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Vista Point: Dry or wet, make peace with the changing season

As Del Norte pivots from the dry season to the wet, it’s good to stop for a moment, take a breath and consider the auspicious nature of right now.

Right now our faces are wet and our backs are still dry as we advance into the long stretch of the year when dry days are as scant as sunny days in summer.

In Crescent City, the past summer was generally a little drier and a little cooler than normal. June was the only month to have even as much as a week’s worth of clear days (nine — July had only three). 

It certainly felt cloudier than normal, but excursions to the river were an excellent remedy for the gray. Hot times were had, and now they’re sweet memories stored away like fruit canned in syrup for winter. 


The rain season arrived with a bang last week: a thunderstorm that wasn’t in the forecast prowled westward across the county and shook our redwood walls with raucous thunder. 

But the rain was light, tentatively making its first foray into fall, as was that of a couple more typical east-traveling storms later last week. The fall teaser climaxes early this week with more intense rain and then the weather rolls back onto October’s drier side, summer’s afterglow, according the National Weather Service. 

This early burst of rain may be enough to bring out the first erumpent fall flush of mushrooms, but the fire risk will be high again by the end of the week, NWS says, when the warm inland mountains exhale a few warm, dry final gasps of summer breath toward the sea.

This, then, is the moment we’re in.

Del Norte finds itself straddling the moist and dry sides of the year with a mix of parting sorrow and eagerness for something novel, even if it’s just that old, familiar sound of walls and ceilings humming from endless hours of rainfall’s deep massage. It’s easy to be seduced by the early rain.

The pitch and tempo of its music remains to be seen, but news from the south offers a dissatisfyingly low-confidence prediction: a troublesome patch of water in the equatorial Pacific is at it again, running a tad hot and thereby upsetting the whole balance of global weather with an “El Niño” pattern wreaking floods and droughts elsewhere, but here it will only translate into a slightly drier-than-normal autumn-winter overall, according to NWS. 

My but those federals try, credit where it’s due, with millions of taxpayer dollars producing a forecast clear as the average coastal morning:

“Based on these forecast tools, it is possible that an El Niño event of weak amplitude will occur later this fall and into late winter.”

“It might be a little drier,” is as good as saying “not much different,” which is roughly equivalent to “could be anything.”

This strikes me as government license to presume nothing and do as you please, which is pretty much what we — and the weather — would have done anyway. 

Take the season as it comes.

Lay up in store more than canned summer bounty and firewood.

Make some plans for how you’ll keep the cabin fever away. For one, buy a good rain suit and ignore the weather. Unless you plan to grow webbed feet, don’t forget your rubbers. 

Warm socks and soft gloves to keep the damp cold out of your bones are not a romantic faux pas in bed this time of year. Or just try more blankets. 

Make peace with the familiar rain and snuggle up to your old friend as it pounds away and the world grows so wet we can hardly bear it.

Reach assistant editor Matthew C. Durkee at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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