“Real” Rain

By , June 30, 2018

A recent local news story shocked us: a weather expert told us that we are experiencing a drought.

Drought in a temperate rain forest doesn’t look like drought elsewhere. We haven’t had weeks or months of pounding heat or relentless sunshine. Generally, our weather has been colder and wetter than normal. April through June comprise our dry season; it’s easy to focus on them, and decide the year hasn’t been very dry, but in fact, it has. That has us concerned.

rainy day

A welcome rainy day. The rhubarb is especially pleased (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The garden should be getting an inch of rain daily at the moment. We can barely keep it watered. Usually, by now, we’ve switched to the summer water source, but we held off (see Fresh Water: Collecting and Conserving a Precious Resource). Now, there’s no new water coming into the summer water, nor can we hear anything coming into the winter tank.

So, Friday’s rain, gentle though it may be, was very welcome!

It’s not the first rain felt in the region lately. The forecast has often predicted rain showers; we’ve gotten brief sprinkles on many days. Aly reports actual rain squalls , some rather drenching, on her guided kayak trips on Chilkoot Lake. Here in the “banana belt,” though, we’re hand watering the garden.

The current rain will have to get pretty heavy to do much for our water system or garden. Any accumulation will likely soak into the ground for days before it accumulates anywhere. It’s rain, but it may not be a “real” rain. Likely, we won’t see any progress until the monsoon season of August. Hopefully, our water tanks will last through that. We’ve run out of water here before, and it’s no fun at all.

rain gauge

It’s not quite a quarter inch yet, but it’s a start (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We’ve seen worse here. I recall that on our first summer visits to the homestead back in 2004 and 2005, the dry, sphagnum moss-covered forest floor crunched and crackled under our feet. We’re not that far gone yet, and I don’t recall any talk of drought back then.

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