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May 27th, 2006

numerical forecasting method

"You're making an international call to Hungary to ask me about the weather?"

I can't remember exactly how Alexandra phrased it, but she made it sound quite unnatural for me to be asking her about the weather rather than just looking it up online like a normal person would. I've heard it said that people in Washington are quite fond of discussing the weather, and that this is also a standard procedure in the Rhône-Alpes (where I stayed during my trip to France). With the popularity of online resources and the establishment of television stations devoted entirely to meteorlogical updates this is probably less common today than it was a generation ago, but I don't mind being anachronistic.

There's an adage attributed to Chinook tribes living in the area that involves this subject - that if you can't see Mount Rainier it must be raining, and if you can it's a sure sign that it's going to start raining soon. Okay, so it's mostly a joke about how much precipitation the western half of the state receives, but the weather here can vary considerably over the course of a day. Or between weeks, as I'm quickly discovering in eastern Washington. On 8 May it hailed and snowed through some of the morning, on 15 May the temperature reached 37°C, and on 22 May we had thunderstorms, lightning, and torrential rains.

I wish the butterfly flapping its wings in Bangkok would publish a schedule in advance for those of us living on the other side of the international date line. Not that I pay attention to the weekly forecast as it is, but advanced notice wouldn't hurt. However, if I'm making jokes about chaos theory as applied to weather patterns this is a sure sign I need to go now.