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Archives: Port Townsend

It’s Steampunk Weekend in Port Townsend!

Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (ch...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The streets are chock full of bustles and parasols, top hats and sundry items of woven brocade. The handlebar mustaches are a dead giveaway for those fully committed to the lifestyle. By all evidence, there was a lot of declaiming in fantasy Victorian times. An inordinate number of people are stopping at random intersections and offering seemingly important declarations in loud voices. There is a lot of brass.

The Mountains Are Out


My parents were loyal, if distracted, watchers of the ten-o’clock news, but you could make as much noise as you wanted until the weather came on.  At which point, a cone of silence descended on the house, with execution the preferred method of dispatching  those who dared obscured Diane White’s gentle prognostications.

For the record, my parents were not farmers, over-the-road truckers or employed in the vacation industry.  i.e., our fortunes didn’t rise or fall on whether or not it rained on how much fresh powder to expect on the weekend.

Yes, we did live in tornado alley, but like windfalls of cash, violent storms happened rarely; most days the weather was…ordinary, seasonal.  Hot in the summer, cold in the winter, temperate in between.  (This was the Midwest—Birthplace of the Four Seasons.)

And, yes, Diane White was part of the draw.  A pretty black face on television every night, long before this was anywhere nearly remotely routine, Diane was confident, poised and did a really world-class job of pointing at those temperatures and cold fronts.  But, Edna and Paul Haynes proved fickle when it came to their weather hosts.  Clowns, ham actors, painfully shy meteorologists: they watched them all.  It’s the weather that obsessed them.

Consequently, I know a lot more about climatology than a person reasonably ought to.  I know what those high wispy clouds tend to indicate, and I can offer you a credible explanation of why tornadoes have a bead on North Texas and Oklahoma.

It might also explain why I’m a big fan of microclimates—those odd little places that for a variety of reasons defy the regional expectations of what the weather is like ‘round there.   Which brings us to Port Townsend, which sits in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, and therefore tends to be somewhat drier and somewhat warmer than Seattle and Vancouver.  Which also has something to do with the mystery of the mountains that flank the town on two sides, and that are sometimes visible and sometimes just… gone.

Weather-wise, when the mountains are out, the weather is glorious.  Today’s photo: the Cascades, across the Admiralty Inlet.


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