western washington weather
Last summer I posted a blog entry in which Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler and I went east of the Cascade mountains for an anniversary float trip with Derek Young of Emerging Rivers Guide Services. We left gloomy gray skies behind and headed toward better weather, which I described as the typical “Summer Ream Job” that Western Washington commonly suffers. To quote myself:
As is evident in the photo, the west side of the state is often blanketed by a layer of “marine air” (AKA clouds) while everything east of the Cascades enjoys more typical summer fare (sun, warm temps). It’s pretty obvious that Washington is split down the middle (or rather down a division of approximately 1/3 going to the west and 2/3 to the east). The west side is home to depressing weather and Democrats, while the east has much better weather and Republicans. These are, of course, generalizations and I don’t want to get into a meteorological/political debate here. Let’s just say the state of Washington should be divided into two separate states, and I should move east.
Well, I’m here once again to talk about this weather phenomenon. It probably is of very little or no interest to any of you, but it’s therapeutic to write about it. Our western WA weather, which I have moaned about plenty often in recent months, has been worse than usual this Spring, thanks to La Niña (The Bitch). While technically summer doesn’t begin for two more days, we’re close enough that we should be able to expect a lot better than what we’ve been having.
We recently returned from a weekend trip to the Gorge at George for a Tim McGraw Concert. After the concert we stayed in Moses Lake at the home of Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler’s sister. We awakened to sunny skies on Sunday morning. The wind was blowing, as it so often does in central Washington (thanks to the crappy weather in Western Washington). But it was sunny. It was pleasant. If you were able to keep your car on the road thanks to the strong winds, it was a nice day for a drive.
Allow me to take you along with the Family Unaccomplished on our westward journey into western Washington: land of the Summer Ream Job. Not to worry, while I was the photographer, I was not driving.
June 19th. We left Moses Lake at around noon. This is what it looked like (note the potential high for the day):
Traveling west on I-90. As we crossed the bridge over the Columbia River at Vantage, it looked very much like summer. There were even boats on the river:
Ascending the grade toward Ryegrass, the wind continued to blow, giving ample power to the scores of power-generating windmills that now visually pollute the landscape:
While still under blue skies and strong winds, a pitstop at the Indian John Hill rest stop between Ellensburg and Cle Elum revealed our fate – a thick layer of clouds lingering over the Cascades:
As we proceeded westward we grew nearer to the clouds:
With every click of the odometer, the mileage on “Bessy” (Mrs. UA’s aging Ford Explorer) increased, as did the clouds:
Before long, the blue sky was a thing of the past (the blue you see at the top of this frame is not the sky, but rather the anti-glare tinting along the top edge of the windshield).
As we began the gradual ascent of the east slope of the Cascades, it grew darker:
Skirting the shores of Lake Kacheelus, the headwaters of the mighty Yakima River, we knew there would be no chance of making it home without using the windshield wipers. We pitied the poor fool on a Harley in front of us:
Nearing the summit, the windshield wipers became necessary as a light drizzle began to fall. Again note the blue along the top of the photo, which is NOT blue sky:
We crested the summit, where the low-hanging marine air seemed to say, “Welcome to the Wet Side”. Through the rhythmic dance of the wipers, it looked more like November than June 19th:
Descending the west slope it appeared that we might have navigate by instrumentation:
Another hour later we had dropped into the lowlands and were home. The road was wet. Everything was very lush and green, the results of ample precipitation. I wish I could have said we were all glad to be home as we drove the last 100 yards of our journey:
June 19th. This is what it looked like when we pulled into our driveway. Note the potential high for the day. I am here to tell you that we did not reach it:
So there you have it– a firsthand photo journey of a trip to western Washington. I hope you’ve enjoyed the experience, if for no other reason than to understand my misery. I suppose there are two ways to alleviate the gloomy weather:
- Move east.
- Lead a campaign to knock a couple thousand feet off the Cascades so our marine weather can be allowed to more quickly dissipate as it is shared with the central and eastern parts of the state.
The second option would obviously not be without certain devastating consequences (some but not all of them good for fish). As for option #1, I don’t believe I’m going to talk Mrs. UA into moving anytime soon. I guess I’m left with nothing else to do but continue to complain.
Blah, blah, blah.