Extremes

Like any good Canadian, I am going to talk about the weather. Not in the climate change / big picture kinda way, although every sane person knows that it is a thing and most certainly not fake news. This is especially relevant with the horrible storms that are destroying lives in the southern US and Caribbean, but we’ll save that for another day.

Up until six years ago, I had lived my entire life in Ottawa. Every year, the summer was hot and humid, the fall somewhere between gloriously sunny and abysmally rainy, the winter cold cold cold and snowy, and the spring nonexistent. I was pretty tolerant of it having never known anything different. Then we moved to India. While the vast majority of India can be very hot and humid in the summers and actually quite cool in the winters, Bangalore, for the year we were there, was perfect every day. It was sunny and warm but also very dry, and the monsoon missed us in 2012 so it actually only rained five times when we were there. The hottest days were hot but they only lasted for about two weeks. We were spoiled, and coming back to Canada was a big adjustment.

Our first year in California has been marked by extremes. Before we moved, Willy told me that it never rains in California, and that the summers are hot, but not too hot. He lied, and I delighted in calling him out on it. This past winter was the rainiest year in forever for California. It rained every day for 10 weeks, wiping out seven years of drought. It was also colder than expected. We had frost on multiple mornings, even though I’ve been told that it might only happened one or two days in the winter. Everyone that I met told me “oh, it’s never like this.”

When the rains ended in early April, California came to life. The wildflowers were amazing, and everything that had been brown became green. It was quite beautiful, but only lasted for about three weeks. Apparently three weeks of hot sunny weather with no rain is all it takes for everything it was green to become brown again.

It hasn’t really rained here since April, and everything shows it. The relentless heat has certainly been a factor. Where we live in South San Jose the high temperature has been at least 35°C since the beginning of June. There was a week before we went to Canada where the temperature hovered around 45° for three or four days. People keep telling me that it is never this hot for this long, but the summers are usually warm but not like this. This whole summer has made me glad that we ended up at the house with a pool, despite the fact that the water right now is almost too hot for swimming.

This past week has been the most extreme yet. Temperatures all over the Bay area have been setting records. The city of San Francisco record of the hottest high temperature ever on Friday. Life in our little valley was uncomfortable and gross. The temperature peaked at 48°C on Saturday, which with something I never thought I’d see. In fact I told the kids that the weather they experienced in June was the hottest they would ever feel. As they delighted in pointing out I was wrong. I guess the California weather has made a liar out of me too.

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