Yesterday (Monday), Spokane Airport broke one that left this normally dispassionate meteorologist in a state of amazement: the greatest monthly precipitation total for a station that goes back over 120 years (since 1889 to be exact).
Not the greatest monthly total for October, something true of Seattle and a number of Northwest locations. But of any month, including the normally wetter months of December and January.
Folks, this is a major record, as noted by the National Weather Service Spokane announcement yesterday (see below). As of 7:23 AM Monday Spokane had received 6.21 inches, smashing the old record (5.85 inches) set in 1897.
Not all records are created equal
Unlike people, some records are more impressive than others. Daily records at individual stations get broken all the time. For example, the highest temperature observed on July 14th at Seattle Tacoma Airport. A lot of chances to break records at many individual locations. To give you a taste of this, here are the number of US daily records broken during the past year. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF THEM. That is why you should yawn when that media starts hyperventilating about daily records.
These are for daily records for specific days. A rarer record is the daily record for a month (say the highest daily temperature for any day in a month). Generally only a few hundred of these in each category (see below)
But these are daily records. Records for monthly totals are harder to break since there are far less of them and monthly totals average a lot of atmospheric variability. And to break the monthly record for a station of such a long record and in October, a month that climatologically is in the driest third of the typical year (see below), is truly amazing.
Initiative 732 News
Dr. James Hansen, one of the most well-known climate scientists in the U.S., has made a strong statement in favor of 732. He believe I-732 could be a game changer for the nation and the world.
Some folks have been writing letters to the editor of the Seattle Times and elsewhere, criticizing I-732 with pseudo-scientific arguments that are simply not true. Well known UW climate and carbon cycle scientists (John Crusius, Richard Gammon, and Steve Emerson), correct the record here.
Yesterday, a group of environmental "heroes" went to Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to protest the utility's heavy use of coal coupled with it large financial contributions to stopping I-732.
Heavy set, black-clothed PSE security forces tried to chase them off of public sidewalks and swiped several of their signs. Black is appropriate--the color of coal and the dark side of the the Force. I bet Puget Sound Energy's customers will be delighted to learn that they are paying for anti-environmental advertisements.