Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Portland Winter to Remember (and it's not over yet!)

While winter technically doesn’t begin until December 21, I am referring to meteorological conditions for the purposes of this post.☃
a bit of blue sky after the snow 12/15/16
After a lovely two-week cruise from Ft Lauderdale, FL to San Diego, CA through the Panama Canal, with multiple stops in Central and South America where the temperature averaged 90F with high humidity, followed by five days in San Diego exploring the local beer scene in mild 50F weather, I returned home to freezing rain in Portland on the evening of December 9, 2016. Several inches of ice had already accumulated over the previous two days creating treacherous conditions on roads and sidewalks. I was lucky to get up the slope to our apartment that night!
impact of the ice storm 12/10/16

icy rhododendron bud
That was the beginning of what has already been a record-breaking winter here in the Pacific Northwest. The ice had only a few days to melt until snow began falling on December 14. This was accompanied by below-freezing temperatures and created very slick conditions that persisted until the 19th.
father & son sledding down SE Stark St on Mt Tabor 12/16/16

the view of downtown Portland from the top of Mt Tabor 12/16/16
It stayed cold but relatively dry through the Christmas holiday, then snowed again on New Year’s Eve. That eventually gave way to rain, so the ground was only white for a few hours.
snowing just before midnight on 12/31/16
The first week of 2017 was bitterly cold, with lows in the teens and high winds that made it feel even colder. We got snow and ice again last weekend and were essentially homebound for three days. Greg went to work on Monday, but the roads and sidewalks were still so slick that he fell (but didn’t get hurt) and it took an hour and a half to travel five miles on foot and public transit because the buses were sliding and/or getting stuck. I didn’t leave the house until Tuesday afternoon and there were still patches of ice in many places.
if the snow and ice isn't cleared then treacherous conditions on SE 69th down to Burnside
The main reason I got out was to go to the store to get some groceries. The forecast was calling for more snow, so I stocked up on wine (we already had plenty of beer) and bought enough fresh meat and produce to last us through the rest of the week. Sure enough, as we were eating dinner around 6:00 pm, it started snowing. By 7:00 pm, everything was completely white. It continued to snow steadily all night.
the evening forecast on Tuesday, 1/10/17

this was taken after 30 minutes of snowfall on 1/10/17
When we got up on Wednesday around 7:00 am, we already had six inches of snow. I went out to take some pictures around our apartment just before 10:00 am. At that time we were up to eight inches. It continued to snow until around noon and then the clouds finally lifted.
9:45 am 1/11/17

exactly 8" of snow at this point
Since Greg was working from home, he was able to finish up a bit early so we bundled up and headed out for our usual winter weather destination, the top of Mt Tabor. From our house, it’s a one mile gradual uphill walk to get to the highest point in the park. We always make a loop around the top, enjoying the views of downtown Portland to the west. Then, if luck is on our side and it’s open, we take the eastern slope down along SE Yamhill Street, and walk another mile to Montavilla Brew Works. There we enjoy a beer or two before we walk ½ mile back home along SE Stark and SE Thorburn Streets.
walking south on SE 71st St towards the top of Mt Tabor

many skiers, snowboarders, and other winter sporting enthusiasts made the trek up Mt Tabor

one of the views to the west from the top of Mt Tabor
That’s exactly what we did yesterday afternoon, with the exception that we ran into a couple of friends at the brewery and decided to hang out longer to catch up with them. We were hungry after the physical exertion of our hike, so we picked up a huge calzone from Flying Pie Pizzeria for dinner. We eventually got home around 7:30 pm but not before we had a snowboulder fight!
the view to the east on SE Stark in Montavilla 
a pint of Bipartisan Porter


Greg toasts our huge calzone with a Dortmunder Wonder Lager

this snow boulder is heavier than it looks
Greg worked from home again today so we spent almost two hours this morning shoveling our sidewalks and the stairs down to our apartment. It’s our landlords’ responsibility, but they are at their vacation home in sunny Palm Springs, CA so the task fell to us this time. I always get pretty angry with my neighbors because they never clear their sidewalk and thus it is impossible to get down to the bus stop on Burnside without risking life and limb. Portland has a law (part of the city code) which requires property owners to remove snow and ice from sidewalks. I always photograph their uncleared section in case Greg or I end up falling and getting seriously hurt, so I can prove that they are liable when I take them to court.
Greg clearing the public sidewalk on SE Gilham

the sidewalk leading toward our apartment
I cleared the stairs and the path leading around to our back door
The current forecast indicates that it won’t get above freezing until Monday, and even then it may only be 34F. The rest of next week is predicted to be in the 40’s, so that should help. But, in the meantime, we get to enjoy this lovely white stuff for the next three to four days. I just hope we can do so without injury!
our neighbors built this awesome snow fort but didn't bother to shovel their sidewalk