Your weatherperson recently received a lime sherbet-colored envelope, which means two things: one, November weather will soon be upon us; and two, we will shortly be delivered from the incessant noise and visual pollution emanating from a certain local sheriff’s race that has been only slightly less annoying than a home invasion by a horde of brown marmorated stink bugs, and about as compelling as a rebroadcast of the 1999 six-day bicycle race from Perth Amboy, N.J. Your fed-up forecaster has chosen to write in Ed Grimley, who seems exactly the right guy for the job, I must say.
Our newborn fall season received an almost immediate baptism last week as more than four-tenths of an inch of rain fell at the Walla Walla Airport from a vigorous Pacific cold front and low pressure system that passed across the state. Vintners and vineyard managers (along with a few local meteorologists) were surprised by the unexpectedly robust nature of the rain event and a bit alarmed that it might lead to rot and mold issues in their grapes. But the moisture that fell on the fruit did not persist long enough to cause anything other than a minor inconvenience for most.
About the only thing we can say this week with any certainty regarding the heavens is that autumn officially arrived here yesterday at 7:29 p.m. with its customary 12/12 split of daylight and darkness hours. With our daily existence rife with confusion, chaos, discord and general disregard (and that’s just the NFL — the current world scene is not terribly rosy either), it is comforting to know there are still a few constants upon which we can rely. And the regular change of seasons reminds us things have not yet spun totally out of control.
A taste of fall came to the Walla Walla Valley last week as a cold front brought a couple of very chilly nights to the area — even threatening frost in a few notably colder spots. The unusual cold caused some brief concerns on the part of local grape growers who feared an untimely frost would kill the leaves on their vines. This would bring an abrupt end to the pre-harvest ripening process, which relies on carbohydrates the leaves produce through photosynthesis to bring the fruit to acceptable sugar levels.
Many who viewed the absence of last week’s column with the hope it marked something of a permanent nature will be sorely disappointed to see your faithful weatherperson is still on the job. An all-too-short vacation in North Carolina’s spectacular Outer Banks has recharged his once-flagging batteries. He returns to you with renewed spirit and a few extra pounds courtesy of multiple helpings of crabcakes, fried shrimp, grouper, tilefish and flounder from the bountiful waters of the Atlantic and its numerous estuaries.
Your wayfaring weatherperson writes this from Rodanthe, N.C., at the very eastern edge of our U.S. of A. A few days of R&R here prior to returning to Walla Walla for the annual madness known as the grape crush will help considerably with his frame of mind as the next two months of harvest reveal the much-anticipated story of vintage 2014.
First off, your slightly peeved prognosticator would like to dispel the ugly rumor that has lately been circulating, claiming his weekly weather column is actually penned by four former Notre Dame footballers with a strong penchant for writing that has not been satisfied in the course of their college careers.
Weather-weary Walla Wallans are wondering many things as of late: Will the Wilbur Avenue work be completed before most of us cast off this worldly shell? Will WSU’s gridiron warriors wilt in their much-awaited (by a few) “war of the weak” season opener against Rutgers? And, most importantly, when will this wretched and withering heat give way to something more welcome weatherwise?
Your roaming reporter has fled to the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe in order to find some slight surcease from the Walla Walla Valley’s unrelenting heat that threatens to boil the brains of its now thoroughly sun-baked citizens.
It was a week marked by blustery storms, damaging stones and crackling electricity in the Walla Walla Valley — and then there was the weather.