Monday, January 27, 2014

If You Don't Like the Weather . . .

I lived in San Angelo, Texas for about four months when I was in the military.  And the thing that struck me about living there was the weather.  In fact, I remember when I got my television hooked up, I was shocked to find a "Weather Channel."  Then I was even more surprised that I ended up watching it.  Yes, I am a bit of a weather geek but also, every three days a storm system would come through almost always bringing tornado watches or warnings.  We quickly learned that you didn't worry until there was a warning because where were always watches.  But what usually happened was lightning, thunder, downpours that would flood the streets, but no tornadoes.  Well, until that one day . . .  But it didn't come close to where we lived.

Now I live in central Washington State.  This is in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains and we average about 8 inches of precipitation per year.  This winter has been a particularly dry winter and the snow pack in the mountains is low.  It's going to be a "bad water year" for the farmers who rely on that snow pack for irrigation and the power company that relies on it for hydro power.

The weather in this part of the world is quite variable.  While this has been a warm and dry winter, I have seen -40 temperatures and snow up to a foot deep (no, we don't get the multiple feet of snow some places get).  I have seen summer days at 110 F (43 C).  And, it seems, the wind is nearly non-stop (except this winter when it's been dead calm followed by near-tropical storm velocity straight-line winds.  The old joke, "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes" certainly applies here (although 15 hours might be more accurate).

So I live with wind, large variations in temperature, and very little precipitation (which makes things very dusty, a dark colored car is impossible to keep clean).  What I don't have is hurricanes, tornadoes (well, we did have a small one a few years ago), stifling humidity, and feet and feet of snow with temperatures below 0 F most of the winter.

Of course we do have volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens dropped something like 4 inches of ash on this town; I lived here there with my parents), earthquakes, and wild fires.

But no matter where you live, you're going to have your particular set of natural problems.  But, boy, am I glad I don't live in San Angelo anymore.

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