in. The grass is always greener. :) Cheers.

  45. John Hill April 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Yeah, Britta, agree with you 100%! Did you read my earlier post regarding Seattle weather? Just curious on your thoughts. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am from Minnesota, but lived in Seattle for 4 years while I was in the military there. Will GLADLY take Seattle winters and summers over Minnesota winters and summers anytime. Never had 95 degree heat, high dew points and mosquitoes in Seattle in the summer, and no blizzards, below zero temps, snowy/icy roads in the winter!

  46. Emma May 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I hear this all the time, Seattle doesn’t get as much rain as other states so why do people complain about the weather? As someone who lives here I can tell you that the rain is not the issue. It’s the consistently long stretches of cloudy, grey days. months without seeing the sun and the incredibly short days in the winter. These lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in a lot of people out here. This makes sense because let’s be honest, how many of us care if it pours 2 inches or two millimeters. What affects people is the amount of time it is raining and the amount of time it is gray and gloomy. So yes, Seattle weather sucks, not because a lot of rain falls, but because the days in which it is gray and gloomy are VERY high as a percentage of overall days in the year.

  47. Emma May 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    I also feel I should add that I have lived all over the US, Miami, SF, NYC, Minneapolis and Seattle. The only place I hate the weather is Seattle. I didn’t get SAD anywhere else. Maybe it’s just me.

  48. Cera May 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    “We use cars as umbrellas”, and “nobody carries umbrellas”, do you live in Bremerton and pretend it’s Seattle or something? Living and working in DT and DT-adjacent areas, this is spot on. I wouldn’t dream of carrying an umbrella. Just put up your hood, and you better be carrying a waterproof messenger.

    Cheers to whoeve mentioned the eastern seaboard – they (the dissenting Seattleites) don’t know what they’re thankfully missing!

  49. John Hill May 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Cera, “don’t know what they’re thankfully missing!”—-you sure got that right! Did you happen to read my two previous posts/comments comparing Minnesota summer and winters to Seattle summers and winters? Just curious on your thoughts.

  50. John-Paul Harley June 12, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

    This article is a little bit biased, when people say it rains a lot in Seattle they’re considering the entire metropolitan area which in fact gets more annual rainfall than any other major metropolitan area in the United States.

  51. cj July 30, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Ive lived in Seattle sense 2001 and I can say that it used to rain a lot more than it does these days. Its kind of sad really as I loved the rain. Go a bit north now and you will find more rain.

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