Whatcom County residents might remember the winter of 2016-2017 for its snowfall and chilly temperatures, and it now joins the record books as among the wettest for the Bellingham area.
With 33.67 inches of precipitation from October 2016 to April 2017, the rainy season ranks 10th in the 60 years since official records started being kept at Bellingham International Airport, said meteorologist Mike McFarlane at the National Weather Service in Seattle. The wettest winter was 39.06 inches, set in 1975-76. Normal precipitation is 27.29 inches.
33.67 Inches of precipitation from October 2016 to April 2017.
Not only that, but there were 139 days in that six-month period with some form of measurable precipitation, McFarlane said.
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“It was a record number of rainy days,” he said. “It hasn’t come in bursts this winter like it usually does. It’s just been continuous.”
And yes, snowfall counts in the totals, he said.
Most of the Pacific Coast south of Bellingham got more rain, including Northern California, where a winter-long deluge ended the Golden State’s crippling drought. Seattle just recorded its wettest winter ever – on the heels of a record 2015-2016, which now clocks in as No. 2 for the Emerald City.
139Days in which measurable precipitation fell from October 2016 to April 2017.
But Bellingham stayed comparatively dry because the jet stream drifted over California, forcing storms to dump rain farther south, McFarlane said.
For Bellingham, October 2016 was one of the wettest on record, but December and January were relatively dry, with below-normal precipitation.
McFarlane said Bellingham can look forward to warmer days with a little less rain in the next two weeks, according to weather models from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“For us, the odds favor above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall,” he said.
Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty