I like to check the weather report every day, just to get an idea of what to expect. The internet makes this easy, and I’ve bookmarked the nearest major city that is close to us here in Balad, Iraq. Anyway, here is what the weather report looked like yesterday:
I’ve seen rain, sun, and clouds, but never “SMOKE”~!!! I didn’t even know that smoke was a weather pattern. Anyway, we get our fair share of smoky days out here. I am getting used to it, because I don’t even notice it much any more. This base has a burn pit, where the military burns much of its trash, and the plume of smoke can be seen for miles. We also have a little burn barrel behind our office to burn sensitive client documents. So I guess everyone in Iraq doing the same thing leads to the smoky weather pattern once in a while.
The weather has actually been pretty nice over all. In December and January, it got very cold at night and in the mornings. Sometimes freezing, and you’d see frost on the walkways in the morning. But never snow. Overall my impression of the Iraqi winter is that it’s pretty cold! It has also rained a few times, and the rain turns the ground into a mess. But at least the rain controls the dust, which can be dense at times. Every couple of days, you have to wipe everything down to get rid of the dust. But by and large, the afternoons are clear and sunny, with temperatures in the 60’s or 70’s. There’s not really a need for a jacket most of the time, but at night I wear the following outfit to protect against the elements:
The main protection, actually, is the eyewear. For the first two months, I’d ride my bike everywhere, and the dust would just fly into my eyes. I was wondering why I’d have red, sore eyes. Then at nighttime I’d notice the headlights of the trucks, and clearly see how they illuminated the generous amounts of dust and smoke that I was pedaling my bike through. After that, I always wear my clear glasses and dust mask when riding my bike around base. It really helps.
Anyway, back on the subject of weather, they say that Iraq gets hot. I’ve not seen it hot here. In Kuwait, it would be somewhat hot even in mid-November. But here, there really hasn’t been a hot day yet. The summer months are hot, they say, but I can’t imagine that it’s any worse than living in Texas or Oklahoma. We’ll see.
The land surrounding this base is right on the banks of the Tigris river, and is quite lush. There are endless tracts of farmland with fruit trees and other vegetables planted. This is a great agricultural spot in Iraq.
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