If You Live in Wenatchee, Should You Own an Umbrella?
Traditionally, it's not something that's been seen around the Wenatchee Valley very often, if ever, over the years.
In fact, for lifetime residents of Wenatchee like myself, it's probably less often reported to us than a UFO sighting, an encounter with a sasquatch, or even a two-headed farm animal.
Yes, it truly seems that the sight of someone carrying an umbrella in Wenatchee is more rare than finding a four-leaf clover or the end of a rainbow. But the simple fact is that the Wenatchee Valley's official climate is that of a semi-arid desert, and as such, we just don't get enough rain to make a rainbow to find the end of all that frequently.
But with a steady influx of Westsiders now moving into the Wenatchee area, the sight of someone carrying an umbrella is becoming not only more plausible, but also more common all the time.
And this little nuance of regularly-deluged metropolitan life in and around Seattle that's migrating east brings up an interesting question for us to ponder:
If you live in Wenatchee, should you own an umbrella?
I suppose the most logical way we could come to a conclusion is to simply look at the number of days on average that we might need an umbrella in Wenatchee every year.
The Valley receives an average of 71 days with some form of precipitation annually. Now, that "some form" could be anything from rain or snow, or sleet or hail...or even graupel! So we can't automatically assume that all of those days would be rainy. In fact, I'd imagine that at least 30 to 40 percent of them are more on the snowy side; and who needs an umbrella when it snows, right?
By comparison, Seattle gets more than double the amount of days with precipitation each year, with 152 on average. So when its dumping water on you almost 42 percent of the time during any given year, it's easy to understand why you'd want to pack something around to keep from getting soaked.
But when you might have raindrops falling on your head only 10 to 12 percent of the time annually, it's also understandable why you'd spare yourself the trouble and expense of something like an umbrella and just enjoy the less-occasional sensation of being dampened by Mother Nature instead.
But it seems there's more to this argument than simple scientific metrics.
When floating this question to friends, comrades, and even total strangers in preparation for writing this article, the overwhelming consensus from longstanding Eastside residents is that they'd rather be found holding a live grenade or a bag of flaming poop than an umbrella; and there's a certain sense of pride that resonates in their convictions too.
It seems many lifers and longtimers in the Valley regard the notion of lugging an umbrella around as something that only a sissy nitwit from the land of rude drivers, constant cell phone use, and egregiously-priced coffee would need to do. For them, the very thought of not getting wet if that's the way God wanted it to be is not only off-putting, it's downright offensive.
Now to be fair, I didn't talk to very many transplants from the Emerald City or its sprawling suburban towns, but about half of those I did find reported that they've actually ditched their umbrella since relocating east of the Cascades. But after having already gauged the reaction of so many Eastside residents, I'm not too sure they didn't do this just to make certain they weren't going to get beaten from head to toe with it when out in public, so there is that to consider too.
In the end, I suppose the question of whether someone who lives in Wenatchee should own an umbrella is just another one of those times when we should stop and be thankful for our freedom to choose.
So go ahead expats of the Westside and eccentric Wenatchee lifers alike - proudly pop open that umbrella of yours the next time it rains - or for the rest of us non-umbrella owning citizens - don't already! Because it really doesn't matter anyway, since we're all happily sharing this beautiful valley together, regardless of how much it rained on us before we got here :-)