November 26, 2022

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VERIFY: Does D.C. get more rain than Seattle?

3 min read

A TikToker with more than 297k views says D.C. gets more rainfall totals than Seattle. It’s true according to the National Weather Service

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A viral TikTok video with more than 297,000 views, claims that D.C. gets more rainfall than Seattle, Washington.

“On average Washington, D.C. gets more rain per year than the big city in the other Washington,” TikTok user @triphacksdc, said. “The difference is that in Seattle it rains a little in a lot of days, while here it comes down in huge downpours.”

The TikToker also said 2018 was the rainiest year in D.C. with more than five feet of rain, and 2020 set the record for most “super rainy” days in one year.

THE QUESTION:

Does Washington, D.C. get more rain than Seattle, Washington?

THE SOURCES:

  • Christopher Strong- meteorologist at the National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington
  • National Weather Service- precipitation data for Seattle and D.C.
  • Makayla Lucero- meteorologist at WUSA9

THE ANSWER:

This is true.

When it comes to the amount of rainfall, yes, D.C. has more inches of rain.

WHAT WE FOUND:

Christopher Strong, a meteorologist at NWS Baltimore-Washington, said it’s true.

“In terms of the amount of rain that we get, there is more rain that falls during the course of a typical year here in Washington, D.C. than in Seattle, but they get rained on more days than we get,” Strong said.

That’s backed up by publicly available NWS data. 

We compared total rainfall over the last two decades and found that D.C. had more rain than Seattle in 13 out of the last 20 years.

As for the video’s other claims, it’s also true that 2018 was the wettest year on record for D.C. with over five feet of rain. The District also set a record in 2020 with seven “super rainy” days or days with one to two inches.

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“Two of the top 10 rainiest years, were just in the 2000s,” Strong said. ” And one of the things we’re also seeing when you look at not only daily rainfall but how much rainfall can happen in an hour—which is really what drives a lot of our flooding and flash flooding and really dangerous events that we can get from time to time. And what we’re starting to see is an uptick in the amount of days where we get, you know, an inch and a half to three inches of rain in an hour.”

Strong says that the uptick is due to global warming.

“What we’re seeing is that as the global climate warms, that allows more evaporation…of the ocean, which puts more moisture into the atmosphere,” Strong said. “And when conditions are right, and you focus that moisture into a rainstorm, you can get more frequent and more heavy rain events.”

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2022-05-18 22:36:31

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