Seattle Rain: Think It Will Stop?

Much has been made of the current rainy streak in Seattle: within days it may break the city's all-time record of 33 straight days with precipitation. But many in the city on Puget Sound don't want to hear about it.

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SHEILAH KAST, host:

There's a 60 percent chance it will rain today in Seattle. That would make it 27 rainy days in a row. Seattle is on its way to breaking its all-time record of 33 days of rain set back in 1953. When NPR's editors heard about the streak, they asked our Seattle reporter Martin Kaste to do a story. This is what he came up with.

(Soundbite of rain)

MARTIN KASTE reporting:

Standing here outside just a few hundred feet away from the Space Needle, I can report with considerable confidence that the streak of consecutive days of rain here in Seattle continues unbroken. But I have to wonder about the ethics of even reporting this story at all, because all this talk of a record and a streak and unbroken rain is taking a toll, nowhere more so than through the doors of this establishment right in front of me, the Seattle Children's Museum.

(Soundbite of activity at Seattle Children's Museum)

KASTE: Clara Arletto(ph) brought her son here to the Ping-Pong ball room to burn off a little steam. She says the media obsession with this rainy day record is not helping her cabin fever.

Ms. CLARA ARLETTO: You don't want to focus on `Oh, my God, I'm gonna have 10 days of gray, you know?' You want that illusion that the sun will come out tomorrow.

(Soundbite of activity at Seattle Children's Museum)

KASTE: That illusion is important to Seattleites, who depend on a collective state of denial to get themselves through the winter. Most don't even carry umbrellas. So who's responsible? Who started this loose talk about a new record? Looking for the culprit, I called The Seattle Times' chief rain reporter, Sara Jean Green.

Ms. SARA JEAN GREEN (The Seattle Times): Do you have the number for AP in Seattle?

KASTE: So she passes the buck to the Associated Press. AP reporter Liz Gillespie did write a story on Tuesday that got huge play, but she also refuses to take credit.

Ms. LIZ GILLESPIE (Associated Press Reporter): I came in to work on Monday and midway through a Seattle Times story about some mudslides was mention of this now-infamous 1953 record of 33 consecutive days.

KASTE: So it's back to The Seattle Times and weekend reporter Emily Heffter. She admits she may have been the first to mention the record in print. But she doesn't want the credit either.

Ms. EMILY HEFFTER (The Seattle Times): I think my editor mentioned to me that there was a record in the works.

KASTE: So the editor's responsible for this, then. OK.

Ms. HEFFTER: Yeah, well, you can almost always trace a weather story back to an editor.

KASTE: Why is that?

Ms. HEFFTER: They're just always--no reporter thinks to write a weather story. It's a dreaded assignment.

KASTE: But Heffter does try to give the whole thing a positive spin.

Ms. HEFFTER: Maybe it will give the rainy weather a sort of a sense of victory if we beat the record from the '50s.

KASTE: A sense of victory?

(Soundbite of activity at Seattle Children's Museum)

Unidentified Woman: Quiet down, please.

KASTE: Try telling that to the long-suffering parents at the Children's Museum. Martin Kaste, NPR News, Seattle.

(Soundbite of rain)

KAST: And it's 22 minutes before the hour.

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