Dec 7, 2013

Dec 7 - An Epic Cold Wave

(I'd like to write about something other than the weather, but weather is dominating the news these days... some even going so far as to call it an "epic" event. Besides, I don't have much else to write about.)

The big news around the Pacific Northwest is the unusual cold blast that's descended over the area... not to mention most of the rest of the country. The weather folks say it's unusual for two reasons. First, cold waves of this magnitude don't hit the Northwest every winter... perhaps, to one degree or another, every two or three or four years... maybe longer. Second, this one is notable for it's persistence. It's just hanging around... not moving along like good cold waves should. By the time we're back to a more "normal" pattern the better part of a week will have passed.

And we were there!

In addition to the cold, we woke to a half-inch of snow on Friday. OMG! It must not have been snow... it must have been the sky falling. Schools were closing, cars and trucks littered the shoulders and ditches of roads and highways, travel times were reported in hours instead of minutes. It was crazy. Of course Dar and I could read and hear about it all from the comfort of the bushouse as we had no schedule or place to be that day. For the uninitiated, this is the reason for the trouble: road salt is not used out here. When a light dusting of snow is repeatedly driven on it packs down and turns to a thin layer of ice. Good old fashioned slick ice. Add to the mix drivers that have little experience with (or memory of) winter driving skills. Then, when these drivers are preoccupied with their electronic screen devices, well, it all adds up to some fine entertainment for the rest of us.

Road salt is one of those love/hate things... another big compromise in life. It certainly helps keep roads ice free in winter, but it plays hell with steel parts on cars. You'll find driving is much easier, but you'll have to buy a new car when the old one rusts away in a few years.

Tonight is supposed to be the worst of the cold in the PNW. The predicted low tomorrow morning is in the single digits... 8 or 9 degrees depending on the forecast. While close, it won't be a record for us and the bushouse. We saw 6 degrees one morning in Marathon Texas a few years ago.

How are we doing? Having spent most of our lives in the Midwest (where, even now, it's much colder than here) we're managing just fine. With a good attitude and the right clothes we 're enjoying this "epic" cold wave. We are, however, going through mass quantities of energy keeping everything warm.

Later... Thom

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