« Guilty Pleasures | Main | Birth Control Breakfast »



It builds character. Its a lack of it that makes Americans such wimps.
Mind you I went to Seattle last year in late March and on about the 29/30 March it his 82F with a perfect blue sky - which was good as I went up the ol' Space Needle and took some pics. Of course a week earlier it had really poured down. In the short walk from near Pike Place (well a cpl streets up) to I think SafeCo stadium for a food convention - nothing ad happened but a little drizzle. On the walk back it lashed down.


Only *one* day of sun? I can believe it - I took an exam at the law school, and the sun was out when I got to my car. I drove back to my apartment (off the Eastern Prom) and it was thick fog. No wonder why I have no motivation to do bar review.


I've spent about two months in the last two years in Seattle. It rains there a fair bit, but the time between sun and clouds is usually measured in hours, maybe as long as a day, not in months. The summer in Seattle is beautiful. You have it much worse up there in the arctic tundra.


There was a chart in the Boston Glob (Wednesday, I think) showing all the "sunny" days in May. There were five visible on the chart. (I had pretty good weather for Bike Week, the 16th-20th.)

Actually, it's sunny outside my office window now, but rain is forecast for today and the rest of the weekend.


That's what I found so difficult about living in New England, Sherry (assuming you count CT as N.E.). It wasn't the cold; it was the endless, unceasing grey, where the sun went away for weeks at a time.

I hated it.


I've heard from several sources that we had only seven days in Portland without rain. I think I see a bit of brightness poking through my office window now, though. Here's to hoping we have a slightly better weekend than predicted.


I hate to be an annoying contrarian but I am loving this all rain all the time. Maybe it's because I have a desk job and I don't get out much generally, but it is so much easier and more pleasant to be productive when the weather isn't so appealing outside. I don't feel as though I am missing anything if I am stuck inside doing work. Also I enjoy the solitude of jogging and walking my dog in the rain without running into other people.

Hal O'Brien

Well, speaking as a Seattle-area resident, I have to point out that Portland gets more cumulative rainfall than Seattle -- 45.83 inches vs. 38.25

It is true that Seattle has more rainy days than Portland -- 150 compared to 129. But that means it rains a lot less per rainy day in Seattle than in Portland -- .25in/rainy day vs. .36

I suspect that where Seattle really gets its gloomy reputation is that we're so much farther north than anyone on the East Coast. Portland is at 43.66N, while Seattle is at 47.67N. That means our days are darker in the winter, combined with more rainy ones. On the other hand, it means our summer days are longer, too.

As the poster above observes, weather in Seattle is highly variable over an "ordinary" day. One can easily go from cloudless sun, to rain, to mildly blustery winds and clouds sculling across the sky.

Probably another reason I don't mind rain in Seattle so much is because I lived in LA so long. Yes, LA has only 35 rainy days a year, it seems, but when one punches out the numbers, it gets .53inches/rainy day. So the rain is about twice as intense as in Seattle, and about 47% more than Portland. So to me it never feels like "rain" so much as a long drizzle. But the fog and clouds, swirling in the trees and mountains... I'm very happy here.

Ulrika, my wife, is originally from Sweden. Consider that Swedish has a word that literally translates as, "That weather where it is not raining," and further consider why they'd need such a word. :)


You're doing it all wrong. Getting outside is exactly what you must do, weather or no weather. I grew up in western Washington and wasn't ever all that bothered by the weather. It was later, when I was stuck inside an office all day that things got kind of suicidal. Just put on a jacket and get outside and do stuff and you might feel a lot better.


Instead of a tanning booth, I'd suggest shining a flashlight on the back of your knees. Supposedly this is a method of dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is thought to be caused by lack of sun.

Isaac Laquedem

I've lived all my life (except for college) in the other Portland, which like its northern cousin is known for its rain. I've never minded the rain, and I often walk in the mists and drizzles. (I second the advice of DaveL above: get outside anyway.) I spent my college years in the Boston area, which was much worse than the rainy Northwest: muggy and sticky in the summer, miserably cold in the winter, and snow that wouldn't do the decent thing and melt after two days.


If you came to VISIT, you could see for yourself how the weather is doing in Seattle and how I survive.

Hal O'Brien

I'm with Susannah. :)


My fiance & I live in Boston, where the winters are so rough on me that I get sick every year for most of them. Grey, rainswept days have their own beauty to me, but not when they are the norm. And believe me, they are often the norm here, except in the summer, our other season, which occurs over a handful of days in July and August. We want to move out West, and are drawn to the cultural environment in Seattle, Portland (OR) and San Francisco. However, we need warmer winters and more sunny days. We have, with great regret, decided that Seattle and Portland are probably too dreary too much of the year, and are trying to find out of the same is true for San Fran. Does anyone have any suggestions as to a sunnier place out West to live that still has the funky, liberal culture of Seattle and Portland to which we are so drawn?


I have lived in the Arctic with temperatures down to -40 deg. celsius. I have also lived in places where you have lots of snow, and shoveling the snow keep you busy and healty. Now I live in Toronto where it can be hot and muggy in the summer...snow and sleet in the winter. I can see your point!


