This Map Shows the Pacific Northwest’s Nightmare November Rain Totals

Home Technology This Map Shows the Pacific Northwest’s Nightmare November Rain Totals
This Map Shows the Pacific Northwest’s Nightmare November Rain Totals
People who were stranded by high water due to flooding are rescued by a volunteer operating a boat in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press (AP)

The calendar can’t turn to December fast enough for the Pacific Northwest—but even that offers little promise of respite. Residents there have been blitzed by a series of November storms that have driven widespread flooding and destruction.

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A snap of moisture is ushering the month out with flood watches and warnings blanketing Washington and British Columbia. Warm conditions have boosted snow levels to 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), meaning rain will fall at high elevations and melt out what little snowpack there is, sending more water rushing into rivers and racing over already soggy soil.

The reason those soils are so waterlogged is because of the absolutely stunning rainfall totals seen over the course of this month. The National Weather Service’s Seattle office tweeted a graphic on Tuesday that made me do a double-take. It shows that a large swath of the Cascades and Olympics, the two main mountain ranges in Washington, have seen 50 inches (127 centimeters) or more of rain in November. As the office helpfully notes, that’s 13 years of annual rainfall for Las Vegas. The color scale on the map below includes such a wide range due to those monster totals—the areas that are light-gray are actually where the heaviest rain fell, not gaps in data of rainfall. (Hence, my double-take.)