It’s the last day of November. Thanksgiving is behind us. December is tomorrow. Looking ahead to a White Christmas begins.
November is typically the wettest and windiest month as the Pacific Storm Track seasonally realigns itself. We’ve been touched by the Pineapple Express, but just barely. A few days of wind and rain reinforced the region’s reputation, but only enough to bring the year up to normal. There weren’t even many power outages. Stacks of candles and batteries are sitting idle, waiting for a reason to be.
We’ve also missed out on cold. A few days of frost closed the gardening season for many plants. But, instead of our typical dusting that adds up to almost an inch (an inch!) of snow in the month, we’ve had nothing. A couple of hours away, there’s enough to open ski areas, and begin replenishing the mainland’s water supply. But here on the island, nothing.
Weather is unpredictable, and even more unpredictable along the Pacific Coast. Inland forecasts benefit from a dense network of weather stations, largely defined by towns and cities. There aren’t many towns or cities in the ocean. Weather hits the Olympic Mountains and redefines itself north, east, and south of the barrier.
Blame or thank the warm water. Puget Sound and the Salish Sea aren’t considered warm by swimmers, but the waters are warmer than freezing. Elevation and distance from the water make it easier for snow to survive, hence the mountains are white while the island is merely wet.
December is our snowiest month. Our average of 1.7 inches wouldn’t delay schools in much of the country, it tends to come in either very light or reasonably heavy amounts.
Now is the time get up the lights, the wreathes, and the ornaments regardless of the weather. A bit of frost is a cultural reminder, and the bonus will be if enough snow covers to create natural landscapes for cards.
In the meantime, we get to enjoy driving without waiting for snow plows, or having to shovel sidewalks; but still get to find the snow if we really want to. And, if it does snow more than a couple of inches here, well, be ready to stay home, light those candles, and dive into a book.