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.
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.
And then in February we got another “15 year” storm. Should it be then called the 60-day storm? Snowcalypse II?
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Other trees had minor damage only, but the damage was pervasive.
It took a couple of weeks for arborists to clear the area of fallen branches and damaged trees.
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.