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682 w/m2 partial sunshine

710 w/m2 bright sunshine

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The Olympic Rain Shadow is a small region northwest of the city of Seattle which experiences significantly dryer and brighter weather than surrounding locations. The rain shadow encompasses the towns of Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Coupeville, and Victoria BC, as well as much of the San Juan Islands.  For details on climate, precipitation, and an Olympic rain shadow map, see our location page; for current conditions, check our Sequim weather station, or click here for a detailed Sequim weather forecast.

Just how much sunnier is it in the Olympic mountain rain shadow than say Seattle? That is a question many have asked, but few have been able to answer convincingly.

For that reason, we launched this site and measured the actual solar radiation near the center of the rain shadow for a year, and then compiled a detailed Olympic rain shadow - Seattle sunshine report which analyzes sunny vs. cloudy days in the rain shadow versus downtown Seattle. We also have summary reports for Anacortes sunny days and Port Angeles sunny days over the same period of time.

 Here are some highlights from our days of sunshine studies:

  • Winter (Nov-Jan) saw 5X as many mostly sunny days in the shadow vs. Seattle.
  • Winter saw only 1/4 as many dreary days in the shadow vs. Seattle.
  • Spring (Feb-May) saw the highest number of "rain shadow" days per month, at nearly 8!
  • Summer (Jul-Sep) saw rain shadow areas and Seattle with nearly equal mostly sunny days.
  • Port Angeles was definitely *in* the rain shadow, with quite similar benefits to Sequim.
  • Anacortes was on the north eastern fringe of the rain shadow.

After reading about the "shadow" you might consider a visit. Due to its drier climate and position over stunning coastal areas, it is often an ideal location for many outdoor activities, including bicycling, kayaking, windsurfing, hiking, golf, or simply exploring. 

Our weather forecast, directly from the national weather service, provides the best seven day forecast available. For even more perspective, browse our meteorology page or blog posts to understand a bit more. A relatively specific set of conditions often produces the rain shadow effect.

The best way to stay current on the "shadow" is to "fan us" on Facebook, (, where we post periodic news blurbs. These will let you know about interesting blog posts, or cool new photos  in our photo gallery. The blog is quite comprehensive and we and others have posted and commented on on a variety of topics, such as "Does the Pineapple Express consume the Shadow?", or "A Winter trip into the Olympic Rain Shadow".

Our studies have allowed us to look into a number of myths about the rain shadow, and verify a number of our informal observations...for example:

Myth - Sequim sees "300+ sunny days a year"; that may be true, but only if you count sunny days as those with brief moments of sunshine.

    Verified observation - We found there to be 254 days with at least partly sunny skies, which included 127 mostly sunny days.

    Verified observation - Spring months are relatively sunny in rain shadow locations.

Myth - Sequim = rain shadow.

    Verified observation - Port Angeles, and likely Port Townsend, W. Whidbey, the S. San Juans, and Victoria are also rain shadowed.

Myth - The rain shadow is a tropical banana belt

    Verified observation  - It actually has a quite cool, but clear, sunny, and windy climate overall.

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