Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Not Over

The heavy snow fall that we experienced over Wednesday and Thursday began to melt early Friday morning as the temperatures rose above the freezing mark and we started to see a change to our normal rainy climate. Because they happen so seldom, we in the Northwest are pretty much ill prepared. We don't have the mass numbers of snow removal equipment or the experience driving on the stuff. And because it hangs around such a short time driving can be very difficult.

First you get the initial storm which dumps snow and brings with an arctic freeze and the icy conditions that no one likes. Compact the snow, add the ice and presto, you have a recipe for disaster. Okay, we live through a day of that. In the afternoon of the first day of the event, Mother Nature decides to dump more snow on top the compacted snow and ice. She does this in the late evening and night of the second day of the event. Accumulations of 6'' to 10" make early morning driving on the second day a real joy. Big deep ruts are everywhere. Oh, did I forget to mention the ice storm. Yes, it wasn't enough to dump the snow overnight but in the early morning to late morning, Mother Nature hits us with ice pellets. Anything that isn't moving is quickly encrusted in a cocoon of ice that is very thick. But, we live through another day as the lights go out and we find ourselves in the dark until the wee hours of the third day of the event.

I arise on the third day of this huge event and leave the house to go to work. As I walk out the door I notice that the temperature seems a whole lot warmer than the room I just left. We still don't have power, so no heat. Outside seems warmer. I walk to the car and as I do, I notice the sound of dripping and I see the results of the ice storm. Several broken limbs and trees mark my path. I get in the car, thaw it out and head off to work. The ruts in the road are deeper and harder to navigate.

I spend a full day at work as the rains come. Heavy rains. But the snow is only melting a small amount. As I leave to come home it is both icy and difficult to steer through the ruts in the parking lot. I hit the highway and things are looking up. Clear, wet pavement is what I am used too. As I leave the highway a different kind of driving arrives. With all the snow, frozen, covering all the drains in the street, the 1" of rain that has fallen today has no where to go. Combined with a partial melt of the snow, most of the plowed side streets are now rivers. When the plows move the snow off the road they do it to the side. They help to cover up the grates that lead to the drains that give all the water a place to go.

It is still dark here this morning but I can already see the ruts are still in the parking lot and on the street out front. When I awoke at 3:00 o'clock it was because I heard something crashing to the ground or into the building. I haven't gone out yet but I can guess what is happening. Last night we were told to expect high winds, gusts up to 40 miles per hour. Well, they have come and I suspect the crashing is limbs weakened by the icy storm now being severed from their tree trunks by the wind. Next up, more flooding. As it continues to rain the snow will melt. But until it is all gone, the drains will remain an issue and the roads will be rivers and small lakes.

It is so much fun I can't believe it! Tomorrow, I think I had better drive up to Gold Bar and check the trailer.

Have fun out there you lucky people who are anywhere but here....

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