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How long has it been since we’ve had a ‘wetting rain’?

Bellingham’s record for lack of wetting rain is 81 days, a mark that could be tied Tuesday. No rain is in the forecast until Thursday, when showers and thundershowers are possible.
Bellingham’s record for lack of wetting rain is 81 days, a mark that could be tied Tuesday. No rain is in the forecast until Thursday, when showers and thundershowers are possible. The Bellingham Herald file

If you think it’s been a hot and dry summer, you’re right.

Bellingham is approaching a historic mark for most consecutive days with less than one-tenth of an inch of rain, according to National Weather Service records dating to 1949, the first year for observations at Bellingham International Airport. A tenth of an inch is the meteorological cutoff for a “wetting rain.”

Further, the average high temperature in August 2017 was 75.5 degrees, when the historical average August high is 71.9 degrees. September 2017 began with two days that approached record temperatures for the date.

“Anything less than a tenth of an inch, if you’re standing under a fir tree, you’ll never feel it,” said meteorologist Andy Haner at the weather service office in Seattle.

The last time more than a tenth of an inch of rain fell in Bellingham was June 16, when .11 inch was measured at the airport. Monday marks the 80th straight day of less than 0.10 inch of precipitation.

Bellingham’s record for lack of wetting rain is 81 days, a mark that could be tied Tuesday. No rain is in the forecast until Thursday, when showers and thundershowers are possible.

Seattle saw a record number of days this summer without any measurable rainfall, but Bellingham has seen a handful of days this summer with brief showers.

Summers in Northwest Washington often see little rainfall, so experts said it’s too soon to think about a drought. But the NOAA Climate Prediction Center calls it an “abnormally dry” period across the entire Pacific Northwest, affecting agriculture and grasslands.

Still, only 1.75 inches of rain has fallen in Bellingham since May 1, according to National Weather Service records. Normal rainfall for that four-month period is 6.75 inches.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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