If you’re new around here, summer is everything in the Pacific Northwest. We wait through a long, wet and dreary year (more on combating Seasonal Affective Disorder, here) for the sunny, beautiful summer months. There is nothing quite like it.
So as we move into this season (slowly, yet surely), here are some tips on how to prepare:
Believe it or not, summers can be hot in the Pacific Northwest. Now, you may roll your eyes. But next to no one has air conditioning in Western Washington, so yes, 80 degree days can feel brutal. This year looks to be another summer with above-average temperatures.
In recent years there’s at least one or two weeks every summer that are extreme, nearing 100 degrees. It is dangerous. Make sure you plan ahead and purchase an air conditioning unit. Other spouses highly recommend black out curtains, box fans and air purifiers. Panic buying happens every summer, and you don’t want to be late to the game.
If you can’t purchase an air conditioning unit, one spouse suggested opening all your windows early in the morning to let the cold air in. Then before the sun hits, close all the windows and curtains to keep it cool. Buy a window fan as well. It will make sleeping at night so much better.
If you’re new to the West Coast, wildfires also rage this time of year. Stay on top of the news and follow the WA Department of Natural Resources and #WaWILDFIRE on social media. While most of the fires tend to be over the mountains, smoke from wildfires are the largest source of particle pollution in the state. This can be tricky when air quality plummets and you can’t open your windows.
Do yourself a favor and buy all the outdoor water toys and beach items now. Similar to AC units, pools, slip and slides, water tables and more will sell out once summer hits!
When it comes to cooling off, there are some good options. Here’s a comprehensive list of swiming/wading pools and splash pads in Western Washington, and swimming lakes in Kitsap County.
Be sure to follow our blog in the coming months, we’ll share updates and more summer ideas.
The summer months are notrious for road construction, causing more traffic headaches and delays.
If your travel plans include heading over the mountains to Eastern Washington, be prepared for some delays along I-90. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is launching a series of projects along I-90 to improve the infrastructure of these critical roadways. The projects will primarily occur during the weekdays, as crews try to limit lane closures over the weekends.
In and around Seattle, expect delays along I-5 during the “Summer of Lane Closures.” Contractors will be replacing 35 of the freeway’s legacy steel-plated expansion joints. There will be a total of 16 weekend lane closures through September, weather permitting. WSDOT promised not to reduce lanes during Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends.
In general, stay informed and follow WSDOT for the latest news and updates before you travel.
This blog post feels negative, but we promise summer is a glorious time in the Pacific Northwest!
One piece of good news – in Western Washington you won’t find many of the terrifying insects you might see in other duty stations. This region is not considered humid by any midwest or southern standards, but during certain times in the summer you can find mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies in the mountains.
My best advice is to plan ahead. If you plan to hike or camp, look up trail reports on AllTrails and review pollen counts. Here’s some more tips for combating summer pests.
During the summer months, Washington State Ferries operate on a special, seasonal schedule. But hear me when I say: be prepared for delays. Even prior to COVID and staffing shortages, ferries are very popular during the summer months. Sundays are especially rough.
Make sure you monitor the news and sign up for travel alerts and rider updates. Their website offers real-time maps and cameras, to watch for capacity levels. You can follow @wsferries on Twitter for realtime updates, as well.
For more ferry tips, click here.
Have you been stationed in Washington state during the summer months? What other tips would you give? Let us know in the comments!