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Sometimes You Do Have to Shovel Rain


July 06, 2012

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska
- So our climatically-challenged cousins in Juneau are crying because they had 6.69 inches of rain in June. It was the wettest June on record in the Capital City.
jpg Dave Kiffer

Waa, waa, waa.

In Ketchikan we had 9.85 inches of rain in June making it something like the 379th wettest June on record.

Waa, waa, waaaaaaaaaaa.

For the record, the wettest Ketchikan June was in 1984 when 14.32 inches was recorded.

We’ll have to really go for the precipatory (rhymes with purgatory) gusto if we want to set an all-time record for July. Some 28.36 inches was recorded in 1914, although if you ask me someone probably drizzled a beer or two into the rain gauge that year because 28 inches sounds a wee bit high! Even for Ketchikan.

 After all, last year’s delugiously  downsodden Julytember was only a hair under 12 inches. It’s hard to imagine that if 28 inches really fell in July of 1914, there was anyone still left in town by August  1. We would now be having this conversation in a locale that had a little less liquid sunshine to deal with. Which if course is just about anywhere else on earth that is not a mountain on Kauai or a village in the path of an Indian monsoon.

Speaking of Augustober, it gets even worse with 33.9 inches being recorded in 1912. Once again, you wonder if it was some inadvertent metric misconversion.

Still it does get wet here. If you don’t believe me, ask the visitors. I had another one ask me the other day if ever stopped.

I resisted the urge to tell her that I don’t know because I’m only 53, I’ve used that one too many times before.

So I just smiled and shrugged. It is a rainforest after all. Just one without the pretty birds and 20-foot-long snakes to make it interesting.

Anyway, I was looking at another one of those “climate change” predictors on-line the other day. The current dreary weather is not fun enough so I have to see what I have to look forward to in 2050 when I am 91. Sure enough, it just gets worse for every living, waterbreathing soul between Nanaimo and Valdez.

And it comes as no surprise that it has been getting drearier here since the mid 1990s. I don’t care what the scientists say or what the naysayers say. The climate has been “changing” in Southern Southeast, I can feel it (literally) in my aching, rainsoaked bones.

Already this “summer” we have had several days in which the high temp was so low, those days technically qualified as the coldest on record for their respective dates. And of course they were accompanied by that everpopular Juneuary slushy rain. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite slushy but it was close enough to be labeled as an atmospherically chilled cocktail by the FDA (Food and Dreadful Weather Administration).

More than once I found myself doing that one thing that locals point out when we gruff about the weather and imply it could be worse: At least we don’t have to shovel the rain.

Au Contraire, Mon Frères!

If you have a son or daughter who wants to play an outdoor sport in Ketchikan in June and July, you do indeed have to shovel rain on most of the fields most of the time. Because you will be desperate enough to get a game in that you will have to dig 25 percent life-size Yukon River deltas in the field and begin swinging shovels like brooms in an unsuccessful effort to “shovel” enough water off the field in order to get a game in.

Of course, it is pointless because the rain comes down faster than you expel  it and what doesn’t come from the sky seems to percolate up from the oversoaked ground as if in tribute to deluges of the past. When you start digging the trenches, you expect lovesick humpies and cohos to start splashing up from some underground anadromous stream straight out of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

I recently read that a scientific “survey” found that Alaska has more “wetlands” than the rest of the country put together. Well, duh.  

And yet the US Army Corps of Engineers is concerned that without remediation regulations we will run “out” of wetlands, so every time we build something we have to “replace” the wetlands we have disturbed. Perhaps we should all just grow gills and declare ourselves an endangered sub species of Rainforest Sapiens. Then we could petition the government to protect us because this relentless rainfall is killing us!

It would give the EPA a chance to sue Mother Nature to bring her into compliance Federal Law. I would pay money to see those court arguments!

Wow, that was such a long digression, I completely forgot what the point of this column even was!

Kind of like how you know you have had a great vacation because when you come back you can’t even remember where you work, let alone what the danged office computer passwords are.

Oh yeah, it’s been a little drizzly these days in Town Wetbegone, the little community where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above the mean high water line.

Just barely.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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