I have to say, I moved back to Phoenix, Arizona about 5 years ago. I am actually a native, so whenever we see rain, the whole city goes "nuts!" For a while, I got to live in a little Central Coast city in California, Santa Maria.

When I first moved there, I was surprisingly shocked at how much it rained there. It was actually quite normal to wake up to rain/drizzle;the good thing was that it would usually "burn off" by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. You would get a spectacular sunset and then the clouds would move in and it would happen all over again. The few times we had non-stop rain were also awesome. In December and January.

I can tell you that getting outside, even when it rained like that really made me feel happy and alive! After growing up in a desert environment, it was nice to just feel moisture!

Living in Arizona, it can bejust as depressing running from the air-conditioned house, to the hot-as-heck car, blast the air some more, then run in to he a/c job, mall, movie theater..etc. I used to hardly be outside at all because it is so bright and hot all the time. Still, every once in a while I remind myself to get out and get outside to feel the heat and get some sun.

Just getting out, no matter where you live is a great idea. Besides, Phoenix is like a big town and your chance to expirience culture are really limited. It's not that they don't exist, but they are so hidden and it doesn't always come across as truly geniune.

I can't wait until we re-locate in Seattle at the begining of next year. After living in Chicago, Portland, New Mexico, it should be nice!


I have lived in san francisco for 8 years and am considering moving to the portland area. For Hal O'Brien San Francisco has many micro climates so if you want a funky arty part of town with the most sunshine, check out the mission and soma area. There are parts of these neighborhoods that can be a little ghetto so you really have to see each block. I loved living in the twin peaks but it had more fog. The marina, pacific heights and nob hill, high on the hill are safe parts of town that are more snobby but have great weather.


I am from Malaysia and I've lived in Seattle for 3 years now. Moving from a tropical country to Seattle was a tough adjustment. The storm last winter was hard on my family (our son was 10 months old at the time). Having 7 months of wintery weather in a year is too much on me and has had me despondent... I'm worried about raising my kids in this place. Always thinking about moving but our circumstances don't favor that yet.. While growing up in Malaysia I was always baffled at how people can be easily clinically depressed in other parts of the world - I sort of feel for them now! Well, here's to dreaming about nice (few) summer days ahead...

Jo Engelhardt

I live in the middle of no where on the border of texas and mexico. I would KILL for days of rain. Consider yourselves lucky, and if not for the lack of sun, at least for the lack of sun-damaged skin. :)

Mile-High Mike

What an interesting perspective. I'm from Denver, CO where there is an abundance of Sunshine... over 300 days a year. Yet there are people there who will complain when there is precipitation of any kind, and use that as an excuse to stop living their life. In Seattle, you'd call that SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. In Denver you'd call it SES - Sunshine Entitlement Syndrome.

Some people just don't do well in weather (of any kind). Personally, I thrive in it. Something about the cold, the snow, the rain - makes me feel alive.

Yeah, maybe it takes a special kind of person to live in (and enjoy) Seattle. While Washington isn't quite a sunny as Colorado, it's an amazing place in it's own right. I find the cool, clean winds refreshing. The ready access of the Puget Sound, and the ability to see a mountain range seemingly rise out of the water is amazing! The skies are smog free, and everything is so green and alive.

But add some clouds and rain, and a "fair-weather" person will start looking for things to hate. Pretty amusing, actually.


I am from the West of Ireland, where it rains, rains, rains and if you stayed in every time it did well you would never go out. to put it into perspective - you can get soaked through going from your front porch to the end of your driveway.

I found if you get good rain gear, hat, gloves etc you can just get on with things. Also there is nothing quite as comforting as listening to the rain pelting on the window when you are safe and warm beside a roaring fire inside.

I am moving to Seattle soon and could not live somewhere where weather doesn't mean grey skies, clouds, wind and sunshine all in the same day.


For 10 years I've been totally depressed in Seattle's winters. Summer '07 was barely summer. Some people just need more light, but who wants to sit by a light box so they can feel better? Important to note that while Seattle is artsy, progressive and beautiful, it is a masculine energy city with a hard edge. Consider your needs in that regard before settling here. I'm moving somewhere with a softer edge.

April Clarke

I'm in Michigan right now. Imagine living somewhere that gets so cold that everything dies for four months of the year. I don't mean everything hibernates. Things die! Big tough trees that lasted years will just give up after they've taken all they can. Everything that manages to live through the winter is, at best, severely stunted. Trees that in milder climes grow into spectacular grand specimens top out at 40 feet around here. When it's sunny in winter you know that's the worst. Bright sunny days are almost guaranteed to not go above 20F with a stong gail blowing since there are no hills to slow it down. Add to that our 6% sales tax, 50% sin tax on any alcohol and state income tax and an additional income tax for the priviledge of working in that cesspool called Detroit and you're relaxing in a relative paradise. If you really don't like it just move to Phoenix. I lived there for 26 years and for the weather challenged it's divine deliverance.

Cynthia Steele

What one earth is wrong with staying inside, watching movies, reading and drinking tea?! Sounds good to me....I think I'll move to Seattle....the sunshine in the south bores the daylights out of me....


Lots of talk about how often it rains in Seattle. How about the snow? Whats the weather like in the Middle of December and the middle of July compared to the Weather in Boston at the same time?

The comments to this entry are closed.