Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Il pluet

If this is January in the Pacific Northwest, it is raining. And the forecast is for more. This is great for the aquifer and for water storage lakes and dams.  Wonderful for the ducks and beavers.  We people just grab an umbrella and a Gore-tex jacket and go about our daily business.
I say the Pacific Northwest, but really it is just the area west of the Cascade Mountains.  East of the Cascades is High Desert Country.  The Cascades block much of the rain, leaving Central and Eastern Oregon dry with more sunny days.
Here in the Willamette Valley we have a 'mediteranean climate'.  Little to no rain May through October and it pours November through April.  (Nov to Apr is the best time for wind-surfing in La Ventana, BCS, Mexico)
The climate here is mild (USDA zone 8, Sunset climate zone 6) with few really hot days over 100 degrees and fewer days below freezing.  While it rains and/or is really cloudy, it rarely snows on the valley floor.  Here in the local, western mid-valley school district; we can have less than six inches on the ground at our house but school will be canceled.  That's because we live up against the foothills of the Coast Range, where it really snows.  Example, there is a hill at the southern end of our street about 1/4 mile away.  One of my daughters friends lived on that hill.  She called to ask Selene to go sledding with her.  I was concerned, we had less than six inches here.  Her mom laughed, "Just put that little Bronco in 4 wheel drive and get up here!"  They had three feet of snow!   So 1/4 mile away and 600 ft in elevation made a big difference!

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