It only takes one look at the submerged Eyak Weir on Sept. 11, 2023 to discern we have had a copious amount of rain. Dick Shellhorn photo


Let’s face it.

If you have lived in Cordova for very long you are either part duck or you have come to accept it.

Even though it is a four letter.

Likely you have a closet full of high-tech rain gear including Goretex, whose selling point is that it is breathable and waterproof, which proves the old Axiom “if it’s too good to true, it’s probably not true.”

I mean, really, how can a fabric not let moisture in (rain) and let moisture (perspiration) out?


Recently I went down to LFS to buy one of their truly 100% rain proof coats in a bright color to wear while walking along Power Creek Road.

The days are getting shorter, and I wanted something more visible early in the morning and also to prevent being soaked by splashes from vehicles zipping through potholes.

Guess what? They were sold out in my size.

Karl Steen, who works there, explained “All the fishermen are buying them.”

My response was “What? I thought the season was pretty much over.”

His reply: “No, no, no. I mean all the visiting sports fishermen that arrive in Cabela’s finest, and come in after one day on the Ibeck or Eyak throughly drenched.”

Rain in copious amounts pours off our roof blurring a view of geese in Odiak Slough on Sept. 11, 2023. Dick Shellhorn photo

Ah, that genius Gore. What do you want to bet he’s sunbathing by his pool in a mansion somewhere that annually has as much rainfall as we get in an hour?

Why, I even went all-in on one of REI’s 3-ply Goretex rain jackets figuring the more layers the better – the price was three times the others and it proved I was three times dumber.

What’s that saying about “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”? 

Notice it doesn’t even bother saying anything about “fool me thrice, you ________.”

What actually motivated this discourse about Cordova’s favorite topic was this text from my sister Sharon Ermold: “Geri Koechling heard the word copious used by Jackie Purcell on KTUU AK NEWS Source Weather when she reported Cordova getting three inches of rain.” 

Purcell has been doing the weather for over 25 years, and recently received an award from the Northwest Chapter National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy) Silver Circle for excellence in forecasting. 

I suspect after 25 years of calling the rain in Cordova “heavy” she wanted to spice it up a bit. Which sent Geri and Sharon to an online Thesaurus that provided 31 synonyms for “copious,” including “extensive,” “aplenty,” and “ample;” plus several that rain-weary locals would gag on, such as “lush,” “luxuriant,” “bountiful,” “generous,” and “exuberant.”

Also, not to criticize an award-winning meteorologist, but three inches of rain is just considered a shower in this part of the woods.

As hard as it may be to believe, even the staid National Weather Service is getting on the synonym bandwagon. Recently I almost spilled my morning coffee when I heard the computerized voice on their forecast say “chance of peeks of sunshine today.”

I’ll take a peek any day of the week, especially including “Sun” day.

Incidentally, as far as total rainfall this fall, that’s a topic of considerable debate. I don’t have a rain gauge, mainly because I don’t want to get up every three hours to empty it.

Besides, all you have to do is drive out to 5 Mile and look at the Eyak weir to see it has rained a truly “copious” amount.

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Dick Shellhorn
Dick Shellhorn is a lifelong Cordovan. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 50 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and 2020, and third place in 2017 and 2019. He also received second place for Best Editorial Commentary in 2019. Shellhorn has written two books about Alaska adventures: Time and Tide and Balls and Stripes. Reach him at [email protected].