Sunday, December 27, 2015

two snowy days

We've just begun to learn how challenging the forecast can be at 750 feet elevation.  I've been watching the W.Underground site try to forecast snow but it comes and goes daily, sometimes more than daily.  At one point the forecast showed some snowy periods were possible on Christmas eve, and later on the 27th and 29th of December.  The next forecast cycle it was gone, or just barely there for an hour or two.

So in the end, we had snow on Christmas Eve.  Only about an inch, and when it melted by midday on Christmas it totaled .21" which generally translates to less than two inches of snow.  Since it was on and off it would melt a bit between showers, so making a full inch was a challenge.

Then came the 27th.  It snowed from just after sunup to late afternoon, sometimes heavily.  It tried to switch over a time or two, but snowflakes resumed each time as a new shower pulled down colder air from above.  Our deck shows 2½ inches, more or less, but the yard shows plenty of grass so the wetter soils kept accumulations down compared to the faster-drying wood deck.
Portland had snow showers mixing in but apparently it didn't add up to anything.



So what about the 29th?  Shows all rain on their graphics, yet 34° implies we're right on the line again.  And now instead they've put some snow on the 3rd of January after a few dry days!  Total precip on the 3rd is pretty low so only a dusting would come about.  But as we're already seeing, it's all subject to change...


Sunday, December 13, 2015

another winning month

It's only the 13th of December but we are already above the PRISM climatological normal for December!  It would be hard to keep up this pace for the entire month but wet (thouch cooler!) weather remains in the forecast.  Portland is at 9.57 vs. 2.27 normal through the 12th - so records could and should fall for the past few months.  My in-laws have a leak in their roof, and it's clear that this house needs improvements to its rainwater plumbing: the roof overhangs the gutters too much, and one downspout just dumps onto the driveway where it can go almost anywhere but generally ponds by the garage.  I installed a rain barrel to hold some back, but it takes only 1/2" of rain to overflow it, and my siphon hose.

The November and December numbers are conservative due to weather-system resets.  I didn't notice that resetting the system resets the totals as well as reconnecting parts of the system once their batteries are replaced!  I believe a system total might lurk in the database that I can use to improve the numbers in blue.  I know that November was not 0.02" too low - both months had at least a quarter inch lost to resets.

I spent the early afternoon (after another .42") with the outdoor broom, sweeping wet leaves and large puddles away from the garage and driveway side of the house.  I also swept out the driveway below the cedar tree, which had accumulated over a quarter inch of cedar debris that held water and made the drive more slick than it needed to be.  Nice to step outside and do something for a while!  And if the rain holds off another hour or so, I may even light up some Christmas lights on our semi-useful gutters.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

the storms of autumn 2015 Really like us!

This has been an exceptional wet season. The number of atmospheric-river events seems way above average - and every one feels like it has visited our home for an extended time! I have not counted these events in the past, but I'd say that three is a pretty typical number. As a life-long Portland resident I found that most of them hung out in Washington. I especially remember those that did great damage to outdoor sites: at least once the Wonderland Trail around Mt.Rainier was put into major disrepair, and of course the time that Kennedy Hot Springs was erased from the Glacier Peak map by forty feet or so of mud. Several others that didn't do such huge damage also come to mind, like I-5 becoming a long narrow lake in the Centralia a time or two.

This year has seen at least five atmo-river events, perhaps more. Two hit during and after Veterans day, and thus we endured a week with 10 inches of rain poured on our roof. 

Portland was hammered with over 2½" of rain yesterday while we had about half that.  Today's storm hit Portland with an inch of rain then lifted to focus on a zone between Scappoose (two siblings & a neice live in that area) and our place - a persistent yellow-gold radar echo has been in place for a few hours now, with Portlandon the ragged southern edge of the rain shield. As I type at 9:45 our rain gage is at 3.11" and climbing at about .2" per hour, and it's expected to continue in a similar pattern overnight.


A Quick Fact from the ESRL website: On average, about 30-50% of annual precipitation in the west coast states occurs in just a few AR events, thus contributing to water supply.

And from Wikipedia: Atmospheric rivers are typically several thousand kilometers long and only a few hundred kilometers wide, and a single one can carry a greater flux of water than the Amazon River!

Monday, December 7, 2015

it's a L - O - N - G story

Once upon a time -


more exactly in early September 2013 - we decided to sell our Portland home and find something a bit more austere. Portland is a fine city but not the cheapest place to live, and medical bills were filling up the debt accounts faster than we could pay them down. I had retired earlier in the year so the work commute was not an issue.

We were unable to empty the house, sell it and move out until July 2014. We got a nice price for our home, and the proceeds would buy us a typical home elsewhere with excess funds able to remove nearly all our debt. Unfortunately for us, we did not find a 'typical' home to bid on, as it was unavailable for conventional financing. We privately offered a larger down payment and monthly payments that were as high as Portland in order to get it - thereby getting a great residence but minimal debt relief from the move.

This past August - thirteen months later & further in debt - we were able to have work done and secure evidence that our manufactured home was eligible for a more conventional loan.  At long last those debts would be gone.  Our home payment would be similar to Portland's but on a shorter-term mortgage: hooray!!

Three months later, after several fees and permits and inspections, the day has come.  And just before the signing CenturyLink chose to smear our credit report with an unpaid balance, so up went our interest rate. We sent them a note to stop our Portland phone service in July 2013; they closed it on 12/26 and demanded we pay those five months for a service we could not use and did not ask for. . .
Guess we showed them?

So the refinance papers will be signed today, several debts will disappear and a bit of cash will reach us to clear up other accounts. It will be a good feeling. It's a feeling that we had hoped to feel about TWO YEARS ago - but we shall enjoy it the more for the extra effort. Assuming those efforts do not hospitalize either of us, it will most definitely be worth it!
We're pretty sure about that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A time of thaws

Two different ice-jams were broken in the past few days.  The first was quite literal, as cold weather combined with the low sun to keep our drivreway in thick frost.  Temperatures in general reached 32° or more but the frost held on.  We finally received some light rain, but that froze into the frost and made things worse!  Today we broke into warmer conditions though, and tonight a warm rain has taken over.

The other ice-jam was financial.  The home-refinance project has finally turned a corner, with approval and rate-lock now in place.  A week from now it might all truly be over.
Oh yes please!