Jun 21, 2012

San Francisco Weather

The weather has been odd lately, but then weather is always odd in the San Francisco area, so I guess weather's been normal.  One day hot as blazes, the next sweater weather.  Today there's a chill in the air and my toes wish I would wise up and put on socks and shoes instead of yesterday's skimpy sandals.  Maybe I'll go do that now.  Be right back.

Much better.

We live about twenty miles south of San Francisco, and it's generally warmer here than in the city.  If you don't know about San Francisco weather, it's what's called a Mediterranean climate. It never gets Buffalo-style snowy or Miami-style sweltering. Much of the year the humidity is low and the climate is mild.

Winter, however is rainy as heck. It's not your pleasant Midwestern drizzle that cools down the air or a lightning storm that has you anxiously counting seconds until the boom of thunder to calculate how close the lightning is. No, in the San Francisco area we have a winter deluge. It pours and pours until you feel like you live under an open fire hydrant. The consolation prize is that the grass that died in the dry season greens up again.  Winter is our green season.

But tourists who arrive in January from someplace with six feet of accumulated snow and a disinterested city services department, think they've come to the best place in the world.  Who wouldn't want to live far from that biting wind and extra work of winter? What's a heavy rain compared to shoveling out the driveway? Hey, that's the other really big consolation prize, isn't it?  No snow.

If those same tourists arrive in July and failed to read up on the very local weather phenomenon,  they find themselves woefully underdressed.  And I don't mean they need something more formal.  They need jackets, sweaters, long pants, possibly gloves and hats.  They end up opening their wallets in the shops at Fisherman's Wharf and pleading "Whatever it costs, I don't care, just give me something warm!" They exit in pink sweatshirts, white socks, and baseball hats all with matching "I Left my Heart Symbol in San Francisco"logos.  Much poorer but starting to warm up.

Another San Francisco weather fluke is microclimates.  Here's what it means that we have microclimates: you drive twenty miles in any given direction and the temperature changes ten degrees. Drive one direction you're encased in fog, another and you need sunscreen. Microclimates can be really, really tiny. Like, turn a corner and the temperature drops five degrees. I've lived here sixteen years and I've just recently gotten the hang of keeping a cover-up in the car.  I'm a slow learner. And, no, it's not a pink sweatshirt. It's blue and it has a nice picture of Alcatraz on the front.

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