As our cool, wet Northwest winter has dragged on into May, we have remained patient, we have remained stoic, we have remained resilient because we know what is coming — the big climatological payoff for living here: Northwest summer.
The stretch from early July far into September brings weather to the upper end of the West Coast that is Southern California perfect. Actually, it is better than SoCal, because rather than having a parched countryside, our region stays lush and green, the lakes and Puget Sound sparkle and the mountains shimmer.
No place can top summer in Seattle. That is why Thursday’s headline in The Seattle Times was so disturbing: “April rains not enough to overcome drought, fire risks.“
The story detailed how, despite the recent wet weather on this side of the Cascades, Eastern Washington remains entrenched in drought that ranges from “abnormally dry” to “extreme.” And the land’s severe thirst stretches far beyond the Columbia Basin. Other than a few isolated corners, all of the American West is suffering from climate change-induced drought.
That means another summer of wildfires. And that means smoke. And that means there’s a good chance of that perfect August weather in Western Washington being smothered in an acrid cover of smoke blowing in from fires to the north, the east and the south.
After all that we have weathered these past months, we deserve our perfect summer, but, as our experience in recent years has shown, it is, sadly, no longer guaranteed.
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