Mildew and Drizzle and Cliff Mass

 This is the piece published in the Quilcene Community Center (online only) Newsletter for June.                               

Promising Sunshine, Threatening Rain

This time of year, the too-brief period between Memorial and Labor Days, the season where we can, at least, turn down the heat we’ve been running pretty much non-stop since, at least, the day after Halloween; the weather can offer pretty much anything except, maybe, snow and/or ice. Thunder and lightning; oh yeah, that can happen; rare but sometimes sensational.

While the everchanging weather is usually spread out over the length of a day, or days, we often can get our atmospheric variety show’s highlights in an amazingly short period of time.

“Don’t like the local weather?” Yeah, you know the answer. “Wait an hour (or a minute- varies).  

In the midst of the brightest, purest sunlight, the wind blowing up the Hood Canal and the rain drifting in from over the Olympics can unite, and we get, yes, wet.

There is a reason Quilcene is always in contention for the Mildew Capital of Western Washington. Yeah, yeah, Lilliwaup, Eldon; close, but we have mildew changing, in any season, from the common and traditional green to orange, yes, orange, the orange-er the better.

And thick enough to peel.

Not just mildew and mold and lichens, not just funguses and algae, Quilcene is also know for drizzle. It’s real, it’s here. Yes, I know, you can look on the doppler and, no, no rain; and then look outside. Drizzle.

It is a conspiracy, obviously designed to fool potential tourists into venturing over to the Peninsula, and then, when they look our way from the Hood Canal Bridge, they opt for Sequim or Port Townsend. The dirty work of doppler manipulation, I’ve heard whispered, is carried out by corrupt meteorologists. I’m still undecided, but the evidence, well, it’s there.    

I am not an expert on weather. Need one? Cliff Mass. He puts out weather analysis and forecasts for the Great Northwest so detailed and science-based and data-driven that I can’t even begin to follow. He does have a great voice; used to love hearing him on the radio.

Even with all that, even Cliff leaves himself an out. “Possible.” “A good chance.” That kind of thing. “Not my fault.” Oh, but it is.

Basically, from what I can comprehend, our weather is influenced by several factors, evidently in some sort of constant struggle against each other. Our proximity to the tentacles of the Pacific Ocean, our location on the lee side of the Olympics, the fact that Canada and its Frazier River Valley can give us the coldest winter and the driest, hottest summer days, the variants in the ambient pressure and the… okay, I’ve lost myself.

I’ll just look outside. Oh. Drizzle. Again.

Just starting to turn a lovely shade of orange. Wait for it… wait…

One would think, with the summer solstice on, historically, June 21, we might be blessed with bright and sunny days. No. Sorry. June Gloom is a thing up and down the West Coast. In San Diego it meant overcast conditions until about 10 am. Here it means drizzle until 11:48 (or so).

It seems logical that the amount of non-drizzle/overcast-ness would be pro-rated from there to here. Probably not.

Anyway, being someone dependent on the weather for work, I have learned to basically ignore forecasts; this despite Trish updating me on the latest from channels 4, 5, and sometimes 13. “Okay, it’s raining now,” I might say, “but…”

Not to get too deep in conspiracies, but TV weather folks do enjoy scaring us; and there has to be some connection with the guy selling the expensive gutters during the segments. Suspicious.

I have been known to take a van-nap during a weather delay. It is my policy on painting exteriors to always paint the areas that are the least protected first, saving the covered areas for the less-than-perfect conditions. For this reason, I love eves. Thirty-six inches; great.

It has been presented to me as a fact, an almost-fact, or near-fact, that the weather gets drier the farther one gets between Quilcene and Port Townsend. So, I’ve been told, at Highway 104, half as much rain, Chimacum halved again, Port Townsend… yeah, I expect it to never rain there.

I have been fooled; expected sunshine, got drizzle. D R I zzzzzzz L E. Really. You never hear that advertised.

People from elsewhere often ask me what time it gets dark on the longest day up in these parts. For comparison, I might say, in San Diego, where I haven’t lived for well over forty years, the sun goes down on the longest day somewhere just after 8pm.

“Well,” I say, “around here it gets dark around 3:30, 4pm. The sun goes down at, like, quarter to ten.”

I could be exaggerating. Check with Cliff.    

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