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Ode to a rainy September

Headlights glisten off the Interstate 5 pavement as Monday afternoon rush hour motorists plow through one of several rain squalls that moved through the area. Almost 5 inches of rain had fallen in September at the Olympia Airport through Sunday.
Headlights glisten off the Interstate 5 pavement as Monday afternoon rush hour motorists plow through one of several rain squalls that moved through the area. Almost 5 inches of rain had fallen in September at the Olympia Airport through Sunday. The Olympian

Summer fizzled a long time ago, and now it's coming to a rain-drenched end.

More rainfall has been recorded at Sea-Tac Airport over the past four days (3.23 inches Thursday through Sunday) than the normal monthly average of 1.63 inches for September, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Right now, this September is sitting at fourth among the all-time wettest Septembers recorded at Sea-Tac Airport and in Olympia.

Through Sunday, 4.10 inches of rain had fallen at Sea-Tac. The wettest September on record was in 1978 when 5.95 inches worth of rain drops fell. At the Olympia Airport, 4.95 inches of rain had been collected through Sunday. The record is 7.95 inches, also sent in 1978.

And we still have 10 days to go.

“We’ve had an accelerated fall pattern,” said Dennis D’Amico, a meteorologist in the Weather Service’s Seattle office. “The storms have been stronger, wetter and coming in faster than usual.”

The rain showers are expected to stop today and most of Wednesday. More rain is expected Wednesday night, however, to bring a drizzly end to summer.

Local weather guru Cliff Mass reported on his blog that so far in 2010 the Puget Sound region has recorded fewer 70-degree days (55) than normal, which is 72.

“Yes, the worst summer for three decades,” Mass, a University of Washington professor of meteorology, wrote last week. “No one younger than 35 can remember anything worse!”

Still, September hasn’t been chilly. Highs have been in the 60s, D’Amico said.

And for what it’s worth, August was dry, D’Amico said. (It’s normally the driest month of the year.) But the temperatures were off. Several days started off cloudy and, when the clouds disappeared, temperatures didn’t soar.

As for summer itself, we had two heat waves – one in July and one in August.

“We had a short summer in some sense,” D’Amico said.

And what about the first weekend of autumn?

The forecast has been fluctuating, D’Amico said. It will either be a nice Saturday or a downpour.

“Right now,” he said, “it’s a little bit of a guessing game.”

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