It's Christmas Eve, so I need to get some Grinchiness out of my system before the clock strikes twelve and negativity becomes politically (and religiously) incorrect.
First, a few personal positives about Oregon's biggest-ever December snowstorm.
Our electricity never went off here in rural south Salem. None of our pipes froze and our heat pump kept working. We drove around fine with the aid of tire chains and all wheel drive. Today's rain has gotten our driveway clear.
So we got through the storm better than lots of people, for which we're grateful. Friends in Turner (on the other side of I-5) haven't had electricity for five days. That's terrible.
Still, it'll feel good to get some gripes off of my chest and into the blogosphere.
Portland TV coverage. We're still ABC-less, due to the ridiculous pissing match between DISH network and Fisher Communications/KATU. So my irritations with how the Portland stations covered the storm is mostly based on watching KGW, and a bit of channels 6 and 12.
Rest of Earth to Metro area-centric KGW: Through the miracle of cable and satellite technology, people can see your weather reports even though they're far from Portland. So you might consider adding qualifiers like "metro forecast" to your end-of-report summary.
Otherwise we mid-Willamette valley'ers get freaked when we see a prediction of six inches of snow, yet the National Weather Service says much less will fall in our local area.
Store snow clearing. My wife grew up in Illinois and Wisconsin. She says that parking lots almost always are cleared by merchants after it snows. Not here in Oregon, judging by what I found when I drove into Salem yesterday and today.
The slipperiest part of my journey wasn't on the roads; it was navigating parking lots filled with crusty, rutted, slushy snow and ice.
Not always easy to drive on without chains, traction tires, or four wheel drive. And equally unpleasant to walk on. I saw that one establishment had a snow shovel by the front door, apparently so patrons could extricate their car if it was stuck.
Well, I'm not selling anything. And we've got a damn long driveway. Plus, I don't have a real snow shovel (just ordered one from Amazon, a post-Christmas present to myself).
Yet I managed to make our driveway drivable. Yes, it took some shoveling work. But it sure seems like Fred Meyer and other merchants could assign a few young studs or studettes to clear away the worst of the ice and snow in their parking lots.
Postal service not living up to its reputation. Our newspaper has been delivered every morning by car, no matter how bad the roads have been. But we didn't get any mail on Monday or Tuesday of this week.
Today I went into the Vista station to pick up our mail, wondering what happened to the "Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"?
Arriving a bit after noon, I was told that the carrier had already taken all of the undelivered mail for delivery today. But when the clerk checked on this, it turned out that our mail was still sitting at the post office.
So I grabbed it and drove home in our Prius on almost completely bare roads.
A small North Carolina newspaper was asked about mail delivery during bad weather and published an informative Q & A. Here's part of the answer.
One of the ways they [USPS] are saving money is by using Contract Delivery Service providers. Contract delivery service is performed by one of three types of carriers; rural, city or contract. CDS carriers are not USPS employees but are independent contractors, often unionized, providing service on specific routes. They are not bound by the Postman's Creed and can elect when and where they deliver based on their own assessment of conditions. If they feel your driveway is too slick and they don't drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle they do not have to deliver your mail.
Well, this probably explains why a couple of inches of snow resulted in a decidedly unswift completion of our carrier's appointed round.
To be fair, this is the first time in eighteen years of living in the south Salem hills that we haven't had our mail delivered when it was supposed to be.
I think we have a different carrier now -- a woman in a Subaru wagon, rather than our previous guy in an old Jeep Wrangler. He could get through anything.
It seems to me that if you're going to contract for mail delivery in a hilly rural Marion County area, you should be prepared to drive on some snow and ice. With tire chains, any car could have navigated the roads in our neighborhood, but I guess putting them on was too much trouble for our carrier.
OK, just a few hours away from Christmas. Got to start getting into my Jesus (or Buddha) like loving mode. Enough grumbling.
Oh, can't resist one last grouch: National Weather Service, after praising your forecasts earlier in this post, a pretty healthy snow shower just came by. I took our SUV up to the end of our driveway and barely made it up the incline.
There weren't any weather alerts or warnings for the mid-Willamette Valley today, though you did correctly forecast a possible inch of snow for our zip code (97306).
I suspect some drivers were lulled into complacency by the rainy almost 40 degree weather earlier today and got caught in some slippery stuff this evening.
Not a big deal, just a last opportunity to express my inner Grinch.