Is Tri-Cities Losing Its Famous Slogan?
The Tri-Cities area is known far and wide for its "300 days of sunshine" a year. Besides wine, it's probably our biggest selling point to attract visitors and major events. This year is a little different - it's looking more like 215 days. A gross exaggeration? Probably, but you have to admit, something is different this year and we're no longer the driest area in the state.
What city in Washington is the driest?
Since Tri-Cities is typically dry (and we locals have a nickname for that which I won't repeat) it got me wondering - what town holds the crown for the least amount of rainfall? Well, it turns out Mattawa is the driest city in the state and the Pacific Northwest. Yes, Mattawa!
Mother Nature gives Mattawa about 4.60 inches of rain (on average) per year. That's almost as dry as the driest city in America, which is Las Vegas. Sin City gets about 4.5 inches each year. Both towns are pretty darn parched, so if the TRI isn't dry enough for you, pack up and move to Mattawa or Vegas - these two cities could boast "over 350 days of sunshine" a year as a slogan - far exceeding our 300. Not scared.
What city is the driest on the west side of Washington?
Sequim is the driest western Washington city. By the way, it's pronounced "skwim", not "sea-kwim". Never mispronounce their name when you're visiting, you'll promptly be corrected and get an eye-roll for sure. So, one would think that since the town of Sequim is on the coastline, near a massive rainforest, and close to a town with vampires (Forks), it couldn't possibly be the driest city on the west side, but it is, and it's for the same reason Tri-Cities is so dry - a rain shadow (see below).
What's a rain shadow?
Sequim sits in a "rain shadow" of the Olympic Mountains. In simple meteorological terms, the Olympic Mountains block the rain, just like the Cascades do for eastern Washington. The city of Sequim is so proud of its sunshine they celebrate it every March with a festival called, you guessed it, "The Sequim Sunshine Festival". It's no wonder the price of real estate in Sequim has skyrocketed and retirees are moving into the town in droves.