Residents in soggy Seattle rebel against the sun

Thu Jul 9, 2015 5:04pm EDT
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By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Seattle's mayor is losing sleep over the unusually hot, dry weather that is causing a run on air conditioners and fans in the famously rainy city.

Washington state's largest metropolis sweated through its hottest June on record, going fortnights without even a drizzle. Seattleites jokingly refer to the month of "Juneuary" for the wet and cold they usually endure before longer, dryer sunny days arrive in July, typically persisting into September.

This summer, however, they have shrugged off the rain gear and flannel and taken to drinking "iced" lattes. Many, including Mayor Ed Murray, find themselves oddly yearning for the cloud cover on which Rain City's identity was forged.

Murray said the heat has kept him up at night in his brick Tudor-style house, which he has nicknamed the "little Dutch oven."

"Obviously people in Seattle love a little more sun but also nothing is built for it," Murray said. "I miss my rain."

With an estimated 662,400 residents, the Emerald City, as the city is nicknamed, lies between the brackish Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains which squeeze moisture out of east-bound fronts moving over the city.

It is so dry in the state that a wildfire is burning in a rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula and Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide drought emergency in May as the snowpack in the mountains fell to historic lows.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received just 0.23 inches (0.58 cm) of rain for June, down from the normal 1.57 inches (3.98 cm).   Continued...

The Space Needle and Mount Rainier are pictured at dusk in Seattle, Washington March 12, 2014.    REUTERS/Jason Redmond