22 January 2017

fade to green

Other than a bit in the most secluded of spots, the snow is gone. Temps in the 40s are the norm again! That was quite the experience, nice to know new things can still happen as I approach my sixtieth birthday. And of course - our 4wd cruck is now ready to leave the shop, now that 4wd and high clearance is not needed. We still have February to get through, of course - but two major snowy spells in one season is really asking for a lot around here! One could consider the white days as two or even three spells, as they were separated by nearly a month and we hit 6" on the deck three separate times. Perhaps we'll go with snow in three different months as the unmet yardstick on this?

16 January 2017

an end in sight?

The never-ending winter continues - for one more night?

Our most-recent six-inch 'base' came on 9-10 January, and it shows the same staying power as the other storms of this fall/winter season. We are now down to just below 5 inches - but prospects are looking greener in a few days. A warm storm with tropical memories will arrive tomorrow, adding some ice then rinsing with 2" or more of rain and 8000-foot snow levels!

Forecasts had continued to insist that warm air would roll ahead of the storm and bring an easy transition, promising 40-degree days and nights just around freezing. After three days of failing to perform the Winter Storm Warnings are up: Portland could get 1/3" of ice tomorrow, more on the east side.

I am not surprised but disappointed by this winter's model performance, with nights of cold rain when snow was predicted then 4" of snow the following night. Ah well, when one or two degrees makes such a large difference such things will happen. Strangely though, I cannot recall them happening very often in my lifetime of Portland winters - this has been a rare one!

09 January 2017


What a white season! It's not like anything I've lived through, though most of the northern climes would shrug this sort of thing off.

As a life-long Portland resident I can recall two big white seasons, exactly forty years apart. In 1968-89 we had over a foot of snow on the ground for several days, and in 2008-09 we did it again. We even had snow on my birthday in 69 (more of a 'white rain') and '09 (flakes in showers, but turning all white overnight!). In both cases a dreary few days quickly removed all traces.

I'd never seen a snowpack simply waste away from slow heating and light rain - it was always a quick shift to upper-40 temps and a quick rinse.

I can say that no longer! Our home in the hills has been pretty nearly white every day since early December, and forecasts of warmer weather have not proven reliable at all. We've reached that 'magic number' perhaps three times in the past 30 days - and I have records to show that!

Our six inches dropped to about 3½", with tree debris slowly accumulating over time. The juncos were quite happy to find the snacks on a white background, and the cats enjoyed watching the birds. A few 15° nights finally warmed up to 30, and yesterday the trees lost their white coating under a gentle breeze.  The past week's snow-melt finally tallied up in our rain gage, to the tune of about an inch (recent snows plus the Sunday drizzle).

And today? It's snowing again. We are back over four inches of 'base' (yes, time to talk like a ski area!) and the trees are white again. Amazing.