Five Things to Know About Weather on Guam

When I first found out I was moving to Guam, I was thrilled to be moving to the sunny shores of the Pacific Tropics. Sure, I knew there was a threat of typhoons, but I figured they were few and far between, like hurricanes in New Orleans (and I was used to those!). So I figured that, overall, my days would be spent sitting in the sun. Heck, I even posted a Facebook status about my upcoming sunny adventure!

Pictured: The naïveté of youth

Unfortunately, as I quickly found out, it rains here. A lot.

1) Guam’s Wet Season is an Understatement

Because it’s so far south and well below the Tropic of Cancer, Guam, like most of the region, doesn’t get to enjoy the same four seasons as the rest of the world. Instead of winter, spring, summer and fall, the area observes the cleverly named “Wet Season” and “Dry Season.” The dry season runs from January through June, whereas the wet season runs from July through December.

To start things off, I don’t mean for this to come off as a complaint about Guam. Guam’s awesome…Guasome. But after being here for a couple days, I’ll admit I’ve been thrown off by the sheer amount of rain here.

For example, remember That One Time I Got Lost Leaving The Outlet Mall? Well, one thing I didn’t mention about that adventure was that it was raining throughout the day. Now, this was the first time I’d actually been driving on Guam, so a rainstorm is not exactly what I was looking forward to while I’m attempting to get back to my hotel. Luckily, because it rains everyday, it’s easy to get used to driving in the rain. The only problem with the rain is the fact that…

2) The Rain Here Turns On and Off Like a Faucet

I have no idea when it’s going to start raining. Before, I’d judge by the clouds. Dark, gray clouds meant rain was coming; clear, blue skies meant the sun was out to stay. However, I’ve found that I can walk around under a black thundercloud and not feel a drop of rain, but somehow be drenched by the single cloud hanging in the sky. While I assumed at first the weather was more-or-less determined by whether or not I was inside or outside, I’m now convinced that the weather can be more easily predicted by flipping a coin and then assuming I’ll get wet regardless of how I prepare (unless, of course, I do prepare, in which case it will most certainly be a sunnier day).

The other thing I’ve noticed is that it’s possible to drive for 10 minutes in the some of the worst rain I’ve ever seen and then suddenly have the rain switch off above me and vice versa. And because of this, I’ve pretty much gathered that…

3) Nobody Seems to be Fazed by Rain

Now, of course, this doesn’t apply to really bad storms or typhoons (at least, I don’t think so), but I actually think it’s pretty neat that nobody here lets the rain get in the way of doing things outside. In other places, it’s pretty much a given that even a small shower could rain out a crowd. Not so on Guam. During my drives around the island, I’ll have my windshield wipers on full-speed and pass someone jogging along the road. Granted, they could have been running to get out of the rain, but I’m an optimist. Similarly, I’ll pass kids playing in the beach in weather I would typically call “Not beach weather.”

storm approaching - Emily Allen

“Get the grill out; it looks like picnic weather outside!”
(Copyright by Emily Allen. Used under a cc by 2.0 license.)

I’m assuming it all comes as a matter of living on an island that typically sees over 100 inches of rain a year. Hopefully as time goes on, I’ll be able to go out for a hike, run or swim without a second thought about the weather. If not, I can always look forward to the dry season. That is except for the fact that…

4) Guam’s Dry Season is actually only the “Less Wet” Season

Now, I, by no means, am an expert on tropical weather. But I think the term “dry season” could be a bit of a misnomer. For example, Using data from the Western Regional Climate Center, just over 32 inches of rain fell on Guam during the course of 2012’s dry season.In the same amount of time, Austin, Texas (whose wet season is the first half of the year) only saw about 20 inches of rain (warning: PDF).

Like a desert.
(Copyright © 2005 Christine S. Cruz, used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

Granted, I cant say much about the dry season until it comes around again, but I do look forward to temperatures dipping into the chilly 70s and humidity dropping to below “am I walking or just swimming” levels. And besides, there is one final point that I want to make absolutely clear:

5) Once the Sun does Come Out, Guam is Absolutely Stunning

Like I said, I don’t want this to be full of what could easily come across as whining about the rain. Heck, considering I only saw about 20 inches of it last year, I should be ecstatic about remembering again what it looks and feels like (and tastes like after the time I went on a run without a bottle of water). But I did want to point out that because of all the rain, everything on Guam is greener and more lush than any place I’ve ever seen. The last few years in Texas, because of our drought, I consistently saw brown, dying grass and cracked dirt all over the place. Here, there’s literally a whole vibrant jungle inland from the sea. I’ve only gotten the chance to explore somewhat and, even then, I haven’t been able to take a whole lot of pictures, but here are a couple of those that I have taken that can give readers a good idea of what I’m treated to on a regular basis. (Note: I did do some editing on the pictures to make up for using my phone to shoot the pictures and shooting into the sun)

Asan Beach Park

War in the Pacific National Park – Asan, Guam

 

Fish Eye

View from Fish Eye Marine Park toward Piti, Guam

That’s all for this one! Thanks for reading!

-Cameron

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12 thoughts on “Five Things to Know About Weather on Guam

  1. Guam sounds like a warm Seattle. Seattle has a similar kind of rain cycle but it is cool most of the time rather than warm. Seattle has rain and it has clouds and it can have both or neither and it can rain. It can also be cloudy for days and not a drop of rain fall. It is painted in a lush green color as it appears happens to be the case for Guam. Thanks for helping me to compare two places on the globe that are not alike at all in many ways but may share a common weather pattern giving them both a dazzling appearance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Florence Pangelinan says:

    Cameron, I love your sense of humor and introspective view of Guam. I laughed; I became wistful; and it created a longing (in Chamorro, we call it mahalang) to be back there where my roots are embedded.
    I love your pictures–they allow the reader to visualize, more clearly, how Guam looks. I sooo look forward to your next blog.
    They say “Be careful what you ask for”–during the dry season, you will be wishing it would rain! LOL

  3. Cecilia Weber says:

    As a little girl in Dededo, I remember when I’d look outside and it would actually be raining on one side of the street and sunny on the other.
    I remember jumping back and forth from the sun to the rain.

  4. Ramona A says:

    I hope that someone has told you that the rain this year has been particularly copious, and it is unusual even for Guam. So…don’t get discouraged.

    • It’s not too discouraging. After spending a year in Austin where we only got 20″ of rain over the course of the whole year, it’s nice to remember what it’s like to be out in the rain.

  5. Elliott says:

    Cameron,
    Enjoy reading your comments about Guam. Our best to you. Is your newspaper on the Internet so we can read some of the articles you write?

  6. Tammy Hedt says:

    Loved it! Keep up the good work!

  7. Leon says:

    If you get caught in a night rain and you’re by the ocean — jump in. Locals know to dive into the ocean when it rains to STAY WARM. Try that in San Pedro Island, TX.

  8. Huey says:

    Bahahahahaha to #3, nobody seems to be fazed by the rain….

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