Editorial: A January to remember

It should not go unnoticed that the Puget Sound region, including Whidbey Island, just experienced its warmest January on record, with average temps ranging from 47 to 49, from SeaTac to Bellingham.

One’s mind immediately turns to how to market this phenomenon. Certainly, 47 degrees isn’t toasty, but compared to most of the rest of the nation, it’s downright balmy.

Perhaps Oak Harbor’s city logo should be expanded to include the palm tree standing incongruously next to the Acorn Motel. It’s the stateliest palm tree in the city, and would be an apt symbol for our community in the age of global warming. Garry oaks are great history, but let’s face it, the palm tree is our future.

January is usually the dreariest month for tourism, but it doesn’t have to be that way. An ad campaign could show golfers in windbreakers on a green course, and compare that to the snow-covered courses in Nebraska and Virginia. “Beat the freeze on Whidbey Island” is just one of many possible slogans. We should lure people here with the things they don’t have to put up with when the temperature is a comparatively cozy 47: No chaining up the tires, no shoveling out the driveway, no freezing to death if your car breaks down along the freeway; no risking your life in the ice when venturing out to shop.

Whidbey Island should emphasize its mellow weather, not too hot and not too cold. A lot of people travel south for the winter, but many others don’t like hot weather and all the negatives it entails: Bugs, sweat, short tempers and the ever-present smell of sunscreen in the air, for example.

We’re just about right in the winter, not too cold and not too hot. For locals, it’s been a fine January in which nobody froze, the power supply was never uninterrupted and no cars slid into the ditch due to icy conditions. The only loser is probably Puget Sound Energy, which probably fell short of its revenue forecast for the month. But tears are seldom shed for the local power company.

Forty-seven degrees and a light rain: It’s heavenly for those who love the Northwest. Now all we have to do is convince potential visitors how good we have it here.

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