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Seattle crushes rain record, Portland inching closer to smashing its own record

(Robert Sumner/Getty Images)

SEATTLE  — Soggy Seattle has broken another rainfall record, and Portland is inching closer to smashing its own record.

Seattle measured 44.7 inches (114 centimeters) of rain between October and April, making it the wettest such period since records began in 1895, the National Weather Service in Seattle said.

It marks the second year in the row that the city has topped the historic rainfall record for that period.

With several days left to go this month, this year’s record will likely be padded some more, said Mike McFarland, a meteorologist with the service in Seattle.

“This has been a terrible winter. It was just wet. There’s no way around that,” he said Tuesday.

While many Seattleites have grumbled about the relentless rain, longtime resident Meghan Shepard revels in it.

“It’s soothing. I like the color of the sky when it rains. It’s this beautiful green. I like being out there,” said the retired 77-year-old. She has lived all over the United States, but prefers the rainy Northwest.

To the whiners, Shepard said: “I don’t have a lot of patience. If they don’t like it, move.”

Portland residents are weathering a winter that’s similarly bleak.

The National Weather Service has measured 45.5 inches (116 centimeters) of rain at Portland International Airport since Oct. 1, making it the second-wettest winter in the city in more than 75 years of record-keeping.

The city has also had the most days of rain ever, with 145 days of the wet stuff since Oct. 1, said Colby Neuman, a meteorologist for the agency in Portland. This year’s February was also the wettest on record with 10.356 inches (26 centimeters) of rain.

Those are numbers Olga Vargas can vouch for. The native of Puerto Rico moved to Portland four years ago and said the typically rainy winters didn’t bother her much — until this year. Mudslides earlier in the winter cut off roads that she uses for her morning commute, she said.

“My kids are going nuts. They’re like, ‘We want to go to the pool! We want to go to the pool!'” Vargas said. “Why can’t we break the record for sunniest? That would be awesome!”

In Seattle, the previous record was 44.5 inches (113 centimeters) of rain for the October 2015 to April 2016 period. The normal amount of rain during that period is usually 30.9 inches (79 centimeters).

In the Pacific Northwest, cold-weather systems move through the region with dry breaks in between. McFarland said “we’re missing those breaks.”

The winter storm season was notable for back-to-back weather systems that were slightly wetter and warmer than normal, he said.

Seattle also set a record number for wet days from October through April.

They are classified as days with at least 0.01 inches (0.3 centimeters) of precipitation. The city had 144 wet days from October through April and only five dry days so far this month.

Some parts of Washington state have had it much worse than Seattle.

Quillayute Airport near the town of Forks along the state’s northwestern Pacific coast has received 116.1 inches (294.9 centimeters) of rain since Oct. 1.

One resident of the Pacific Northwest, however, took a more practical attitude toward the never-ending wetness. Valerie Bass moved to Oregon 43 years ago for college from Southern California and stayed. Now, she’s so used to the rain she doesn’t use an umbrella.

“There has been quite a bit of rain,” she conceded. “As long as we don’t have to shovel it, right?”