Tuesday, August 16, 2005

August weather

Seems like the July heat is gone and the nice summer August days are here. Vegas has a summer ‘monsoon’ season that usually hits during August. This results in higher humidity, lower temps than July and frequent thunderstorms. Sunday evening was really nice – clouds in the afternoon, probably around 90f, and rain started around 6 at our house. It continued a fairly regular light rain for several hours. We sat around out back, under the metal patio cover, and enjoyed the breeze and the sound of the rain on the roof. Sometimes there were flashes of lightning in the distance, but not much thunder.

We probably ended up with under a half inch of rain, but usually different parts of Las Vegas get different amounts of water. The official weather station down at the airport registered only a tenth of an inch of rainfall, while parts of the northwest had an inch and a half come down in under an hour – probably in a quick fifteen minute water drop.

This morning it was 72f when I got up, and felt really nice. Yesterday it didn’t get over 90f, and today is supposed to be only a little higher. Warming up forecast for the weekend, with highs around 102 for five days straight. Humidity right now is 55%, but has been sitting around 30%, should drop to our normal 7% by the weekend. We are aclimatized to the temperatures here, and 85f at 30 humidity feels really really nice. Back east I remember summer days where it got to 85f with 98% humidity and it felt like you were sweating to death, with the temp going up a degree or two after dark.

The higher humidity has caused the local sage brush to bloom. Some desert plants bloom as the days get longer in the spring, some when it gets cooler in the fall, some all summer long, but the sage all comes out when the humidity gets over 30%. And all the sage brushes just bloom at the same time across the valley. The photos don't bring it out, but the color is nice and deep and really stands out.

We planted a strip of fifteen along the front street last year when we pulled up the grass and went low water landscape. We left a small spot of grass out front in the driveway area, and some in the back yard, just to have a little green. The sage went in around April of last year, most in one gallon pots. They are up to four feet tall now, and turn this nice purple several times a year. We have other varieties around the yard, each with a little different shade of purple, from fairly pale to really deep. The blooms only last for a day or two, then fall off. If the wind is low this results in a nice circle of purple under the bushes. You can see some differences between these three.

The clouds and humidity also cause nice sunrises and sunsets. Here is the sunrise yesterday from our front yard.

A little later we got some jet trails up high. As I have said, I really like the open feeling out here, how there is nothing confining around. In San Diego it always seemed a little hazy, which made it seem smaller. There are mountains around the valley, but far enough from our house that they don’t seem like a wall.

And the two large olive trees were covered in flowers in the spring. We sprayed twice with some stuff that is supposed to stop the flowers from setting, so we only have a reduced crop of olives.

Since we don’t eat them, they just turn purple and drop all over the driveway, attracting hoards of pigeons that love to eat them. And lots of purple spots on the carpets if you walk on them on the way in.

And of course we need a grand kid update.

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