Wednesday, 07 January 2004

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Most people who read this (for the most part people who don't live here) have never seen an ice storm before. I've posted images and info about the huge amount of snow we have up here (more than in the city), but ice storms are different. I used to experience them back in college in the midwest, but not so much since then.

Well, It’s been holding at 32 degrees here for a few hours, up from 15 degrees last night. That means rain instead of snow, since a (very) warm front is moving in.

But the rain is freezing to anything it lands on. That’s not so good. It means an ice storm.

Snow at high elevation passes through warm air and changes to rain. As it continues to fall, it passes into cold air near the ground and freezes. If it doesn’t freeze in the air, it hits the ground, trees, etc. and freezes there - ice storm.


Needless to say, I am stranded here at home. It wasn’t too bad until this morning. Art that time there was about half an inch of ice on everything. Now, everything - including the ground and roads - is covered in an inch or more of wet ice.

The only really amazing thing so far is that we have not lost power out here, since we live in the forest. Last week we lost power for several hours one cold night due to the winter weather. If you think about it, it's amazing electricity transmission is as reliable as it is!


Hopefully it won’t be a problem overnight and we’ll come out of this relatively unscathed. I have had to work from home two days now, and at this rate another day is entirely possible. Unless it melts. I'm not holding my breath.

If the temperature drops overnight (fingers crossed and hoping not), it will be worse.

But hey, I’m sitting at home in font of the fire and getting a lot done, so it’s not so bad. :-) 



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Wednesday, 07 January 2004 19:43:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 06 January 2004

MSNBC put up an online survey - It's totally non-scientific, but it is a fun and sure-fire way to start a friendly competition among friends.

I'm scared. ;-)



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Tuesday, 06 January 2004 18:23:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's started. I can't see past the first row of trees. The snow is falling sideways. There is a drift behind my truck that's getting bigger each time I look. Good thing my internet connection works, for now. When the ice storm hits, all bets are off.

:-)



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Tuesday, 06 January 2004 10:11:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 05 January 2004

Where’s the snow?!?!?

It’s almost midnight now. It’s late on Monday night. Since last Friday the news media has been building the whole world into a frenzy over this massive snow storm that is supposed to hit. Earlier today, the media spent the entire day absolutely freaking out about a snow storm that was just about to hit our area and which was supposed to cause major problems. Schools cancelled more than a day ahead of time all over the area. Businesses announced closures, and people completely changed their plans. Businesses – big ones like HP – told their employees not to show up for work. People bought snow tires and chains like mad. It was supposed to start something like 8 hours ago. So where is the snow?

Thanks to this nifty weather station a friend of mine gave me for Christmas last year, I can tell you that it’s precisely 16.4 degrees outside, the humidity is 60% and the barometric pressure is on a downward trend - 30.34 inches and falling.

I put contingencies in place in case I could not make it to work tomorrow, since I live in the middle of nowhere and the roads suck. I am so wired (actually wire-less) these days, I can work from home and do literally 95% of what my job requires, if need be. I sent people home from work early who live a ways out, just to be safe.

That was 8 or more hours ago.

I just looked outside (again). I can see radio towers that are more than 20 miles away - in the next state. I can see the moon overhead. It’s nearly full, and is behind a little haze, but is lighting up the entire frozen countryside almost like it was daylight. Hmmmm…

Hey - wait a second…

People bought snow tires and chains! OMG!

It’s a scam! Is it possible? Maybe a certain Really Big Tire Company not only controls (via a well-paid lobby) the fact that people in this state can (and to hear them talk, should) completely and without good reason ruin our highways with snow tires they don’t need... What better way to really sell some tires and chains than scaring the crap out of people after one decent (but managable) snow storm by manipulating the media into dreaming up an even worse one???

We may just be witness to The Rise of the Third Evil Empire… Time will tell.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I’m going back to look out the window. It must be out there. I mean, it’s almost Tuesday, for gosh sakes!



