15 July 2011
It’s been an unusual season. Spring arrived very late, and the summer has been kind of sketchy! We’ve had the odd day in the 30’s (Celsius), but mostly it’s been in the low to mid 20s, and often down to 11 or 12 at night. On the other hand, we’ve been spared the floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, and wild weather that so many places have been suffering from, which is a blessing. We really have nothing to complain about.
Mid 20s weather is actually quite pleasant, with a mix of sun and cloud, and – something I enjoy greatly – fairly frequent thunderstorms! Fortunately, they are usually accompanied by good downpours, so we haven’t had the wildfire problems of many previous years. A nice side effect of the thunderstorms is amazing skyscapes. And that is today’s theme.
As you look at the pictures, imagine yourself sitting curled in a comfy lawn chair in my pleasant little gazebo, watching, with awe, the clouds and lightning, and listening to the rolling thunder, and then to the rain as it splatters onto the fabric roof of the gazebo. Rain droplets hit the ground around the gazebo and bounce up, the wind catching them and swirling them under the covering, gently splattering your face with their coolness.
What a beautiful gift from the Creator!
(I’m trying something different – posting the photos as a slideshow. What do you think?)
July 7, 2011
Finally, summer. The sky was clear blue with tiny of white clouds. Heat waves shimmered on the pavement. Neighbour children flopped on lawn chairs in the shade, too hot to enjoy the start of their vacation from school.
The mercury in the thermometer edged up, up, up, into the high 30s C. Residents turned on the AC for the first time this year, following an unusually long, cool, damp spring. Those without AC huddled next to fans, or escaped to the beach where still chilly waters greeted them. Toes dipped in, then drew back quickly as goose bumps popped up. Too cold to swim, too warm to do anything else.
We’d been waiting for summer heat for so long – and today it arrived so suddenly that folks actually groaned and moaned. The weather deities must have been listening in, for suddenly wind whipped up and black clouds blew in across the sky. Trees waved madly. Waves crashed onto the shoreline. Within minutes brilliant flashes of lightning broke the strange mid-afternoon darkness, followed by great crashes of thunder. Rain poured down, soaking the dry earth.
And then it was over. Fluffy white clouds and blue sky began to tentatively break through the dark greyness overhead. Neatly tended gardens and yards now looked like they’d been hit by a freak snowstorm, as tree blossoms coated the ground. Folks put on sweaters. In less than an hour the temperature had dropped at least 10 degrees. Oh no! Spring again?
April 12 2010
It was such a lovely sunny day – surely spring had arrived! Had to get out and about and soak up some of that fresh air and vitamin D! Couldn’t resist taking the camera along. Snap! snap! snap! A potpourri of spring sights implanted themselves digitally onto the memory card.
Good thing. The days since have been mostly cloudy, breezy, and generally not very spring-like. But at least we can gaze at the snapshots and dream of warmer days to come. Enjoy!
March 10, 2011
Despite its reputation as the “sunny Okanagan” and its boast of over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, Penticton skies can be pretty dreary in the winter. Located on a relatively small stretch of land between 2 sizeable lakes, with fairly steep mountainsides rising on both east and west sides, Penticton (like the rest of the Okanagan) experiences a lot of cloud in winter as evaporation rises from the lakes and forms clouds that are often trapped overhead for extended periods of time. So spring with its increasing sunshine is a welcome reminder that the famous sunny days of summer are not far off.
Spring days can be a real mixture of sun and clouds, as these photos, taken within a one hour period, attest. Mixed sun-and-cloud, thick cloud, splattery rain, and suddenly clear skies are quite typical spring weather here.
The mud-splattered school bus from Vernon, an hour and a half drive north up the Okanagan Valley, is a sure sign that warmer spring days are here, as students travel up and down the valley, and to points farther afield, for sports events and field trip explorations.
Folks are getting out and enjoying the sunshine for recreation and for work. Roofers are busy replacing or repairing worn rooftops as the surfaces are no longer covered with snow or buffeted by winter winds. School and park fields have lost their white coverings, and green shoots of fresh grass are pushing up between the crumpled brown blades left from last year. Scattered remains of snowmen, looking like some barren alien landscape covered with strange snow-henge type artifacts, have melted away, and the greening surfaces spread their arms wide, inviting hours of summer fun. Cats stretch out luxuriously in warm sunny spots, like windowsills of houses and cars, soaking up spring’s warming rays. Barren brown and gray branches begin to show signs of life, as buds sprout seemingly overnight, popping out their fresh soft green wisps. Bird nests, empty for many months, rest in the nooks of tree branches, anxiously awaiting returning winged creatures who will soon fill the nurseries with fresh, soft bedding, and then lay multicolored eggs. Surely the sound of new-born peeps will not be far off.
Spring has sprung!
