No one told me about the climate of the Northwest when I moved here. I was completely clueless.
When we first found out we were going to be stationed here (as Kurt called his detailer from the parking lot of a casino in Tucson), I got all excited because I would finally have the chance to buy a pair of flannel-lined jeans from L.L. Bean. I don’t know why, but I have always wanted a pair, but have never been in a climate cold enough to need them.
Well, I suppose Omaha was cold enough to need them, but I was in high school and flannel-lined jeans just would not have fit my image. Heh. For those of you who knew me in high school, that’s supposed to be a funny statement.
Then I actually get up here, and I find out that this is a terribly mild climate. This is good in a way. This means that I don’t have to suffer through the searing heat and the withering humidity that can occur in southern Virginia, and that my sister strangely adores when she’s in Florida for the summer. Fourth of July 2002 was particularly hot in Virginia, with the temps hitting the high nineties with heat indices in the 100s.
People in Washington have never heard of a “heat index.”
The summers here are supposed to be in the 70s for the most part, and air conditioning is not supposed to be needed. That is, until the summer of 2003, my first summer here. We recorded something like 50 consecutive days of 70+ degree heat in this region, which is insanely hot. And we didn’t get hardly any rain all summer, maybe a couple of inches total.
Winters are supposed to be equally mild. Temps rarely drop below freezing, and we just tend to get some ice that melts in a couple of days. It doesn’t even snow every year. I am sure this is a disappointment for Kurt because he loves nasty, snow-laden winters. All those years in the heat of Tucson have fried his brain.
However, we’re starting to think this winter will be especially nasty due to the extremely hot summer we just endured. We have already been warned, if the last couple of days has been any indication.
The rain started last week sometime, I guess. No big deal — this is Seattle! It RAINS!! But I had always been told by native Washingtonians that the rain tends to just be drizzle most of the time, taking a few days to rack up the inch of rain that a Virginia summer storm can dump in an hour.
But it continued to rain, and it saturated the ground. Then came yesterday.
It rained all day yesterday. Not a drizzle, and certainly not a downpour. But one of those rains that is steady and will still soak you if you’re foolish enough to go outside without the proper rain gear. In fact, when I went to the store yesterday, I found the rain coming in my car sideways as I got in, getting my dash and instrumentation soaked.
The rain has caused some considerable flooding here in the area. I’ve seen photos in the newspaper that the city about twenty miles south of me battled some flooding. Sea-Tac Airport recorded over five inches of rain in that 24-hour period, the most rain in that period since record-keeping started in the late 1800s. That’s more rain in one day than we had all summer!! And I was supposed to go with J to her nephew’s band concert in Skagit County, but she called me this morning to tell me the concert’s off because of the flooding. The Skagit River is overflowing, and J’s brother and nephews spent all day sandbagging in an effort to hold back the water. The ceramics studio that belongs to J’s brother’s in-laws has been evacuated, so who knows whether we’ll be going up there in a couple of weeks for our monthly get-together? It might be under water.
And we’re supposed to get even more rain on top of this. I don’t mind so much because I can choose not to go out in it. Plus, I live on top of a very large hill. If my neighborhood starts to flood, there had better be an ark built and the animals be loaded on two by two!
I don’t worry how bad this winter will be. Usually the power goes out during a bad winter for a couple of days, which makes for a chilly few days since most houses are heated by electricity. But that’s ok — this winter Kurt will be home to keep me warm when the power goes out.
This winter I will not be alone.