Category USA



Seattle in the rain


Rain Through the Ages

In the 1500s, the English navigator Sir Francis Drake saw enough of the Northwest coast to give his opinion of the weather: "foul,… with thick and stinking fogs." Three-hundred years later, the Lewis and Clark expedition (see page 128) expressed a similar opinion. "Eleven


The Olympic Rain Forest

days rain and the most disagreeable time I have experienced," William Clark wrote in his journal.

And what about today? According to a joke, with so little sun and so much rain, peo­ple in Oregon don’t tan—they rust. More se­riously, the city of Seattle, Washington has one of the nation’s highest suicide rates. Some scientists think a reason may be the rainy weather.

Not all of Washington and Oregon is rainy, however. In fact, many areas get only about 6 inches of rain all year! The Cascade Moun­tains run through Washington and Oregon. Moist air from the Pacific Ocean loses its moisture, as rain, by the time it passes the Cascades. So there is a "wet side" to the west of the Cascades and a "dry side" to the east.

The Olympic Rain Forest

Rain forests are usually in the tropics, near the equator. The state of Washington is more than 2,000 miles north of the tropics. But, because of the heavy rainfall, Washington, too, has a rain forest. The Olympic Rain Forest, like a tropical forest, is damp and gets very little sunlight. Unlike a tropical forest, it is cool.


This passage is about rain, so it’s not surprising that it has a few "rain words." Can you find three words (an adjective and two nouns) that contain "rain"? There are two sides to everything: Many words in English are made with "sun." How many of the following "sun words" do you know?

sun___ Having lots of sun

Sun_____ Every week has one

sun—————— To lie out in the sun, for example, at the beach

sun————– What you can get if you lie out in the sun for too long

sun—————— What the trees in a tropical forest block out

sun————– When the sun comes up in the morning

sun———- When the sun goes down at night

sun___ -_____________ A fried egg that’s cooked on only one side (For the answers, see page 172.)

Discussion Points

• Have you ever lived in a place with lots of rain or bad weather? If so, did the bad weather affect the things you did and/or the way you felt?

• Do you think it’s possible that constant bad weather can increase the number of suicides? Why or why not?

• What kind of climate would you prefer to live in? Why?