From BORROWING ALEX, which is set in Seattle and fictional Lake Eden on the Olympic Peninsula and which I’m currently editing and updating for re-issue:
“‘Hardly Noah’s-Ark stuff, Alex.’”
My heroine, Nikki, says this when her, um, companion (at this point in the novel) mentions the rain.
Nikki had been born and bred in damp Seattle. Normally she could handle a little torrential downpour.
I’ve always liked this line, but, being Canadian, haven’t experienced it to the extent that someone in Washington state or Oregon might. Or someone in Vancouver, where I have lived before. Or Victoria, where I have lived as well. However, nothing matches what I call the “shower curtains of rain” that fell one night as my family was driving through Oregon years ago.
My area is experiencing a little torrential downpour right now, though not to the extent that was predicted. But it’s enough to really affect us, to make us go running for the gutters to ensure they aren’t clogged and everything is draining properly. Once or twice a spring, we’ll get a huge downpour where it feels like an entire week’s worth of rain is arriving within an hour. This current deluge was predicted by Environment Canada as a severe storm warning, but we haven’t, in my area, had the thunder and lightning and hailstorms that might have hit other areas. So we are pretty lucky. We like to say, we don’t tan, we rust, because it’s either raining or it’s roasting hot. The temperate, pleasant temperatures…that’s what September is for.
As I’m typing, the wind is picking up, which reminds me of being at the NINC conference in October, in White Plains, New York, right before Hurricane Sandy hit. My plane was one of the last leaving the White Plains airport. At the time, I didn’t realize how lucky I was…because Hurricane Sandy was, as we now realize, a total disaster. Earlier this week, Hurricane Sandy was featured on The Bachelorette. Yes, I watch. Don’t judge! I met my husband at 18 and didn’t do a lot of dating, so watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is research for my characters. Yes, it is!
Seeing the devastation that still exists as a result of Hurricane Sandy again made me realize how lucky I was to get out in time. And how lucky I am not to live in an area that experiences a lot of severe weather. We have forest fires every summer in B.C., but while there is damage that obviously will exist for decades (it takes a long time to rebuild a forest), we usually do not experience the lengths of devastation and the loss of life and a huge number of lost homes. Every once in a while the number of homes lost is truly devastating, but because most forest fires are created by human stupidity (throwing a cigarette out a car window, not putting out a campfire correctly, or lighting a fire during the height of fire season when you’re not supposed to and then wondering why it jumps all over the nearest neighborhood, picking houses at random to burn to the ground), it somehow doesn’t seem the same as Mother Nature creating the havoc totally on her own.
I would rather live in an area that has forest fires than an area that gets tornadoes or hurricanes. But maybe that’s just because forest fires are the norm here. Tornadoes and hurricanes are not, so they seem a lot scarier to me.
What form of severe weather is common in your neck of the woods? Have you or someone you know been personally affected?
When something goes wrong in my life, I always think, “It could be worse.” And right now, as the wind blows and the rain pours down, yes, it could be worse. A lot worse. It could really be a monstrous torrential downpour.