Juneuary

Yep. That’s a real word, at least on the island and around the region folks know about Juneuary. June may be another way to spell summer for many in the northern hemisphere (even though the solstice isn’t until three weeks into the month), but around here it can feel like January grabbed the weather controls. (June + January = Juneuary. Get it?) Is it really that bad? No. But snow in the mountains and rain in the lowlands can feel a bit wintry when the rest of the nation is celebrating sunshine and complaining about mosquitoes.

Light rain and 54F, today. Tomorrow, more rain and a slight chance of a thunderstorm, and only 52F. The weather will warm eventually, but a cold, wet day can make summer seem far away. And yet, hot and dry just passed by and will return sooner that it seems.

According to the National Weather Service we almost set a record for warmth;

“The average temperature for Seattle in May was 61.0°. The normal average temperature for June is 60.9°. In over 120 years of records this is only the 2nd time the average temperature for May exceeded the normal for June.”

Not scorching, and that’s a good thing for plants and people.

Also according the National Weather Service we tied a record;

“May 2018 in Seattle in the books with 0.12″ of rain tied with 1992 for the driest May on record”

Think that through, only 0.12 inches of rain. Multiply that by 12 months and only get to 1.44 inches in a year. That’s desert weather, and also why lawns were turning brown last month.

June has already exceeded that in the first few days of the month.

Whidbey’s weather is weird, and wonderful. Compared to almost anywhere else, the weather is mild, temperate. It rarely gets very cold or very hot. Anything below 30F or above 80F sparks comments around the island. There may be a thunderstorm coming in, but that’s only a slight chance, probably will have so few strikes that each will create comments, and won’t last long. Look at a map of the lightning strikes around the world and notice where they aren’t. The Pacific Northwest. (Ironically, one of the busiest places for lightning is where we build enormous stacks of explosives called rockets: Florida.)

lightning-strikes-earth-satellite-map

credit: NASA

The island is temperate, which helps with its relaxing nature.

Had too much relaxation? Want something more dynamic and dramatic? Drive a couple of hours west (after taking a ferry, of course) and pass through a desert to end in a rain forest beside a shoreline that storm watchers enjoy for Pacific storms striking land. Want more desert, bigger expanses of dry land, and about 300 days of sunshine? Drive east across the mountains. Want snow every month of the year? Don’t drive as far, but make sure you drive up. Up into the mountains where adventurous folks can ski every month, backpackers can wake up to frozen water bottles, and every season can be seen in a day.

When the weather decides to become summer, it will do it without hesitation. The clouds will finally be driven away by our long days between sunrise and sunset. A northern latitude means lots of solar activity. It may be chilling outside, but houses are soaking up photons regardless. Soon, we’ll pass into a drought that makes the region one of the driest places in the nation – at least for a while. But, that story comes later.

For now, this is one more reason or excuse to warm up the fireplace with a few lit logs, enjoy the ambiance while reading a book, watching a movie, or visiting with friends. It is also an excuse to not mow the lawn, just be ready for an epic session during the next sunny gap between drizzles.

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