To everyone who moved to Whidbey Island because it rained just enough to keep the skies clear and the grass green; we apologize. Lately it has been smoky and dry, as in historically smoky and dry. Oops. Sorry. But hey, at least there haven’t been as many rain cancellations as usual.
Historically, Seattle’s weather was wet until about July 13th and stayed dry through about September 13th. The Puget Sound Lowlands could be one of the driest parts of the lower 48. That was then.
This year was drier than that, the driest on record, and it stayed that way for longer than usual. According to the National Weather Service, Seattle only received a half-an-inch of rain between June 21st and September 21st. This season was so uncommon that, except for 2015 with 0.52 inches, even the third driest was twice as wet.
Besides fewer cancellations, there was also a lot less mowing to do for people who conserve water during dry spells. Hey, that means more time to enjoy the great outdoors!
But there was the excessive heat. Oops. That wasn’t normal, either.
And as for smoke, well, previous years have seen smoke from the other side of the Cascades, but this year this side was dry. Whidbey continues to catch smoke from the Bolt Creek Fire outside Baring, WA. That two-lane highway was closed, er, remains closed as massive trees are falling hundreds of feet to land on the road.
Throw in some wind from the east, which isn’t normal, and some sunsets were heavily tinted, and others were totally obscured.
This is not normal, but then, something being not normal has become the new normal.
We’re in autumn. Trips will be made across the mountains to catch the changing colors, at least for the roads that are open. This is prime hiking weather; the bugs are mostly gone and the heavy frosts haven’t arrived. Traffic should be getting lighter, or it should be as tourism takes a holiday.
Soon enough our winds and rains and reasons to stay indoors will return. It will also be the season to pack the pantry, restock batteries, buy candles for romance or lanterns for power outages.
We can bid fare well to an abnormal summer. As for autumn and winter, well, we’ll return to normal – right?