Friday, July 20, 2012

College Preparations

Okay, so I know it's been a long time since I've posted, and that's my bad. I've been letting summer go to my head a little bit. Sadly, I've also been getting ready for college. I've taken a few placement tests and bought a bunch of stuff I'll need - including some stuff that is strictly Seattle.

Last time I was in Milwauke, a lot of people asked me about the fish market, meaning Pike's Place Market. Even though I am familiar with the throwing of the fish, I've never heard of it referred to as the fish market before. I was confused for awhile because, trust me, there are a lot of fish markets in Seattle. Another thing I heard from someone in the Midwest was that they could never take the crazy weather in Seattle.

Well, everybody's accustomed to something, and everything else seems crazy.

One thing I will miss very much about Washington is the mountains. Near where I live is a place where you can look east and see Mt. Rainier in all its glory, and then turn west and look across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains. I've always loved the mountains.

But before you think I'll miss the mountains because I won't be able to see them, understand this - I rarely see them. Usually, both Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains are covered with clouds. I won't miss the mountains because of the sights, I'll miss them because of the change in weather. Yes, you read me right. The Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges are what give Seattle its temperate and profitable weather. Because of their positioning to the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound, they create something called the rain shadow effect. It works something like this: clouds gather and gather water out on the Pacific and then get blown toward land. But the Olympics are so high that the clouds usually can't pass, so they dump most of their rain west of the Olympics. (On the Olympic Peninsula, by the way, they don't measure rain in inches, they measure it in feet.) Anyway, now that they're all light and fluffy, they can get over the Olympics. However, once over the Olympics they meet with clouds blown down the Strait of Juan de Fuca or the Strait of Georgia, and they mass with those clouds until they're too heavy to get over the Cascades, which are higher than the Olympics. They sit around for a long time, and it drizzles all over the Western Lowlands until the clouds can get over the Cascades. At that point, there's not much rain left in them, so Eastern Washington is really, really dry.

My point with the lengthy paragraph above is that we don't get a lot of heavy rainstorms in Seattle. Granted, it doesn't stop drizzling from October to June, but the temperature is kept pretty moderate and there aren't too many severe storms. The Western Lowlands are unique like that.