Saturday, February 08, 2014

Ice in the Willamette Valley

Thursday morning it started to snow.  When I went to work, the flakes were large.  And dry.  The roads weren't too bad, but I was able to skid and spin out when I tested the traction on the road.  Going about 20 mph was fine.  The local school district held classes (but other near-by ones did not).

And then it snowed and snowed and snowed.  By the time I left work, pulling out of intersections was tricky, and the wheels usually spun out before the car would move forward.  And then there were a few times when the car lurched in some diagonal directions not quite matching the general forward motion of the car.  By this time we had about eight inches of snow on the ground.  Most parents with children had pulled them out of school by noon rather than wait for the snow to pile any higher.

I declined to sled down any hills, as I didn't want to re-live last snow-day's crash into the sidewalk curb.

So I walked to work Friday.  The snow flakes were even larger.  During the night there had been some freezing rain, so the snow crunched when you walked through it. The snow was still dry, but the additional ice on the roads made me glad I live close enough to walk to work.  The copes of trees near the Amazon Slough were frozen cathedral columns of white and sable.

The University waffled on if they were going to be open or closed, saying that they would be starting classes at 10 AM and requiring staff to be at work normal hours, but then cancelling classes at 9:30 AM (which I'm sure made the travelers who set out at 9AM joyful).

And it snowed and snowed and snowed.  There was a horrible pile-up on I-5 near Albany.  Someone slid into the blue metal heron sculpture near the entrance to campus.  And more snow fell.  I rode the bus partway home and walked a few blocks in the falling snow, past the copes with my hands held out, like some pilgrim between the snowy veil in a cathedral.

Some time in the evening, the snow turned into a mixture of snow, sleet and rain.  The snow on the cars, walkways and trees became glazed.  This morning, Saturday, the precipitation is primarily rain, and icicles are forming on everything.  I wasn't going to take photos of ice all over everything, because I'm sure if I look back at old photos from twelve years ago I'll find my cache of photos of plants and fences with ice all over them... but then I did.

I hope our magnolia tree makes it through the next few hours, because it's looking sad, and may illicit haiku.

Rain and warmer temperatures are forecast for tomorrow.

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