An Unusual Spring Rain

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Our rain has even made CNN:

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Sea Tac broke its daily records for both Saturday and Sunday.
A number of stations in the south Sound received 1.5-2 inches of rain today.

For days the numerical models indicated substantial rain over the weekend, and yesterday's runs really took me back. Here is the forecast 48-h rainfall totals ending 4 AM on Monday. The pinks indicate 1.28-2.56 inches stretching from normally try eastern Oregon, across the Cascades, into south/central Puget Sound territory, and then over the Olympics. Even some scattered blacks (2.5-5 inches!)

The rain started east of the Cascades on Saturday and moved into western Washington during the early evening. Here are the radar images for last night (8 PM) and Sunday morning. Serious rain!

And this rain is NOT coming from a pineapple express (moisture streaming out of the SW, starting in the tropics and subtropics), but from the southeast and is associated with a deep upper trough (see upper level map).

This pattern brings clouds and precipitation to southern California as well. Snow is hitting the Sierras and even the California coastal mountains.

Even the satellite imagery shows how complex the situation is. Here you can see the band over us, but you can also see a low circulation off of northern CA.

The models are verifying is the 24-h precipitation (ending roughly 7 AM Sunday) from the cooperative observed network called CoCoRahs. The south sound is getting hammered with 1-1.5 inches already.

Some 24 hr rainfall totals SO FAR (8 AM Sunday):

1.14 inches Sea Tac
3.23 in Lester, WA
1.70 in, Black Diamond
1.24 in, Auburn
1.3 in McChord, Gig Harbor

Many stations will break their daily records today and some may reach in one day their normal monthly totals.

And don't forget eastern Washington where the Mazama-Chelan area received 1-1.5 inches. And Mark Albright, past WA State Climatologist, noted that Yakima with 1.76 inches in the past 18 hours alone is wetter than any May since 1948 when 2.76 inches of rain fell. The 2nd wettest May total was 2010 with 1.46 inches in Yakima. The total so far in 2011 is 1.90 inches through late morning 15 May 2011. Mean May precipitation in Yakima is 0.54 inches.

But want some good news? Most of the models are now indicating a major improvement towards the end of next week and next weekend....we are talking warm and getting into the 70s! Dry. Suitable for raking out the moss in your grass.
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