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Posts Tagged ‘rain’

This morning, one of the first articles I read on “Crosscut” was titled “To solve water pollution, Seattle turns to an old solution“, written by Samantha Larson.

This is what I’ve been advocating for years.  It is a Rain Garden concept.  Rain Gardens capture water coming from your roof, driveway, sidewalk, etc. and direct it into a garden specifically designed to filter the water, filtering it naturally and sending it into an aquifer, rather than the curb.  As I said in my “old” 2008 Rain Garden post, ” An effective rain garden depends on water infiltrating into the soil of the garden. They are actually miniature, temporary wetlands, planted with native plants.”  Do visit that post and read more.

Here is a sketch of a Rain Garden designed for use in a garden, but it is usable between a curb and the sidewalk with different plant materials.  This does give you an screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-9-03-11-amidea.  (The drawing is from an article done by Texas A&M on Rain Gardens.)

It makes profound sense to have these in our Seattle landscape.  They need not be large, every little bit counts!  Having them all along the curbs where the nasty water runs, is a grand idea!  It may not handle the entire filtration of the run-off, but it will surely do it’s part!!!

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Here at Horizon House, we have a Green Roof.  It has somehow “sprung a leak”!  At any rate, there is lots of activity on that roof.  The link above will give you a wonderful explanation from UCDavis.IMG_2856

There are many good reasons for having a Green Roof.  These roofs have been around for centuries, and can still be found in their original form in some European countries in the form of Thatched Roofs.  But, why do we reach back in time to think about constructing Green Roofs again?

  • First and foremost…it absorbs rainwater.  This means the water, instead of dumping right into sewers with all the oil and debris it picks up along the way,   stops first at the green roof.
  • The soil to be found on the roof absorbs the water; filtering the pollutants, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus, etc.
  • The plants then gobble up the nitrogen and phosphorus helping them grow.  Since those are ingredients in plant fertilizer…we don’t have to pay for them.  They are FREE!
  • The water taken up by the plants is put back into the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation, instead of having to go into our sewer systems, etc.
  • INSULATION is a really important part of this equation.  The Green Roof provides as much as 25% cooling in the summer, and 25% warming in winter!
  • A Green Roof also helps insulate the building from sound pollution!
  • That Green Roof will provide a wonderful place for beneficial insects, birds, bees and butterflies to call home.  Our roof, being in the middle of an urban area, provides a welcome place for migrating birds and butterflies to rest!
  • This one surprised me!  It will increase the life span of a roof by as much as 200%!!!!!
  • Lastly, it helps by mitigating urban heat.  Here is a good article I read in the NY TImes about this very issue.  Check out the link!

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RAIN IN SEATTLE

This is a broad topic!  Everyone thinks Seattle lives under an umbrella.  NOT SO!

In case you’re interested, here’s a link that will tell you about todays weather, as well as a ton of other interesting facts about Seattle.

It appears that Seattle gets about 38 inches of rain annually.  New York City gets 43 inches annually.  So, why does Seattle have that reputation?  It has that reputation because in a place like NYC, it pours and the sun comes out.  In Seattle, it drizzles and instead of sun, we see cloudy, overcast skies.

Also, in Seattle there are approximately 158 days when it rains, at least a little.  In NYC they have about 119 days with rain.  As you can see, a lot more rain falls in NYC when the skies open up.  In Seattle, we get a little at a time.

As I’m beginning to learn, people really don’t carry umbrellas.  They just expect to get drizzled on, and accept it as part of life.  Why bother carrying an umbrella around for a little drip???

It seldom “storms” here.  It appears that there are only about 7 times a year when the residents of Seattle actually HEAR thunder.  They kind of look forward to it.

The climate seems to be gorgeous from June to September when there is almost no rain, just tons of sun.  From October to March there are often light drizzle days.  It’s called “temperate”.

So why is this the way it works?  The climate is very temperate.  Mostly that happens because of the mountains.  The Olympic Mountains (where the Old Growth Rain Forest, within the Olympic National Park, is located) catches most of  the rain before it gets to Seattle.  There is also a lot of arctic air to the north, but it is caught by the Cascade Mountains.  Don’t we love the mountains???

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