The torrential rains rode into Virginia on tropical winds that were “very juicy” with moisture and were blocked from blowing out over the Atlantic Ocean, said meteorologist Dave Lawrence of the weather service’s Blacksburg [Virginia] office.
– Kiran Krishnamurthy, City Braces for Storms, Rich. Times Disp., June 27, 2006
It is raining up and down the east coast, and, not only have I never seen rain like this, I have never heard of weather being described as “juicy.”
Please allow me to back up:
I thought I was used to precipitation and random weather, it all its glorious forms. In upstate New York, where I grew up, it basically snows for a minimum of five months per year. Snow, sleet, freezing rain – wet stuff and lots of it. In Brattleboro, Vermont, where I clerked, it snows for closer to eight months, and I now know how to stop my car without ever touching the brakes (one “coasts” to a stop on perpetually frozen terrain). In California, where I practiced law for a few years, I got used to body-wrenching winds that did not let up for five weeks straight (these winds are lovingly called “the Santa Anas”) and the drenching rains that followed. And, upon moving to Richmond, VA, four years ago, I became comfortable with nine months of unrelenting humidity and a lengthy hurricane/tornado season (always have a case of water on hand; sleep in the hallway).
So, up until recently, I really did fancy myself a bit of a “Renaissance Woman,” in terms of culture, weather, atmospheric sciences, and environmental adaptation. I owned a generator big enough to run my entire home (in the event of a power outage due to rain, sleet, snow, or wind), I had outer-wear appropriate for any and every weather condition, I knew tips for driving safely (as needed) in any sort of weather calamity, and I could have a weather discussion in the local parlance of venues across the nation:
In California, as we peer through the February dust storms, watching the palm trees sway violently to and fro, knowing that soon the daily downpour would clear the dust, we chuckle and say “Well, the weather is perfect the other 330 days of the year!”
In Richmond, when the humidity is stifling and our clothes are glued to our skin, we smile pleasantly and say to each other “It is feeling a bit ‘close’ out there today, isn’t it?”
In upstate New York, when it is snowing for the 18th straight day, and the meteorologists are predicting 11 inches of snow in the next four hours, we say . . . nothing. We pretend we do not even notice the snow. To complain about the piles and piles of snow in upstate New York is to expose your weak underbelly.
In New York City, when we stand body to body on the stifling, smelly, summer subway, we sway sweatily (is that a word?) and ask “Where is your [weekend beach home]share this summer?”
And in Brattleboro, Vermont, when we watch the snow pile up outside our office windows, we ask “Are you cutting out early [to go ski, for the dirt cheap rates that all of the big mountains nearby offer Vt. residents on weekdays]?”
The weather we have recently been having up and down the east coast, however, has me baffled. I am not sure how to casually discuss weather like this. What do I say to:
1. My parents, who are being deluged in New York
2. My beltway buddies, who are being flooded off the roads
3. My fellow Richmonders, who are feeling a bit . . . *ahem*. . . damp
What sort of casual comment does one make when discussing absurd weather like this? Am I *really* supposed to say “It’s good and juicy out there, isn’t it?”