20 December 2008
I wasn’t planning on posting anything more about snow in Portland, but now we really have serious snow. It can no longer be called a mere “dusting” so I will give in to the temptation to post of few pictures of our normally temperate city in the midst of arctic conditions. It is an unusual weather pattern indeed that drops snow on Portland for an entire week in December. It would not be surprising to see this much snow in January, but it is definitely atypical for December.
Yesterday, on Friday, it snowed lightly all day in Portland, but it didn’t stick on the roads. I drove around late in the night (without chains) and had no problem at all getting around. The serious snow started sometime Saturday morning, and it continued to snow throughout the day on Saturday.
All the roads within the Portland metropolitan area were covered in packed snow. I finally chained my personal vehicle, and the snow was sufficiently thick even on well-traveled roads that I barely heard them. Despite the severe road conditions, lots of people were out driving in it. There were snow drifts on Sunset Highway at the top of Sylvan Hill. No one without chains was making it up. There were many cars stuck at the bottom of the hill.
It is quite something, really, to see a city of some size paralyzed, or nearly paralyzed, by the weather. There is an almost apocalyptic feel about it, like the scene in 12 Monkeys when the protagonist (played by Bruce Willis) is walking through the abandoned streets of a city covered in snow, and a bear roars at him. I recall past winter storms (worse than what we’re having now) were the city was pretty much shut down. Once the national news showed Portland International Airport with all its planes stuck on the tarmac. I understand that there are a lot of flight cancellations today, and that they were experiencing problems with their de-icing equipment at PDX, but we haven’t made the news yet (except for the local news, which doesn’t count).
It is after dark now, and the snow continues to fall, though less forcefully than earlier in the day. After making my way across Portland, chained up the whole way, my car is already covered with snow again, after just having sat for a couple of hours.