Buying a new home should be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it can be difficult to find a place that checks all of your boxes when you have to worry about everything from cost and location to climate and weather patterns.
If you’re looking to buy your next home or finally get the vacation house of your dreams somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, it’s worth it to check out the Stanwood and Camano Island area — you might be surprised by what you find!
This special haven in the classically rainy, overcast State of Washington is actually a great location for a beach house thanks to the mountain ranges stretching along the Pacific Coast, which put Camano Island right in the middle of a rain shadow.
What Is a Rain Shadow?
Rain shadows often occur when weather systems pass perpendicularly over a range of mountains. Water condenses in the air as it rises, causing precipitation, but as winds push this humid air over and down the other side of a mountain, the warmer, dryer environment causes evaporation.
This creates an area that has consistently low levels of precipitation, or in some cases, no precipitation at all. The size of a rain shadow depends on factors such as the direction and speed of the prevailing winds, as well as the size of the range and the surrounding climate.
Rain shadows can be massive and cause extreme dryness in some places such as Death Valley, which is bordered on the west by the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Olympic Rain Shadow
Coastal winds from the Pacific Ocean blow inland, which would usually result in high levels of precipitation. Since these weather systems have to be pushed over the mountains, they meet warm, dry air on the way down the other side, causing the majority of the condensed water to evaporate. This prevents a great deal of rain and other precipitation from falling on Camano Island and surrounding areas, and it also helps to keep the sky clearer and allows the sun to shine more often.
Thanks to the Olympic Mountains, the Stanwood and Camano Island area get to benefit from a lower amount of rain annually. The State of Washington has an average of 40-90 inches of precipitation per year depending on location and elevation, whereas the average annual precipitation on Camano Island is under 30 inches, which is 10 inches less than Seattle!
Something that makes Camano Island’s location even more unique is that it still benefits from the moisture of the surrounding environment and stays lush and green despite the rain shadow. You get all of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest without the constant drizzle and overcast days.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to call home or an amazing location for the beach house of your dreams, consider checking out the Stanwood and Camano Island areas to get the best of both worlds as a Pacific Northwesterner!