From September to the end of November, the city has accumulated nearly 19 inches of rainfall, which is in stark contrast to the scorching summer temperatures
Last modified on Friday, December 3, 2021 17.09 EST
The Seattle area is notorious for its humid and cloudy days. After weeks of continuous downpours, it ushered in the rainiest autumn on record, ending a year of weather shock, and the area experienced a record-breaking heat wave in the summer. .
According to Matthew Cullen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, from September to the end of November, the Seattle metropolitan area accumulated about 19 inches of rainfall, which is the largest rainfall since 1945. The historical record recorded in 2006 is less than an inch short. Seattle Weather Service Forecast Office.
Unlike the more typical drizzle in Seattle, recent rains have been more intense and swallowed the city, especially in late October and mid-November for several consecutive days.
Karen explained that a series of "atmospheric rivers" or narrow water belts appeared in the atmosphere, which passed through the Pacific Ocean and eventually aimed at the area, unloading heavy rain in the narrow area, "just like fire hoses."
"This is our wettest time of the year, and it is common to install several such systems in a row," Cullen said. "What's less common is the strength of the back-to-back."
As the extreme rainy season approaches, Seattle and surrounding areas are surrounded by unusual weather events, including historic summer heat waves.
In late June, the city reached a record 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) after a deadly "hot dome" swept the area. At the same time, Seattle was extremely dry for most of the summer, with 51 days of no rain — tied with 1951, the second longest period on record. Only a few weeks later, the record-breaking rainy autumn is about to begin.
These extreme weather inducing whipping left a lasting mark on areas known for mild weather.
Experts say global warming has exacerbated high temperatures, causing more than 100 deaths in Washington State, destruction of crops, and salmon covered in angry red lesions and white fungus. Dry conditions also made the land vulnerable to fires, and several areas in Washington were burning.
The recent heavy rain has caused some road closures in Seattle. But in cities further north, closer to the Canadian border, the impact is much greater. In Whatcom County, dozens of roads were closed due to flooding, and some residents had to be evacuated. The Lummi Reserve, also in the area, was cut off due to flooding of roads.
At the Canadian border, torrential rains and high winds in British Columbia caused flooding, landslides and the evacuation of thousands of people. Public Security Secretary and Attorney General Mike Farnworth described the situation as "complete destruction."
On November 15, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a severe weather emergency to King County, including Seattle, and 14 other counties across the state in response to heavy rain and flooding.
Nick Bond, a Washington State climatologist, explained that back-to-back La Niña could cause rainfall, and this climate pattern would disrupt the weather around the world. He said climate change may also be a factor, because warmer air can hold more water vapor than colder air.
"As the climate warms, this means that when everything comes together, when conditions are right to produce precipitation, precipitation becomes more difficult," he said.
The question now is whether these extreme weather conditions can predict what the region will experience in the future.
Karin Bumbaco, a research scientist at the University of Washington and assistant climatologist in Washington State, said these types of extreme weather events may become more typical.
"This is a preview of what might be a normal year in the next few decades," she said. "After experiencing a particularly dry summer, this year's climate change is in line with our expected climate change pattern, and autumn is wet."
Bond said it is important to check the weather in the past year to figure out what happened and what measures can be taken. He explained that one of the main gains is to realize that the future water problem "is not necessarily the amount of water, but the time of water. Too much when we don't need it, and too little when we really need it."
The area has traditionally relied on mountain snow to survive the dry season. But as the temperature rises, in some cases, the snow will not be as healthy as before. Therefore, he suggested studying ways to increase reservoir capacity and even store water in groundwater.
"Hope we can learn from it," he said. "And I'm sure we are. How do we continue to predict that this type of thing will continue to happen, and what we can do about it. There will always be some difficulties. But that doesn't mean you can't minimize the difficulties."