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What is the Cascadia Physical Environment Like?

Located on the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean, Cascadia contains varied terrain to include mountains, hills, lowland plains, forests, steppes, and uplands. Fertile soil, adequate precipitation, and favorable terrain contribute to the country’s booming agricultural industry, while navigable rivers and access to the world’s oceans support both internal transportation and international commerce. The Cascade Mountains provide a natural barrier that divides Cascadia between eastern and western regions. The country enjoys four distinct seasons, with winter being longer and wetter in the western regions and summer longer and hotter in the eastern regions.

Roughly crescent-shaped, Cascadia extends a vast distance north-to-south. The weather on the North Coast is moderate. The average low in the winter is just under 40 °F, while the average high temperature is just above 50 °F. The average high reaches its peak in early September at 70 °F. The most rain occurs in November and December averaging over 11 inches each month. July and August are the driest averaging under 2 inches of rain each month. Most days are cloudy or partly cloudy throughout the year. The summer has the most sun with approximately half the days sunny or partly cloudy. Because of the lowlands that exist on this region of the coast, flooding is an annual problem, especially in the winter, when storms push in from the North Pacific. Weather is likely to have negative impact during winter months. The northern and westerns regions are heavily forested. Due to several factors, including climate, weather, and terrain, there is a great variety of plants within the North Coast region. Shore pine are common, as well as several species of fir, pine, and cedar that are found throughout the country.

Alkali Canyon is located in the southeastern portion of Cascadia. The predominant terrain is shrub-steppe, characterized by rolling terrain and sagebrush with Palouse grassland vegetation. Surrounding areas have been converted to dry land wheat and irrigated agriculture. Hermiston benefits from being near the center of the Pacific Northwest, and at the crossroads of several major interstate highways. Drivers can easily access all four major northwest metropolitan areas in under a four-hour drive. The weather is typically dry and sunny. This region of Cascadia gets an average of 9 inches of rain per year, and approximately 10 inches of snowfall. On average, there are 189 sunny days per year. The July high is around 90 °F. The January low is 24 °F. Weather generally has no significant impact on training, except in the event of high winds. Over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 0 mph to 17 mph and rarely exceed 25 mph.

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