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Monday, 05 January 2004 23:54:27 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 04 January 2004













 

So, apparently the hill my house was built on used to be a popular spot for people who live in the area to head over to on a snowy day to go sledding, tubing or whatever. It’s been awhile since they had this much snow here (long before the house was built), and so there are a number of people who stopped by and asked if they could sled on the hill (and the neighbor kids from next door have been using it for a few days along with some others from nearby).

So, long-story-short, my house has become a minor winter park for the township of Deer Island, Oregon. Actually, I don’t know if it’s even a township, but that’s beside the point. For a few days this year, I am Disneyland. Or at least my front yard is. And I am meeting a bunch of people who live around the area, too. People have actually called their friends and family around here to tell them the hill is open. Hehehe...

It’s Sunday morning now, and it got much colder (like 19 degrees) late last night, and the sun came out for a brief little while this morning, but it’s still well below freezing. It doesn’t look like the snow will come back today – probably tomorrow (assuming those weather people are right this time). So, it should be a nice day to get outside for a while.

Here are a few pictures from Saturday’s sessions at DisneyNorthWest (And for the record and those who can’t figure it out, Disney is a registered trademark of a really big and nice company that I have absolutely nothing to do with, it just sounds cool. Don’t get confused :-))…




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Sunday, 04 January 2004 12:42:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It won’t stop snowing! Interestingly, family and friends don’t seem to care too much about technology or anything interesting (heheheh), they just want to see snow pictures and hear about how I am snowed in. Sheez. :-)

I will take more pictures and post them this weekend so everyone can see what a huge mess it can get to be when you live just 1000 feet above the rest of the world around you. And how much fun it is around the neighborhood.

And the forecast is for more and more winter weather, with temperatures dropping drastically over the next few days. Right now, heowever, it's just clody and foggy - but it's suposed to get very cold tonight. Just as long as the power stays on we are ok (It’s a very real concern here and was out for like 6 hours the other night). A generator is in my future, let me tell ya.

Meanwhile, here’s a few pics and one video (550KB, uses Windows Media player)…

It's been pretty gray out recently and the trees have a lot of wet snow on them - more than they are used to. All day long you hear a periodic CRACK! when a branch breaks from the load. The dark days when the fog sets in (and there's a lot of fog up here this time of year) are quiet and calm. It's great.



Some of the trees are huge. Luckilly, I think these ones have been around long enough to survive this kind of snow. Locals (I have only lived here a year and a half) say the last time this much snow ended up on the ground was 3 years aso, and it was like a decade before that the previous time. Kids and adults from all over the area are out enjoying it. More on that in another post, once I get the rest of the pictures ready.



My neighbors' car is prety well buried. We live at the end of a pretty darn long (like a quarter mile or so) gravel drive. Their car is stuck, probably for a while!



It doesn't look like it in the picture, but that's a big freakin' bird house - It's pretty much as tall as I am (ok, ok - no short jokes, please :-)). I wanted to try to point out that there was around 18 inches of snow on the ground, and it's wet snow now, so that's after it's compacted down a bit. It's heavy, too - I know, since I shoveled a whole bunch of it this morning. I had to, in order to get my 4WD vehicle into my driveway. The wet snow had been compacted over the past few days and had become slushy, then got snowed on more. The end result was a real mess, and no vehicle could drive up the hill. The only way to solve the proble was the old-fashioned way: Back-breaking shovel work. Luckilly I found a great snow shovel at Home Depot - it has two handles and make the work MUCH easier on the back - almost enjoyable if you can believe that!



Pathetic eh? Hey, the original nose was a pear, since I had no carrots (sorry Dad :-)). But we swapped noses the next day. This is what it looks like when you build a snowman in the front yard during a blizzard in the dark at 9:00 at night, and then it snow again. He's not the only one up to his knees in snow right now.



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Sunday, 04 January 2004 00:23:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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