Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Any Seattlites out there?

If I got the chance to relocate to Seattle, what's it like living up in the Northwet compared to Cah-lee-foh-nee-ah? Other than wet, that is, which is hardly an issue for a penguin? ;)

-- Badtux the Aquatic Penguin


  1. I love Seattle. Lived there for ten years, only relocating back East because my (then) wife was homesick. Now that the unfortunate affliction of marriage has been cured, I will be returning to the Northwest with all deliberate speed (ie, as soon as I get some money saved up.)

    Here's the secret that Seattleites never tell anyone: it really doesn't rain there as much as they say it does. To put it bluntly: the natives exaggerate the rain to keep people from moving there. Check the yearly precipitation totals on NOAA's website, they're significantly lower than for just about for any city east of the Rockies. Sure, it's rainier there than most other Western states, but compared to the US as a whole, Seattle is a pretty dry place.

    On the other hand, while it doesn't rain that much, it is cloudy a lot. Like, for months on end. After moving there from a place with four distinct seasons, it was a little disconcerting to walk out my door on a cloudy, 55 degree day, and not know whether it was January or June. That took some getting used to.

    But that's a pretty minor tradeoff as far as I'm concerned. There aren't too many big cities in the country where you can see colossal, glacier-encrusted mountains in all four directions of the compass. And if you really need to get away from the rain for awhile, you can drive three hours over the Cascades and be in desert.

  2. I can't vouch for Seattle, but I love the northwest corner of Washington. We moved here from Sonoma County, CA 6 years ago and never looked back. This area gets less rain than Seattle. And Aaron is right about Seattle's rain. It gets more rain than most of California, but a lot of eastern and midwestern parts of the country get more rain than Seattle.

    What I hated most about California -- even more than the traffic, orange air and self-absorbed yuppies -- was the stifling heat waves that went on for weeks. And that doesn't happen up here.

  3. I don't live in Seattle, but I can tell you that I've been surprised at how pleasantly surprised I've been about Vancouver's weather.

    I came up here preparing to hate it, because I liked Australia bette. I ritually whinge about Canuckrainia to my wife to remind her that it's HER fault we immigrated here. But ditto to what Aaron says about the lack of rain, at least compared to what I had expected.

    Yeah, it rains on many days during the winter. But it's usually spitty, drizzly rain, not "frog-drownders." There are occasional sunny days during the winter months, and it's cool to see Mount Baker on those days (to paraphrase Palin, "I can see Mount Baker from my hospital!") You'll also get long breaks of beautiful days in the summer. Don't know about Seattle, but the entire month of July here was rain-free. We grilled on the barbie we brought from Oz just about every day I was off work.

    The thing that people don't note is how MODERATE the climate is -- fewer extremes. Look at the variability of temperatures. Not terribly cold in winter, although Seattle gets more snow than Vancouver, and there are few days over 35 degrees (more than 95 for those of you stuck to the antiquated measurements that America is stuck with.)

    There are more important things than weather, too. Like income. Social climate, too. There are jerks, racists and gang-bangers in Seattle just like everywhere in America -- it's not a city of yuppie Fraser Cranes. But there are good restaurants, a decent music scene -- Neil Young just played there, and he skipped Vancouver, dammit -- plus easy access to the outdoors you like.

    And when the collapse comes, the looting, burning and shooting will be easier to escape if you're in the Pacific Northwest. A tank of gas in the Jeep will get you into the Cascades or Olympics until martial law clamps down. So I say go for it.

  4. I live about 40 miles south of Seattle---and the city does get much more sunshine than I do. Seattle is expensive...all of Western Washington is costly in housing costs, taxes and all necessary things. And the traffic? Worst ever. I have driven in So. Cal. and I think the Western Washington corridor is worse. Auto insurance here is high priced, too.

    That said, Seattle is still my favorite city on the West Coast. But to me, it seems to not be quite itself ever since the WTO incidents; the cops have got a bit of a cob up their asses ever since then. I used to go to Seattle monthly for shopping, arts, and entertainment...I've cut that back drastically.

  5. Guess the thing to add is that some southrons get unhappy in the winter darks. From December to March sun up after 7 and down before 5.
    The weather is mixed.
    The people are mixed.
    A penguin could do a lot worse.
    Also, about Labor Day it rains something fierce by decree. That sends the terredos scurrying for other climes. Then we have high bright sunny days for a month or so.
    If you like the place and the people it's great. If your life goes sour it's as bad as any other place that might happen in.
    The main thing is that penguins already have friends here.


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