SEATTLE – Seattle, a city known for soggy weather, has seen its wettest fall on record.
The National Weather Service says 19.04 inches (48.4 centimeters) of rain fell between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, breaking a record set in 2006.
A series of wet storms caused by so-called “atmospheric rivers” pounded the Pacific Northwest, causing widespread flooding and damage. Atmospheric rivers are huge plumes of moisture over the Pacific that carry water from oceans onto land.
“It’s really been incredible for Seattle. I think what’s really been interesting is that we have just had atmospheric river after atmospheric river after atmospheric river, which is something that you usually don’t see even in a very wet place like Seattle,” said Justin Shaw, who runs the Seattle Weather Blog.
Areas north of Seattle were hit especially hard. The city of Bellingham recorded 23.55 inches (59.8 centimeters) of rain from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) more than the previous high. Officials have said damages from November flooding in Whatcom County. which includes Bellingham, could reach as high as $50 million.
The record rain comes after the region saw record breaking heat earlier this year. Scientists says these extreme weather events will be more frequent with climate change worsening.
“We know that climate change makes those kinds of extreme events both more likely to happen and more severe,” said Meade Krosby a climate adaption scientist at the Climate Impact Group of the University of Washington.