Posted by: joha5 | July 8, 2010

Whither the Weather: Surviving the East Coast’s Extremes

It is hotter than the fires of hell here in Washington, D.C. today and it has really got me thinking about how absolutely bizarre the weather has always been in this area of the world that I call ‘home’. 

Today’s weather is a hot and humid 102 degrees fahrenheit.  That is hot.  What’s even more bizarre is that just four months ago there was a total accumulation of more than 3 feet of snow on the ground that would actually linger well into March (April if you count the snow banks that the plows created).  That means – technically – there was still snow on the ground barely more than 90 days ago.  This time last week the temperature was hovering in the high 70’s and there was no humidity and it was picture perfect outside.  What a change a few days can make.

This was barely more than 3 months ago...

Experiencing the weather in D.C. is like dating somebody who just can’t make up their mind at a fancy restaurant: it’s maddening.  One second it’s freezing and there are blizzards and hail storms and temperatures drop to somewhere in the teens and the next second the sun is blazing overhead, animals are dying in the streets because of the heat and there may as well be vultures circling my car as I sit in traffic on the way home.  There never seems to be a happy equilibrium.  Every now and then we get lucky and things turn out beautifully but it never stays that way for more than a day. 

I remember one year in high school at the very start of the year, the entire school had to be shut down for 3 days or something because a hurricane hit us.  A hurricane.  It ended up losing a lot of steam on its way up the eastern seaboard and I don’t recall it being much more than a good old thunderstorm that lasted for about 24 hours.  I can’t think of many climates or cities that can have blizzards, severe heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, or torrential thunderstorms in any given calendar year. 

In some ways I like how the weather here is so unbelievably seasonal.  We get the best – and worst – of all kinds of diverse climates.  I like the snow in the winter, the hot summer sun, the changing of the leaves in autumn, and the new growth in the spring.  I like how each season has its own feel and how it constantly reminds me that change is abounding.  When it comes down to it I just think I really enjoy the variety. 

...and now look what the weather is like in D.C.

Make no mistake.  There are many days – and it probably happens more often than not – when I rue the weather here and I just want to transport myself to southern California or to the beaches of Mykonos.  Living in climates like that must be as close to paradise as you can get without actually being there.  I would never have a problem living my life in a climate like that but I also know that I would grow bored of the same old weather rather quickly.  It’s that strange irony of life where too much of a good thing essentially devalues the object or thing in question into a normal occurence or routine.  I just know at some point in 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, I would walk outside and let out a groan in the 70 degree weather and just wish that a beautiful thunderstorm would pass through or that it would just snow for once.  Then again, if I was born and raised in California and never had the exposure to the this ridiculous east coast weather I imagine that I would have a very hard time trying to fathom what it is the citizens of the east coast actually like about their climate in the first place.

To each their own I suppose.  I guess I am just so used to the changes in seasons, temperatures, and weather patterns that I don’t know if I could really give it up because on days like today when the temperature is 102 degrees outside, I know that change is never too far away from now.  I just wish I could find something enjoyable about this oppressive heat now rather than wishing it all back come next January.

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