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In Seattle, 'Rainiest Day Of The Year' Defends Its Title

Posted: November 19, 2012

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Monday's drenching was accompanied by mudslides and wind gusts that blew well past 100 mph in elevated areas. The day was particularly harrowing for one highway patrol officer, whose car was hit by a tree before bursting into flames.

Parking attendants search for a clogged drain in Seattle Monday. Pacific storms are rolling across the Northwest, according to the National Weather Service.

Parking attendants search for a clogged drain in Seattle Monday. Pacific storms are rolling across the Northwest, according to the National Weather Service. Elaine Thompson

It's Rain Day in Seattle — or at least that's what the city should consider calling November 19. As KOMO-TV reports, Nov. 19 "is statistically the most likely day to have rain in Seattle," with wet weather hitting the city on 89 out of the past 120 years, including today's deluge.

No other day reportedly comes close to matching that number in Seattle, a city famous for its frequent rainfall. By noon today, the rainfall had already set a new record for daily accumulation on Nov. 19, easily surpassing the 50-year-old record of 1.23 inches measured at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Monday's drenching was accompanied by mudslides and wind gusts that blew well past 100 mph in elevated areas, where snow has also been falling. The day was particularly harrowing for one highway patrol officer. Here's how KOMO-TV describes it:

"The trooper had stopped for a mudslide on US 101 at milepost 30, said Trooper Russ Winger, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol. As the trooper was outside the car looking at the first slide, another tree toppled down onto the trooper's patrol car, setting it afire. Another car then crashed into the patrol car."

As NPR member station KPLU reports, Seattle officials are relying on "big Jetvac trucks" to suck leaves and debris out of storm drains and cut down the chances of flooding. Forecasters say the wet weather is likely to continue through Thursday, as a string of storms rolls in from the Pacific Ocean.

While it is soaking streets and disrupting daily life, Monday's rainfall must clear a high bar if it is to set a new record for the Seattle area. Back on Oct. 20, 2003, more than 5 inches of rain fell at the Sea-Tac airport.

Update at 11:58 p.m. ET: An early version of this post suggested Seattle's famed weather brings high levels of annual rainfall. While the city has many rainy days, its annual volume of rain trails many other U.S. cities. Thank you to the alert readers who pointed that out.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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