Olympic Rain Shadow

We explored North Washington yesterday and had a great time! We educated ourselves on the Olympic rain shadow. Our family has a thirst for knowledge and here’s some really fascinating information on the subject.



the climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.
The climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.

The Climate in the area

source: http://www.olympicrainshadow.com/olympicrainshadowmap.html

Spring arrives early and lasts long. We notice distinct changes in the month of February; usually we mow the lawn twice during this month, and there are significant stretches of clear weather. By the arrival of months more typically associated with spring, say April, mornings are often in the 40’s and clear, and afternoons can easily be in the mid 50’s. Sunny stretches and beautiful, partly sunny days are common, with stormy periods frequent, but usually brief, a day or two at a time. Overcast, gray weather is possible, but not common.

By early summer, for example Memorial day, the length of the day, and increased sunshine have often already started to dry out the lawns, but other vegetation is growing in full force. Often we are surprised by a cold and windy storm in late May to late June, dropping new snow on the crest of the Olympics.

High summer, which includes July, August, and September, rarely have precipitation at all. There is allot of sun during this period, but it is not hot. High temperatures average in the 70’s with some days in 60’s and some in the 80’s. Evenings and nights are cool, with temperatures in the 50’s. The maritime location has a major influence during this period. The first effect is wind. Afternoon wind is quite common, and over the offshore waters of eastern strait it is often very strong. The next maritime influence is occasional AM fog, or late AM clouds. The days seem to come in three varieties: clear all day; clear sunrise with some clouds late morning followed by sun; and maritime fog till mid morning, then clear onward.

Fall is a relatively brief transitional period in October and part of November, with variable weather. Usually there will be a brief cold storm in early to mid October, which delivers the first blanket of snow to the higher Olympic mountains, followed by a clear night or two with temperatures close to freezing.

Winter includes late November, December, and January in rain shadow areas. The sun is lower in the horizon, and storms are common, but periods of sunshine are common too.  There are frequent crisp clear periods following the storms, and sometimes sunny periods during extended periods of high pressure in January. Storms can be very strong and windy in this period. There can also be periods of gray weather which can go on for multiple days at this time of year. This seems to happen during times with multiple weaker storms with less defined fronts. Snow and cold periods also arrive, more frequently than in the greater Seattle area, perhaps once or twice a year. But as most areas are right at sea level, the sun or a warmer storm usually melts things off in a day or so.


We explored 3 of the 7 region that is in the rain shadow.


9-3 Port Townsend (14)

9-3 Port Townsend (15)

9-3 Port Townsend (16)



9-3 Port Townsend
My good friend Taz used to live in the city and gave me her old address. The curious monkey in me had us driving into the street and taking pictures of the neighborhood.
9-3 Port Townsend (18)
We pretended we were guests. It was nice to see where my friend lived.



9-3 Port Townsend (7)
A few miles down the road, we stretched our legs and found a park via tripadvisor.
9-3 Port Townsend (4)
Chetzemonka Park overlooking Strait of Juan de Fuca. Approx 1 hr ferry-away from Victoria Canada.


9-3 Port Townsend (6)
The park had bench swings that made Owen want to take a nap.

9-3 Port Townsend (9)

9-3 Port Townsend (3)
This cabin was used for community events.
9-3 Port Townsend (10)
Along the edge of the park we spotted locals going down a trail. We chased after them and found this secluded beach where only locals knew about. Score! Yes, that’s Richard having quiet time.


Second stop: SEQUIM

We didn’t spend a lot of time here except for a quick lunch. We took notice of the weather. It’s very much like California. The sun was so strong that it was burning my ear. It was a lot warmer here.

9-3 Port Townsend (12)
I was fascinated by the traffic lights.


Third stop: PORT ANGELES

We decided to walk around town for an hour. We found an 80 yr-old stationery store, my favorite place in the world besides Target. It had art supplies, books, craft  and scrapbook items.


 Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

A seahorse.
A seahorse. Street art scattered the town.
From 5RR
I learned that the bookstore owners had been in business since the 1980s. They talked about going through the technology-changes and the need to adapt to keep up.


What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.
What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.