Soaking storm ends Seattle’s record dry streak
As the jet stream dips south, a storm system will deliver rain and mountain snow to the Northwest, ending a record-setting dry streak for some locations.
AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking a quick-hitting storm that will dish out disruptive rain and snow for Thanksgiving holiday travelers across the Northwest while also sweeping away the stagnant air that has persisted for days.
The storm ended a record-breaking dry streak in Seattle during a month that is historically the city's wettest with an average of 6.31 inches. Sunday tied the record for the longest November dry stretch in the Emerald City -- 13 days set in 2000. Monday tipped 2022 into the lead with 14 consecutive days with no measurable rainfall spanning Nov. 8-21.
The rainless streak came to an end on Tuesday morning. After 0.12 of an inch of rain fell at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from 6 to 10 a.m. local time, a full inch fell between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time.
A persistent area of high pressure has led to unusually dry conditions by steering storms away from the region. The result of the weeks of stagnant weather has been a buildup of pollutants near the surface, contributing to widespread poor air quality across the Pacific Northwest.
On this radar image captured at midday on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, a storm from the Pacific can be seen pushing inland over the Northwest.
"On Monday, the high kept winds very low and led to widespread air stagnation across the area. However, a storm system that moved into the region Tuesday brought some changes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Heather Zehr said.
Zehr pointed out that winds were increasing along the Northwest coast as the storm tracked into the region on Tuesday. Along coastal regions, the uptick in winds helped to whisk away the pollutants and reduce the risk to those with respiratory illnesses who ventured outdoors.
Although it will be safer to breathe outside as the air quality improves, AccuWeather meteorologists say wet weather moving in with the storm will greatly limit the opportunity for people to enjoy the outdoors and could also cause further headaches for Thanksgiving travelers.
"In addition to the storm vastly improving the air quality over the region, there were also some disruptions for holiday travelers," Zehr said. "Rain was locally heavy on Tuesday, reducing visibility on roadways."
Although the bulk of the rain targeted western Washington into the Seattle metro area, areas as far south as Portland (0.28 of an inch of rain) were impacted.
"Due to the recent dry weather, no flooding was expected; however, temporary ponding of water on roadways was a concern," Zehr said.
The storm was in and out of the area in a quick manner, limiting the worst impacts to a six- to 12-hour period.
In the wake of the storm, conditions are trending drier and milder as another area of high pressure builds into the region, leading to quiet weather for Wednesday travelers and Turkey Day itself. Any area snow showers on Wednesday will be limited to the Rocky Mountains farther inland.
By Friday, the next storm will be knocking on the doorstep of the Northwest, and AccuWeather meteorologists say this will be the start of a much stormier and colder pattern overall for the West heading into early next week.
The storm due to track in this weekend will bring colder air and lowering snow levels. Even though a huge amount of snow is not expected to fall this weekend, enough can occur to create slippery driving conditions for those venturing over the passes in the Cascades on Saturday and Sunday.
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