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August suddenly turns cool
A man with a bicycle, sneaking off to count salmon runs while his wife expects him home finishing chores. Five children tirelessly exploring a playground. A couple from Canada and a friend from Ireland strolling the Oak Harbor shoreline.
These were the only souls at Windjammer Park on a dreary Wednesday afternoon, due to some unseasonable August weather.
After weeks of toasty, 80-degree highs, and some record-breaking Northwest temperatures, offshore winds conspired against Whidbey residents to remind them of where they really live.
Three weeks ago: “Excessive Heat Watch.”
This week: water-logged again.
Wednesday, daytime temperatures dropped to the low 60s, with scattered showers continuing into Thursday. While showers on North Whidbey were light, KOMO News reported the region easily broke the daily record for rain on Aug. 20 with .7 inches, crushing the old record of .11 inches.
However, the children at Windjammer were less concerned with looming clouds and more interested in scrambling from teeter totter to monkey bars. Their small footprints in the gravel revealed pools of water preserved from the previous night’s shower.
“We’re from Maple Falls,” mother and caretaker, Becci Boersma said. “It was very wet and raining when we left.”
The brief rain break was just enough time for the kids to avoid an extra change of clothes Boersma brought along, just in case. It was warm enough for short sleeves.
When asked what she thought of Oak Harbor’s weather, she responded, “Thank goodness.” The rain fell southward, from Langley to southern Puget Sound.
Canadians Pauline and Joe Devoy had a similar take on the weather, describing it as “fresh and pleasant.” Friend Pat Davis of Ireland, pointed out the similarity between Canadian, Northwestern U.S. and Irish weather systems.
Forecasters are looking pessimistic about another cold front Sunday, but they expect plenty of sunshine today and highs in the 70s. Next week, a cool trough of low pressure will meander around Monday and Tuesday, repeating that “showers and sunbreaks” pattern.
If tradition holds true, warm weather will return Sept. 4: the first day of school in Oak Harbor.
As Pauline Devoy pointed out, the weather is not Whidbey’s main attraction. “This is a lovely place in any weather,” she said, cheerfully.
Rainy and cool is somewhat the default climate here. Fortunately, Whidbey Island lies partially under the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountain Range to the west and usually gets less rain than the mainland.
And it could be worse.
“It’s flooding in Ireland,” Davis said.