Thank god, I made it through this morning's storm.
Bojack.org's Storm Center 9000 has been ably reporting on how the Portland area has been surviving this wintry mix of rain and snow, with temperatures plunging to the high 30s and winds peaking in the 'teens (Bojack says there was a gust of 14 mph at the airport. Wow!)
Here's how it went in south Salem.
I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and looked out the window. Whiteout. Everything was blurred together, indistinguishable. Then I remembered to put on my glasses. The storm came into focus.
A chill went up my Oregonian-used-to-moderate-weather spine. There was a light dusting of snow. It was so deep, in places the boards on our deck were almost completely hidden (except for the areas where they weren't).
Realizing that a rash move in this weather could be disastrous, I checked our indoor-outdoor thermometer in the living room: 37 degrees. Better dress warmly for the 200 foot trek up the driveway to get the newspaper.
Found my down parka. Called the dog. Two bodies are better than one when fighting hypothermia.
I almost made a fatal error, though. Started to slip into the rubber garden shoes that I usually use for my paper walk. With those on, I could have fallen on one of the slick snowflakes scattered across the asphalt and not been able to get up without more effort than I'm willing to expend that early in the morning.
The dog would have run back home, wanting her breakfast. My wife would have sat inside, refusing to move, per usual, until she ate and read the newspaper. Which would have been clutched in my increasingly frostbitten hands, assuming it is possible to get frostbite when the temperature is well above freezing.
Fortunately, I remembered to put on shoes more suitable for a rain-snow mix, which was still lightly falling. A bit later, my wife excitedly alerted me to a change in the weather.
"It looks sort of like ice pellets now!" I dashed to the window. She was right, aside from the fact that it really was more like slushy rain. Nonetheless, we fed each other's panic, not having anything better to do at the moment.
"If it was actually much colder, and raining much harder, we could have freezing rain that would break branches," Laurel said. "You're right," I told her. "It's hypothetically bad, just like I read on Storm Center 9000."
Mixed in with the rain are actual snowflakes, which could make travel extremely dangerous if the weather turns to all snow, temperatures drop, and several feet of snow accumulate. We are presently just 10 degrees from the freezing mark, and so anything can happen. Forecasters say that there's a 100 percent chance of darkness overnight, followed by periods of light toward dawn.
Then, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. Right in the midst of pursuing some of my important daily current events research work, our satellite broadband connection went down (I'm vague on the science, but apparently if snowflakes get into the internet tubes, they clog up and stop working).
I switched to dial-up, only to find that the storm had pushed our nerves to a breaking point. A pleading pitiful cry carried into my office from upstairs.
"How much longer are you going to be on the computer?" Laurel asked. "I want to make a call." Suddenly I knew how the Donner Party felt. Cannibalism couldn't be far away, now that we were fighting over the scraps of our sole connection with the outside world (leaving aside our cell phones, two automobiles, and nearby neighbors).
It's afternoon now. I think we're going to make it. But soon I've got to go outside and try to make it up into the carport. We need supplies. My ascent is going to be over these rock steps. I've been studying the photo closely and believe I see a snow-free route.
Sure wish I'd gotten some crampons before the storm hit, though.