l've lived in Oregon for 50 years. I've seen plenty of freezing rain. But I've never experienced anything like the ice storm that struck northwest Oregon yesterday.
Here's photos that I took this morning as my wife and I surveyed the damage to our property in rural south Salem, which was considerable.
The ice was amazingly thick. Up near Lake Drive this twig had ice the width of my index finger, about 5/8 of an inch.
The walkway outside our front door was littered with fir branches. Trees and shrubs were bending over from the weight of the ice.
There was a certain beauty to the ice. But the damage it did to our yard was anything but beautiful.
The saddest sight was seeing several large limbs that had fallen from a white oak that was more than two hundred years old, according to an arborist. It's the centerpiece of our yard. Hard to believe that it had survived so long, only to be decimated yesterday. Hopefully it will survive, though I have my doubts.
The oak branches littered the lawn in front of our deck. We'd heard loud crashes while watching TV last night. (We have a generator, as our power had gone out.) It was too dark to see what had happened. In the morning, we knew.
The brush and trees on the path that leads to Spring Creek were a vision in white. But after I'd seen what the ice had done to the big oak, I looked upon the whiteness as malevolent. Of course, nature doesn't have intentions, so that doesn't make sense. I still felt that way, though.
Imagine how much force it takes to split a thick branch from the trunk of a tree. Ice is powerful.
Last year we had a fairly large oak removed from our dog yard because it was so close to our house -- a fire danger, with branches overhanging the roof. I was glad we did this, since it could have caused considerable damage if the ice had caused it to topple over.
We were fortunate to not have any large branches strike our roof or deck. Not as fortunate was a beautiful large purple-leaved Japanese Maple that was struck squarely by one of the heavy fallen oak branches. All that is left of it is the dark piece of trunk in the middle of the photo. Sad. It was my wife's favorite tree in our yard.
Many branches from two tall firs at the bottom of our driveway were scattered about. But the firs did much better than other trees with the ice, probably because fir branches bend so easily. Oaks are strong, but rigid. "Be like water," I recall Bruce Lee saying. Good advice for both trees and us humans.
A bunch of branches were strewn around the turnaround part of our driveway.
Brush near the upper part of our driveway was oozing ice.
Since our driveway is "Y" shaped, I had two choices as to where to park my Subaru Crosstrek near Lake Drive. (Our steep driveway is partly shaded, so I was worried that freezing rain would linger on it, making it difficult to get out after the storm ended.) Not surprisingly, I chose a location with no overhanging branches. Turned out our driveway wasn't icy at all, strangely.
It was great that the two tall firs that tower over our house made it through the ice storm with minor damage. I was sleeping in a room that could be under them if they toppled over, a thought that occasionally went through my mind last night.
Seeing the large oak in our back yard so damaged is a recurring pain. It is entirely possible to have an intimate relationship with a tree. I know, because I've had many conversations with what I've called my Old Friend.