The main reason why I left WWU

This blog-post by Cliff Mass describes why. The opening paragraph:
We look to the heavens and ask: Why do we suffer? Why is the warmth of summer denied us?

Is this a great test of a stormy Satan? If we accept the coolness and clouds without complaint, will the warmth of a true summer be restored, as Job was restored when he accepted God's will without complaint?
By all reports it has been a bad summer so far. Summer in Bellingham generally didn't start until a few days in July anyway, but this year it is now weeks late. It was an event similar to that one which caused me to decide that perhaps I should live somewhere else.

In a good year, we'd get 8 solid weeks of summer and a beautiful slide in to Autumn until the storms hit.

In a bad year it would be 6 interrupted weeks of summer and the storms would start pretty early in September.

You'd think that 2 weeks wouldn't make much of a difference, but it does. 8 weeks was barely enough summer for me. When summer was a week late a couple years ago, it was hard. Last summer had a two week cold spell in the middle and ended early. This summer I had my first full day over 70 degrees in April, I was smiling all day.

Most people who leave the Pacific Northwest due to weather do so because of January, when we see the sun in short breaks every several days, if that often. That didn't bother me, I'm used to Winter being dreary. October through December is usually very stormy with lots of wind and rain; again, didn't bother me. The October right before we moved up, October 2003, was particularly wet in our neck of the woods when they had something like 20+ days of precipitation with its predictable effects on rivers (flooding) and slopes (landslides). Thanksgiving was usually pretty good for bad weather. Not a problem.

But having the 4th of July be a day that stays in the 60's more often than it's in the 70's? To someone who grew up in an area where the 4th of July has been preceded by a full month of 70+ weather and the swelter of July just around the corner, that sounds mighty fine. But when June was 60-degrees and partly to mostly cloudy the entire month, having July start out the same way takes its toll.

I was somewhat concerned when our house didn't have air-conditioning of any kind. However, as I learned in person we didn't really need it. Even in the worst summer we had (heat-wise, not cold-wise), we only needed it like 9 days that year. While that made for some uncomfortable nights, it wasn't enough to spring for a heat-pump.

When I took the WWU job I knew about Winter. I thought it might be a problem, but as I started in Winter it ended up not being much of one. Which is good. No one told me about Juneuary though.

Tomorrow I get to see about 102F (39C) degree weather with a heat index around 113F (45C). Part of me is cheerful about that, but I'm pretty certain that's just the lingering trauma talking ;).


That reminds me of a joke we tell about a small village called Grand Marais, MN. It's a very nice place, but because it's north enough to be near Canada, and because it's right on Lake Superior, which tends to warm up to not much more than 50deg in summer, the summers tend to be short and cool.

"What do you do in Grand Marais in the summer?"

"If it falls on a weekend, we have a picnic."

BTW - we had 88deg dew point in the NW corner of Minn on Tuesday, with a heat index of 134deg. Heading your way. ;-)