Even though we’ve had a drier, hotter summer than many in recent years, July seems to be conforming to the normal weather pattern for this region. As we approach Independence Day, the weather turns cooler and wetter. Steady rain fell last night, this morning it’s driven by 35 knot (40+ m.p.h.) southerly winds. The forecast tells us there have been or will be gusts to 50 knots (57+m.p.h.). The forecast for Independence Day offers the possibility of a better day. Almost every year, the forecast on the 4th predicts at least some rain. Almost every year, we end up with a cloudy morning that gives way to a muggy, sunny afternoon. Celebrants inevitably drag around extra coats and other layers of clothing that become uncomfortable as the day progresses.
I’ve allowed this trend to think of April and May as our driest months, with June able and willing to go either way. The “summer rains” begin in July and increase into autumn and winter.
Or, do they?
I recently looked at a chart of our average precipitation. The publication didn’t site their source, but I assume it is correct.
Surprisingly, the records indicate a different picture of our spring and summer weather. According to these figures, July is the driest month on average in Haines. May generally sees 1.48 average inches of rain. June receives 1.49. July receives 1.44. The “summer rains” actually begin in August, which jumps up to 2.44 average inches of rain.
I can see, though, why my perception would differ from the actual figures. The 4th of July is really the only celebrated event in the U.S. during that month. It relies on clear weather for most of its events. We watch the weather leading up to it, and, as it comes at the beginning of July, we mark the weather at the end of June, and chalk it up against the 4th of July (see Worry Free Weather Watching). If we get a wet Independence Day, the rest of the month would have to be completely dry and sunny to make up for that in our minds. We’re human, after all.
We haven’t formulated our 4th of July plan yet. If you read the blog post linked in the paragraph above, you see that in 2013 we survived without a celebration. Last year, we went to Wrangell for the holiday (see “Old Homes Week”). My old hometown throws an Independence Day party that rivals even Haines’s celebration (see Human Hamster Balls). To be fair, Wrangell’s weather matched the usual Haines pattern. We got drenched, but we had a great time.
The real issue isn’t the weather or the events, it’s me. I’m contemplating my first trip to town in a couple of weeks, debating whether to go on a quiet, normal day, or save it for a celebration day. I’m in full on hermit mode these days, when the prospect of getting out in a crowd, even in a town of 2,500 seems daunting. Rain or shine, one could argue that either day, I’m all wet.