October 17, 2009

We don’t need no stinkin’ pineapples!

Filed under: Hiking, North Cascades — geezerwriter @ 1:19 pm

Last night the dry season in Bellingham slammed shut as a warm “Pineapple Express” storm rolled in and dumped 2.5 inches of rain on us since midnight. We get a fair amount of rain here (in the last year we’ve gotten almost as much as Detroit and about half as much as New York City) but it rarely rains hard. It can rain all day and only amount to a tenth of an inch, so two inches in a day is a big deal.


Pineapple Expressions

And when it does rain hard, bad things happen. We’ve been spared most of the West Coast disasters that make the national news, like houses sliding off cliffs or into sinkholes, but we do have roads and railroads that are routinely closed by mud- and rockslides.

Up in the mountains where we love to hike there is only a thin skin of soil over the bedrock in most places, and the big trees have startlingly shallow root systems. When the ground gets saturated on the steep slopes the trees can topple over and whole hillsides can slide off in a moment.

I’m writing this at noon on Saturday, and wondering how many trails were damaged last night and how many of this summer’s lovely new repairs road repairs were washed away. I guess we’ll have to hiking again to find out. Darn. 😉

Update at 5:50: It’s has stopped raining. It drizzled all afternoon and then turned into that rarest of weather events here: an actual thunderstorm! With lightning, even. And the rain gauge has topped 3″ for the day.

And another update: On Tuesday, Mike informed me that the Church Mountain Road is again impassable at the point where it was just repaired in August. But this time the road didn’t wash out: the new concrete section is just covered with debris – sounds like an easier fix.



  1. Yes, Al, that was a thunderstorm to remember! I heard the rain hitting the roof and then the thunder. I was inside my Boze headphones and at first thought it was a number of airplanes going overhead (being not too far from the airport) but then crash! boom! — I came out from under the headphones and went outside on the front porch to watch. It was amazing! More than three inches? I am impressed…

    Comment by DJan — October 18, 2009 @ 7:19 am

    • So today I cleaned the gutters. Sigh.

      Comment by aheezen — October 18, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

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