With 17+ Inches Of Rain So Far, Cheyenne Is Wetter Than Seattle This Year

The 17.38 inches of rain Cheyenne has received so far in 2023 is the second wettest on record and there's still 4 1/2 months to go. Cheyenne has even received more rain this year than Seattle.

Andrew Rossi

August 17, 20233 min read

Keith Susan Wagner shared this dramatic storm hovering over Cheyenne to the Wyoming Through the Lens Facebook page Aug. 4.
Keith Susan Wagner shared this dramatic storm hovering over Cheyenne to the Wyoming Through the Lens Facebook page Aug. 4. (Keith Susan Wagner via Wyoming Through the Lens)

Anyone needing more proof how unusual this summer’s cool, wet weather has been for Wyoming consider this: Cheyenne has recorded more rainfall so far this year than famously wet and gloomy Seattle, Washington.

The 17.38 inches of rain Wyoming’s capital city has had so far in 2023 is the second wettest on record, still with four and a half months to go, the National Weather Service Cheyenne office reports.

That compares to the just over 14 inches of rain Seattle, Washington, has had, according to the Seattle Weather Blog. While Cheyenne’s total is on track for a record, Seattle’s is 6 inches below normal.

Only 0.4 inches of precipitation fell in Seattle this July. Meanwhile, Cheyenne received 1.4 inches in one day, and about 5 inches for the month.

Should Cheyenne expect its own Space Needle and “Cheers” spinoff starring Kelsey Grammer?

Wet Apples, Dry Oranges

Most Wyomingites probably wouldn't like to see any place in the state compared to Seattle, and that includes Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day.

But the facts don’t lie, he said.

"Seattle doesn't have rain all year. Dry weather in Seattle isn't unusual in July,” he said. “You can't compare Seattle in July with Cheyenne in July and expect Seattle to always be more wet.”

It works both ways. Cheyenne typically gets more precipitation in July, just as Seattle typically gets more in January.

Furthermore, a general climate and weather comparison between the two cities isn't a good gauge of anything, he said. The same forces, like the Pacific Ocean, impact the weather in both areas. But the intensity of that impact is nowhere near the same.

"The climates are completely different," Day said. "Seattle is right next to the ocean. (Cheyenne) is on a dry island of land. It's really hard to find similarities in climate and compare apples to apples. It's interesting, but we shouldn't infer too much from it."

Instead, Day encourages a comparison between July in Cheyenne this year to the last two years.

There is a stark difference.

At this point in 2023, Cheyenne has received almost twice as much precipitation as it did in all of 2022, (9.47 inches).

Drought To Deluge

Wyoming spent the last three years in a severe drought, and this year’s turnaround is part of an expected wet cycle that follows the end of the drought, which could last between two and four years, Day said.

Seattle is experiencing a severe drought, while most of the state of Washington is experiencing either moderate or severe drought conditions, which is expected to impact temperature and precipitation over a five-year period.

A small section of Teton County is the only part of Wyoming experiencing any kind of drought this summer. But patterns repeat, and Wyoming can expect the drought to return to the region sooner than many would like.

The real question is whether Seattle is concerned about becoming the new Cheyenne. If that’s case, they must find their own giant Abraham Lincoln head.

Andrew Rossi can be reached at arossi@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Andrew Rossi

Features Reporter

Andrew Rossi is a features reporter for Cowboy State Daily based in northwest Wyoming. He covers everything from horrible weather and giant pumpkins to dinosaurs, astronomy, and the eccentricities of Yellowstone National Park.