November Storms In October

Finally, some days of sunshine. Within the last week or so Whidbey was visited by four storms. November is typically the stormiest month and rarely gets so many action in such short order. This was in October! How busy will this weather be? That’s not quite academic. Inquiring minds and people who are preparing want to know. 

Considering the wind, the good news was that there were far fewer power outages than expected. A 63mph wind gust hit the island. There were outages, but they were relatively isolated – unless it involved your house. Usually, early storms are worse because the leaves that haven’t fallen from the trees act as ways for the wind to bend the branches, sometimes snapping them which sometimes block roads and break power lines. 

Considering the rain, soggy soil makes it easier for roots to not grip as much. More trees can fall. And yet, crews and neighbors were able to manage it all. 

National Weather Service

Storms are also a good opportunity to see how varied the island’s weather and climates can be. According to the National Weather Service, in one 24 hour stretch Clinton got almost an inch of rain (0.99 inches), Deception Pass got over 3/4 of an inch (0.76 inches); and yet Coupeville lived up to its rain shadow reputation by only receiving 0.03 inches. (While places east of Seattle were drenched with over six inches.) A few miles makes a big difference. A >60 mph gust in Oak Harbor may make the news, but mid-way down the island it might be calm, or the west side might be blustery while the east side is relatively quiet.

Many folks are expecting a La Nina winter, cold and wet. Cold and wet can make good snow conditions, and a mess on the roads. At least it is a mess that doesn’t have to be shoveled. Just as a few miles can make a difference, so can a few days. If cold and wet meets a visiting airmass that is cold and from Alaska, we can get snow. It happens.

The winter shopping season has begun. While searching for presents, it might also be a good opportunity to fill the pantry, prep the generator, pick up some books, buy some candles, and make sure there’s an adequate supply of beverages. What better way to be ready for a storm than to be prepared for mini-vacations provided by Nature? 

How busy will this winter be? Predicting the future is always a somewhat silly exercise. In the meantime, autumn’s rain gave lawns an opportunity for one last growth spurt before winter. Maybe it’s a good time to mow while the sun shines.

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