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Season’s first storm breaks plenty of records, but when will it end?

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SEATTLE —  The first fall storm of 2014 is delivering some significant rainfall to the Pacific Northwest.

Commuters last night and this morning are facing standing water on roads and highways across the region. Car accidents, likely due to the poor weather, have been reported in numerous cities in the path of this soggy storm and causing traffic troubles around both Seattle and Portland for commuters this morning.

The most significant rainfall has been in the expected places: along the coast and in the Cascades.

While the steady rain didn’t arrive until the second half of Tuesday, several cities broke one-day rainfall records for September 23rd. 1.98 inches of rain in Astoria, Oregon was reported yesterday. The old record of 1.60 inches stood for 109 years.  Hoquiam wasn’t too far behind with a rainfall total of 1.30 inches. The old record for the central Washington coastal town was 0.98″ set back in 1986. Seattle also had record rainfall amounts. The relatively new weather reporting station at the NOAA Weather Forecast Office headquarters at Sand Point reported 0.65″ of rain.

The old record was 0.42″ set in 1992. SeaTac Airport’s 0.72″ was record setting too, but just barely. The old record was 0.71″ set in 1978.

Infrared satellite imagery shows the intense moisture packed in this first fall storm as it moves into the NW.

Infrared satellite imagery shows the intense moisture packed in this first fall storm as it moves into the NW.

The rain is much needed, actually. Prior to this storm’s arrival, Western Washington only had received about 16 percent of average September rainfall. This fall storm will also drench many wildfires still burning in Washington and Oregon.

Unfortunately, one of the largest fires on the West Coast will not see this needed moisture. The named King Fire in northern California will see increased wind from the passage of this front– but none of the rain we’re seeing further north.

While the forecast calls for the steady rain to taper off into showers that could last until Friday, don’t think that this first fall storm is an indication of how the wet the winter will be.

The El Nino/La Nina Pacific Ocean conditions that can drive seasonal weather patterns is pointing toward this winter being an El Nino, that typically means for the Northwest we’ll see a drier and warmer-than-normal winter. Of course, you wouldn’t know that trying to get around the very soggy conditions around Western Washington this morning.


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