Off the Press
August 4, 2009
By Adam Eschbach
All this talk of weather has me hot under the collar
What a year of weather we’ve had so far. Record snow, record rain and now we have record heat.
It’s official; we are obsessed with records no matter how miserable things have to get to reach them. And I understand the obsession completely. If we have nothing to show for it, what’s the point of being inconvenienced with weeks of snow, flooded streets and homes, and now, temperatures that make your blood boil. Is it not enough that glaciers are melting but we have to as well?
But hey, this heat I’m spewing is because I’m a local. I like it here, not just because of the great schools, beautiful scenery and a local economy that’s in better condition than most of the country and has yet to collapse, with the major exception of WAMU, but also because our weather rarely surprises me.There are also the stereotypes. But did you know that Seattle and the surrounding areas get less annual rainfall than New York City and Houston? Sure, we have more overcast days, but that’s better then hurricanes, tornadoes and sticky humidity, right?
Weather is a hot button issue and the media eats it up. We were bombarded with updates and wall-to-wall news coverage of last winter’s snowstorms and floods and now with the record-breaking heat wave. Even I’m upset about the constant coverage, and I am the media! But there is a reason why weather is big news; weather affects everyone. It is one of those rare topics that everyone can relate to.
This heat will be gone quickly and Issaquah will return to the good old 70s temperatures we love so much. We will reminisce about how we remember July 29, 2009, as the hottest day ever, when we hit 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The important thing we can take out of all of this is that we were there. After all, if you give a monkey a banana, he will eat it. The same way as a person with memory of the hottest day will talk and brag about it.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer’s extreme weather here and across the country is influenced by the tropical weather system El Niño, which will affect the rest of this summer and next winter with warmer and eventually wetter conditions. The opposite of El Niño is the cooler system, La Niña. That system influenced last winter’s cooler, wetter conditions.
What I have noticed over the years of living on the Eastside is that when it comes to extreme weather here in the Northwest, the public, including myself, always seems to get caught off guard, whether confronted with a heat wave or snowstorm. It’s a mad dash to get supplies to brave the temperatures as if Walmart had just opened its doors on Black Friday. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.
People live in Issaquah and the surrounding cities because they like the weather. Our summers are beautiful and our winters may be wet and gloomy, but they keep us green. Our weather is the bowl of porridge that’s just right. Not too hot, not too cold. And if you do want those extremes, you can always drive to Eastern Washington or the mountains.
I certainly hope that I don’t see heat like this again. It’s just not constructive or necessary. But you know what they say, records are meant to be broken. Until then, let’s appreciate every nice day we have, because you never know when the next heat wave, snowstorm or flood will hit.
Reach photography intern Adam Eschbach at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this column at www.issaquahpress.com.