I moved to Oregon on June 28th, 2019, so as of yesterday, I'd been a resident for just under 400 days, give or take a few. There are a few surprising things I've discovered since I've been here.
First, I'm stunned by how many people I talk to have never been to Oregon. Perhaps I'm biased by my profession, where I and the people I work with travel a lot. I once estimated that I've spent almost 1,500 nights of my life in a hotel room, so I've been a few places, and perhaps I expect others to have traveled, too. And I know Oregon is a bit off the beaten path: You have to intend to come here if you want to come here.
I've also learned the state is beautiful and multi-faceted: Forests, mountains, oceans, high deserts, and expansive flat fields can all be found on the same day's drive. I put a photo gallery here in case you've never been.
But the most surprising thing is the weather. We think of San Diego as 72 and sunny all the time, yet people there love to talk about the May Gray and the June Gloom; people in Minnesota have heard enough, I suppose, about weather. And don't ask people in Texas if it's hot enough for them.
So, yes, it rains in Oregon. The water in the rivers and streams that feed agriculture and tourism and the negative ions in the air that seem to improve everyone's mood (people here are nice) has to come from somewhere.
But it doesn't' rain that much. Seriously. After I had been here about four months, I spoke to a group of people about my perceptions of Oregon State University, and the first thing I said was, "Y'all really have to stop apologizing for the weather." (I've been told that this year is dry, so maybe things will change over time. But a quick look at a longer view of the data suggests otherwise.)
To prove my point (as I look out the window at yet another stunningly clear, blue sky with sunshine), I downloaded Corvallis weather for every day I've lived here. And I visualized it. You can look at it below.
- Of the 390 days I've been here, it's not rained 258.
- It hit 100 degrees one day, but the low was 20 (for those of you from Chicago, that's 20 above zero, not below). And it's come close to 100 the last few days (the data for those is not yet available).
- It rained a lot in January and February. It's winter
- The vast majority of hourly observations were "clear" or "no observation" (presumably clear), or scattered, broken or a "few clouds." Only about a quarter of the observations were "overcast."
- It didn't really snow. There were a few mornings with some accumulation on my car's windshield, but that hardly counts for someone from Iowa.
- There were only eight days with an inch or more of rain. When it does rain here, it's not like in the Midwest when it rains. Most of the precipitation here is slow and steady, not cloud bursts.
I brought three umbrellas with me, and I've used them two times: The conventional wisdom here is that an umbrella is the easiest way to spot a non-native. On those days when you get the slow drizzle or heavy mist, you put up your hood. It's not a big deal.
If you've not been to the Beaver State, you should visit some time soon. We'd love to see you Out Here in Oregon.