Is It Always Raining In the Northwest?

The short answer is it depends where you live. Like many other places, there is a season that brings more rain and there is a period of little rain. One of the keys to living on the Kitsap Peninsula, as we do, is to be in or near the rain shadow from the Olympic Mountains (see picture below). Depending on where you live, the rain totals can vary greatly. We are located to the right of Port Ludlow in the bottom-right corner of the map.

When we moved here two years ago, Rose was already aware of the rain shadow, having lived on Whidbey Island when her father was stationed there and later in life too. She knew that it was better to be north of Silverdale into Poulsbo or even farther north to Kingston. When you compare the average rainfall for these cities that aren’t very far apart, the difference is striking. For example, Bremerton gets an average of 51″ of precipitation, while Silverdale to its north gets 46″, while Poulsbo even farther north gets 40″. Further up the peninsula is Kingston and Hansville, which get 38″ and 33″, respectively. We settled in Hansville (top of the map below) so we are on the low end of precipitation in this area.

kitsap-peninsula-map-532

For some perspective, the U.S. average for precipitation is 39″ per year. Seattle gets an average of 37″, Pittsburgh gets 38″, Washington D.C. gets 41″, and Fallon, Nevada gets a paltry 5″ per year.

After we received our household goods in October 2016, I was able to set up my weather station. With our own station, we can view our own micro-climate in the area. Other weather stations in the area can be seen too, so it’s easy to see what the weather is doing around you. If you want to view the weather from our backyard (i.e. our weather station), go to https://bit.ly/2Im68gw. The weather forecast for us is located at the bottom of the site web page.

The data below is for 2017. While our average annual precipitation is 33″, we received 38″ in 2017. This year, we are drier so far through March, with only 9.42″ vice 16.3″ in 2017. Check back at the end of the year and I’ll post the complete 2018 data.

MonthAvg HighAvg LowTotal Precipitation
Jan42.632.93.14
Feb46.635.76.77
Mar52.540.06.39
Apr58.242.93.86
May66.346.51.97
Jun69.850.40.46
Jul74.851.40.01
Aug76.253.30.25
Sep70.852.50.46
Oct59.244.01.97
Nov50.041.79.08
Dec43.736.03.67

Where we live is definitely affected by the rain shadow and the winds. It is often raining in Silverdale, where I work and it is dry at home.

The average highs and lows from our weather station by month are also listed in the table above. Due to the proximity of the water, the highs and the lows are moderated where we live as compared to more inland. On an average summer day, the temperature at our house is a good 6° cooler than in Silverdale where I work. Likewise, the lows in the winter aren’t as low as other locations more inland.

What I find to be the bigger change living here is the change in daylight throughout the year and how fast it changes. These significant changes have to do with how far we are north. On the Summer Solstice on June 21st, it will be light until after 9:13 pm. In the Winter the daylight is short, but that period seems to go by quickly. We really like the Spring and Summer when the days are long and the temperatures warm. See how much the amount of daylight changes in the table below.

DateSunriseSunsetHours of Daylight
Jan 15th7:54 am4:45 pm8h 50m
Feb 15th7:16 am5:33 pm10h 17m
Mar 15th*7:23 am7:15 pm11h 53m
Apr 15th6:20 am8:00 pm13h 40m
May 15th5:31 am8:42 pm15h 11m
Jun 15th5:10 am9:10 pm16h 01m
Jul 15th5:26 am9:04 pm15h 38m
Aug 15th6:05 am8:22 pm14h 17m
Sep 15th6:47 am7:22 pm12h 35m
Oct 15th7:29 am6:21 pm10h 52m
Nov 15th*7:16 am4:32 pm9h 16m
Dec 15th7:53 am4:17 pm8h 25m

*The times are affected by changing into and out of Daylight Saving Time

The climate here is a lot different from Fallon, where we lived for 14 years. No worrying about the sprinklers working to water the lawn; that is taken care of by nature. Rose is having a field day planting and re-planting, and everything seems to be growing well and thriving. This isn’t that different to where I grew up in Pennsylvania, with the trees, humidity, etc. I would say that it is nicer here though because the temperatures are more moderate due to our proximity near the water.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.