Monday, February 10, 2014

Portland Snowpocalypse!

I spotted the first snowflakes falling in NE Portland around 10:30AM on Thursday, February 6th. It was also very windy, with gusts up to 35-40mph. I had to go outside to retrieve our recycling roll-cart which, empty after that morning's pick-up, had fallen over and was in danger of blowing into the street. The temperature had been below freezing for the previous couple of days, so the ground was cold enough for the snow to stick. By noon we had a visible dusting and, an hour later, the ground was completely white. Greg decided to leave work early to avoid possible public transit delays later in the evening. When I went outside at 4PM to take some pictures, we already had more than an inch of snow. I took one last look around 11PM as I was going to bed and we had about two inches of accumulation.
the first sign of snow
at the end of Day 1
Getting measurable snowfall in Portland is pretty rare. It has snowed maybe a handful of times in the two years we've lived here and then it was usually just a dusting and completely melted within 24 hours. The most snow we've gotten (again, only during the time we've been here: February-July 2010 and now since January 2012) was two months ago, on December 6th, the day we were leaving for our southern Oregon vacation. Even then, while it did stick around for a couple of days, it was still less than an inch.
our pre-Christmas 2013 snowfall
But this time was different. With two inches still on the ground when we woke up Friday morning, it started snowing again by mid-afternoon. Thankfully I had no reason to get out but wanted to have a look around since Greg was on conference calls all afternoon. So I went for a walk towards NE Broadway. While there were still plenty of cars on the road, it was far fewer than normal. Schools and many businesses were closed so lots of people were out playing in the streets. It was so beautiful and peaceful!
Day 2: NE Broadway at 12th Ave
By Saturday morning we had about 3.5 inches of snow. We had guests checking into the upstairs apartment by mid-day, so Greg & I spent the morning shoveling a path from the street to the front door. Of course, it started snowing again while we were working, and before we finished there was a fresh layer of white powder on everything.
Day 3: time to shovel
It continued to snow all afternoon and, since all of our social plans were canceled (we were supposed to go to a beer tasting event as well as a jazz concert that evening), we decided to go for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Irving Park, in particular, had turned into a sledding, snowboarding & skiing wonderland. We stayed out for a couple of hours and then, upon returning home, took a new measurement: six inches of snow!
Irving Park
Day 3: We now have 6 inches of snow!
The weather also began to shift that evening. The temperature had warmed up just enough that the precipitation changed to freezing rain. Within a couple of hours, on top of all that beautiful snow, we had a 1/4 inch layer of ice! This made it so treacherous to be outside that the City of Portland issued their first ever federal wireless emergency alert at 8AM on Sunday morning. Greg & I both have this feature enabled on our iPhones so that's how we were startled awake!
Day 4: And then there was ice.
Heeding the city's advice, we stayed in all day yesterday, which was the perfect opportunity to work on our taxes and catch up on some reading. Greg went for a short walk and reported lots of slush and plenty of slick spots on roads & sidewalks.
We stayed in Sunday, but this neighborhood cat was on the prowl.
As I write this on Monday, February 10th, the current outside temperature is 39F. The snow & ice are slowly melting and, thanks to the snow plows, all that's left on 15th Ave is snirt (what I call snow + dirt). We still have several inches of snow covering the grass and a thick layer of ice on the sidewalk. Hard to believe that in another 24 hours Snowpocalypse will mostly be just a memory!
Day 5: Icy footprints in our driveway
trying to show the layer of ice on top of the remaining snow
I posted more pictures to an album on Facebook: Snowpocalypse 2014

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