March 3, 2011
The calendar says there are only 2 1/2 weeks till the official start of spring. Some days it seems like the early spring sunshine is successfully warming the world to ensure the calendar’s prediction will be met. But other days, old man winter blusters back onto the scene, determined to scoffingly maintain his chilly hold.
Today was a prime example. The sun was shining with all her might, but she had not yet managed to reach a high enough angle to really warm the earth. Folks – and critters – coming out to enjoy the sunshine’s promise found themselves surprisingly chilled, and only those stubborn few with bullish personalities stayed out for more than a few minutes. Boats and RVs and other summer playthings still huddled shivering under tarps and carport roofs. So the outside world, despite blue skies and sunshine, seemed desolate and deserted, save for the odd determined soul.
Even the local over-wintering duck population, gathered at rare bits of open water in ice-covered creeks and wetlands, mostly huddled together along the shoreline, though a few hardy types made short forays out onto the water looking for breakfast. Birdhouses sat silent and empty, and garden beds slept on under the barest skim of snow that the old season had deposited overnight, reminding us that officially he still rules a bit longer. Yet ardent gardeners would not be deterred; behind windows overlooking the winter-clad garden beds, grow-lights shed their beams onto fresh seedlings eagerly awaiting their opportunity to be transplanted out into the fresh spring air and soil.
On broad, desolate, brown-toned school playfields, giant snowballs sat scattered here and there, wrapped in dirty coats of dead grass and mud collected as their young creators rolled them about gathering up every speck of snow available. Some, in random groupings, with long shadows stretching out as the low-angled sun peeked over their shoulders, gave the impression of some ancient snow-henge, abandoned artifacts left by long-gone sun-worshippers on wild, bleak open plateaus.
It looked as if old man winter’s hold would hang on forever. But the early spring sun smiled overhead. Her rays gently set themselves down on every surface as she made her journey across the pale heavens. And as her warmth seeped in, winter’s fingers were imperceptibly loosing their grip. It would not be long until the waterways were clear of ice, and the snow-henge monoliths had vanished away.
February 22, 2011
Two-thirds of the way through the winter season, and Penticton landscapes live up to the season’s reputation. Overhead, skies are full of the fluffy white clouds that have formed from evaporation from the blue, ice-edged lakes below. Here and there, clear patches of pale winter blue allow the hazy winter sun to slip through, casting long blue-gray shadows of bare tree branches onto fresh white snow.
Tracks of busy human activity criss-cross lawns and sidewalks, and on the streets, slush, shallow puddles, and wet patches of pavement remind us that while Penticton does get “winter weather,” it is generally short-lived and not much more than a pleasant short diversion from the hot days of summer and the comfortable days of autumn and spring.
It will not be long before the low-angled winter sun gives ways to the warmer rays of spring, the clouds begin to dissipate, snow disappears, and the south Okanagan once again lives up to its sunny summer paradise reputation.
May 12, 2010
Just woke up, opened the window wide, and deeply breathed in fresh, cool, clean, almost-summer morning air. The glow of the just-about-to-rise sun is back-lighting the mountain top ridges, so that every tree-top stands out in sharp relief. The birds are singing, calling out to each other, welcoming the morning.
The weather folks are forecasting low-to-mid-twenties-Celcius days for the rest of the week. Summer is definitely on its way. Old man winter has made some valiant efforts in the past couple weeks to slow down summer’s arrival. He has managed to cause some havoc on the mountain-pass highways. But here in the valley, the best he’s been able to muster is some gray, windy chill. And just enough rain to green the dry brown hillsides, to raise the creek and lake levels a bit (to everyone’s joy), and to make the world smell wonderfully fresh and spring-like.
Even winter’s ability to produce long dark cold night has been gently, persistently suppressed by summer’s sun. No wonder the chilly, grumpy old geezer seems to have finally decided to retreat into his icy fastnesses. All his best efforts in prolonging the icy season – which wasn’t even as icy as usual this year, thanks to his young upstart nemesis, El Nino – have only resulted in brightening and beautifying our surroundings. Fresh green growing things are bursting into full bloom, and the Sunny Okanagan is living up to its moniker once again.
And yes, the sun has now risen! Welcome, beautiful new morning!
April 8, 2010
Woke up at 5 am. Walked, about 6:30, to street church breakfast, with an amazing thunderstorm with huge jagged bolts of fork lightning streaking through a deep gray sky, followed by rolls of sheet lightning, and streams of rain pouring down.
But by 7:00 the sky was beginning to clear, with the sun wobbling through the clouds. Then by 8:00 am it burst forth in glory, which was great when standing right in it; unfortunately the sudden warming stirred up chilly breezes!
And then.12 noon cloudly and windy … 1 pm SNOWING! … 2 pm sunny again… 3 pm more cloudy and windy.
I LOVE WEATHER!