Looking Back at a Rough Winter

We’re not out of the woods yet, I know, but it is March and Spring’s official start is just around the corner.  Around here the last few winters have been dryer and colder than  usual, summers warmer, fall rains starting earlier in September.  Is this attributable to global warming? Call what you will, things seem to have changed. Just last December we had the “15-year” snow storm in Eugene, affectionately nicknamed the Snowcalypse.

The beginning of the December 2013 Snowcalypse. It was more than 6 inches of snow.

The beginning of the December 2013 Snowcalypse. It was more than 6 inches of snow when it was all done.

It is a clever nickname when we know “apocalypse”, translated literally from Greek, means disclosure of knowledge. Was it something about that storm we should know about? A sign of things to come? We don’t want to really know what is going on, right? Let’s go find in the history of the region examples of similar weather patterns and rest our consciousness.

December 2013 Snowcalypse

December 2013 Snowcalypse

And then in February we got another “15 year” storm. Should it be then called the 60-day storm?  Snowcalypse II?

The February 2014 Snowcalypse (or the 60 day storm)

The February 2014 Snowcalypse II (or the 60-day storm)

Anyway, life goes on and I have to go to work every day, so I had some fun with the snow storms as I continued with my quest to reduce my carbon footprint, snow storm or not, rain or shine, I go by bicycle to work.  The walk and bus alternative was out of consideration, riding in the snow is a lot more fun.

The bicycle and the snowstorm

The bicycle and the snowstorm, February 2014

But this latest snow storm brought more extreme scenarios with it. It was wetter snow, then it got cold, then a few days later there was an ice rain.

Snow, then ice, then cold. February 2014

Snow, then ice, then cold. February 2014

After the ice storm, electricity went out for several hours. With no power I had a great evening semi isolated from the world, slept in the couch in front of the wood stove, had a nice dinner of freeze-dried food “cooked” (boiled the water to prepare the food) with the Jetboil, charged my smart phone in the car’s 12V outlet, but mostly enjoyed no computer access, and the silence afforded by no car traffic and muted appliances.  And when it finally rained and the mess got cleared, several days had passed. To summarize, we got some beautiful views of snow and ice…

Ice "water fall" from a snow clogged gutter

Ice “water fall” from a snow clogged gutter

.

The long melting process

.The long melting process

.

I still live on the wrong side of the tracks

I still live on the wrong side of the tracks

.

Pedestrian bridge over Willamette River

Pedestrian bridge over Willamette River

.

Beautiful views

Beautiful views

.

In some areas the bike path was cleared

In some areas the bike path was cleared

The University canceled its non-essential activities for a couple of days, something very rare to happen around these parts, and all along I continued to commute to work by bicycle.  The storm started Thursday evening, escalated with more snow by Friday. I rode my bicycle back home Friday on the roads, with cars, since the paths were too deep in snow. The ice-storm happened on Saturday. By far, the worse day for riding my bicycle was the following Monday, when the snow was hardened by some ice and then rain on top of it.  Traction was poor enough that I had to walk the bike on several areas. It was quite the work out.

Most difficult day to ride my bicycle to work.

Most difficult day to ride my bicycle to work.

But it was not all fun and games.  The trees took a tremendous beating. The unusual aspects of the storm, with heavy wet snow, following by ice, weighted branches of trees throughout the area. Many trees were heavily damaged.

This is just one of the many trees damaged by the February 2014 snow storm

This is just one of the many trees damaged by the February 2014 snow storm

Other trees had minor damage only, but the damage was pervasive.

Minor tree branches on the ground, throughout the area.

Minor tree branches on the ground, throughout the area.

It took a couple of weeks for arborists to clear the area of fallen branches and damaged trees.

Several heavily damaged trees were cut

Several heavily damaged trees were cut

.

Crews cleaning up the trails

Crews cleaning up the trails

Well, that is all in the past, part of our history now. But it perhaps is our new history (can history be “new”?). On the other hand, Spring is just around the corner and I will soon selfishly indulge in my motorcycle riding.  As I publish this, I have already gone riding twice.  Before I post my first rides of the year l will post one remaining, unreported ride from last year.

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4 Responses to Looking Back at a Rough Winter

  1. bob skoot says:

    Cesar:

    I think you received more snow than we did. We had weeks of cold and some ice rain but not really much snow as compared to you. There is no way I could commute to work on a bicycle. You are lucky to be so close to work

    Do you have gas ? we have a gas insert and gas hot water heater so we would be okay if our power went out as we would have hot water and one room to keep warm. We are lucky to not have any power failures for a few years

    Spring is only 2+ weeks away

    bob
    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Bob,
      It is great to hear from you! My house’s heater (air and water) systems are fueled by gas but they need electricity to run. The stove is electric. I was fine staying by the fireplace. I actually enjoyed it, I was getting used to it, and was a bit sad the electricity was restored before the weekend was over. I had plenty of gas bottles for my Jetboil and plenty of freeze-dried food. It was as if I was camping.
      Cesar

  2. Trobairitz says:

    The pictures are so pretty, well except for all the down trees,while pretty they are sad too.

    We managed to get 16 inches of snow in Corvallis last month. Our courts and university closed as well. Luckily we didn’t get the ice storm Eugene did so the roads cleared fairly quick.\

    Come on spring…….

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