Seattle Weather

Seattle Weather

When it comes to weather, it’s hard to have a conversation about Seattle without rain coming up. In fact, anywhere you go, when Seattle is comes up, often rain is also mentioned. While the reputation is not entirely undeserved, it is also not as horribly wet as the images conjure up. Yes, Seattle has just 58 clear, sunny days a year, but that does not mean that there are 307 days of rain—less than 150, in fact.

Seattleites consider October the official beginning of the rainy season, which lasts at least through May, but the trade off for the beautiful summers is worth it for most. Summer in Seattle might not be the longest summer in the world, but it is objectively one of the most beautiful. Clear skies make a daily appearance, humidity stays low and the temperature is consistently in the high 70s and low 80s. In short, it is the perfect weather for enjoying the amazing outdoors that surrounds the city and the beaches within it. Every night it cools off, meaning that the hot, humid, sleepless nights of other places don’t happen around here.

The fall, winter and spring are less idyllic, but still have their advantages. The grey skies can be trying, after months on end, but it rarely gets cold, even in the evenings. Below freezing temperatures don’t happen much during the day, though frosts crawl in at night. The warm climate also keeps any real snowfall out of the city. When the snow does fall, it doesn’t tend to stick around for long.

Mostly Seattle has drizzles. The reputation of rain is deserved in the number of days it rains here, but not in total amount of precipitation. Seattle gets less rain than New York, Philadelphia and any number of other cities. It rains more often in Seattle, though that rain is barely more than moisture in the air. It is from this strange rain pattern that Seattleites have developed their large lexicon of words to describe the amount of rain that is coming down, from a light mist to a medium drizzle to a partial downpour.

From time to time Seattle also gets a little weather treat in the form of an El Niño or La Niña. El Niño keeps the moist weather systems further south in California and creates more exceptions to the ‘rains all the time’ perception because it makes for extremely dry winter in Seattle. El Niño winters are often followed by La Niña winters, meaning there is tons of precipitation, making for great ski seasons in the mountains and terrible rains in the city.

When a Seattleite is asked if it really rains all the time they might say that it does. Or they might just joke that “that’s just what we tell people from California to keep them from moving here.” Either way, most visitors will say they didn’t see much rain, as they came during the prime tourist season, the best time to visit, between July 4th and Labor Day weekend.

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