The fall cometh.

It was inevitable, and not a moment too soon: The seasons are starting to change here in the Northwest. After what felt like a lifetime of 90+ degree days (we broke the record, which is like 35 or so in a year) and hazy, smoky skies, the weather has shifted, and for the better. And we’ve seen the first significant rain for a long, long time.

If you are not from the Northwest (or haven’t spent time here), you may think that it “rains here all the time”. That isn’t exactly true. Yes, our late falls to early springs are reliably damp, but it’s more light rain than heavy. And whenever the faucet turns off, anywhere between mid June to early July, we have a long dry spell, where rain is rarer than a Portland native. This summer was bone dry: July saw a whopping 0.02 inches, and August was slightly wetter, at 0.06. That amount means we saw some drizzle.

But this week has been different, with highs only in the 60’s and some honest-to-goodness rain. Record breaking rain, in fact. We rarely get thunderstorms and downpours here, but Tuesday and Wednesday saw just that. On Wednesday we managed to get three quarters of an inch of rain, and that was all within the span of a couple hours during two thunderstorms. I had the misfortune of being outside during one of these cells, but did have the fortune of being in the Pearl District with its numerous awnings and covered spots. So I had cover while I watched the downpour.

Street flooding occurred all over town, as our storm drains are designed for our usually moderate rain, not deluges. (Plus, no real rain for a couple months means the storm drains get clogged with debris.) I almost rode into a flooded zone at night on SE Ankeny at Laurelhurst Park, where there was a good couple feet of standing water over the roadway. Days later the floods are gone, but we have some lingering puddles, which I haven’t seen in eons.

The rain will end, though, since it’s just September. Come Monday it looks like we are in for a good bit of nice September weather, sunny and 70’s. Perfect. But this first taste of autumn has got me and pretty much everyone else thinking about the coming season. After all the hot, dry, smoky weather this summer I am looking forward to it!

But there will still be some nice weather too. I’m still aiming to do an overnight backpacking trip, and want to get one more small tour (three to four days) done before the end of October. I don’t have any concrete plans yet, but with my lessened work schedule (two to three shifts a week at the hostel), it means I have the luxury of figuring out things a couple days in advance, if the weather is suitable. And I’m really happy about that!

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