Artist’s depiction of a summer sky.

Special report to everyone not living underneath the cursed Humboldt County coastal marine layer: Unlike where you live, today has been cold. Cold, gray, miserable.

The forecast high temperature in Eureka for today was a frigid 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some other locations along roughly the same line of latitude that Eureka sits on, with their forecast highs:

  • Redding: 91 degrees
  • Salt Lake City: 89 degrees
  • Lincoln, Nebraska: 87 degrees
  • Allentown, Penn.: 78 degrees
  • New York City: 77 degrees
  • Salamanca, Spain: 97 degrees
  • Naples: 84 degrees
  • Istanbul: 84 degrees
  • Beijing: 103 degrees

… etc. Everywhere is at minimum 20 degrees warmer than we are.

Are we complaining? Yes. Do we have a right to complain? Probably not. These gray skies will keep us snuggling up and dressing in layers long after the rest of the planet has burned to the ground. But the deal is supposed to be this: In the summertime, which is now, we are supposed to get gray skies up until about noon, at which point the powerful sun burns through and we get Vitamin D and temps into the 60s – or even the 70s! — until night falls. Then we do it all over again the next day. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Not this year, though. The long, long winter has transitioned into … whatever this is. It left us wondering: Exactly how much sun have we received this year? How many hours of pure direct light have we enjoyed? Sure don’t seem like much!

Would you like to guess? Because this is more or less calculable, it turns out. Our good friends at the National Weather Service office on Woodley Island take observations every hour of the day, every day of the year. The Outpost robots have snatched that information going back many years, and we have it tucked away in our databases, finally to be put to good use.

There were 2,196 hours of daytime in Eureka between Jan. 1, 2023 and 1 p.m. today. Those hours were placed into one of 11 categories by the meteorologists. One of those categories is “clear” — i.e., sunny. The others are all variations on the theme of “gray.”

Want to stop and take a guess how many sunny hours we’ve received so far since New Year’s Day?

  • Overcast: 721
  • Partly Cloudy: 441
  • Mostly Cloudy: 402
  • Rain: 215
  • Mist: 128
  • Fog: 11
  • Snow: 8
  • Haze: 26
  • Drizzle: 33
  • Hail: 2
  • Clear: 209

A grand total of 209 hours — fewer than 10 percent of the daylight hours since the beginning of the year — involved the clear unfettered sun shining from the sky onto our heads.

Admittedly, this is a lot more than we had thought it would be. The general consensus guess in the Outpost office was somewhere in the low two figures. Still: Maddening. Worse odds than Russian roulette.

Here’s a spreadsheet if you want to check the data.

Dare we hold out hope for the morrow? The good people of Woodley Island, unswayed the fatalism to which normal humans like us are prone, promise “decreasing clouds” to “partly sunny” to “mostly sunny” to downright actually all-the-way “sunny” weather over the next six days. We shall see!