Extreme weather

Until three days ago we were having an unusually dry winter, with many cool clear or foggy days instead of the usual rain.  Last weekend, the pattern shifted to cold, bringing snow (about 2-3″ all told) and ice to Corvallis.  Elizabeth and I spent last Sunday at beautiful Breitenbush Hot Springs.  There is perhaps no better weather to sit in 105º water than intermittent snow showers mixed with bursts of sun.  We had all manner of road conditions on the drive, from near-whiteout falling snow to slush to ice to some bare pavement around Albany where the temperature stayed just above freezing.

Yesterday marked the start of the “atmospheric river” aiming moisture and wind at our area.  We stayed just above the freezing point, but Seattle and nearby points saw 5-15″ of snow this morning.  Winds on the coast and in the high mountains gusted to 100-110 mph, blocking highways with fallen trees.

It has been raining continuously since midnight yesterday, over four inches in two days with another 1-2 inches predicted for tomorrow.  The coastal mountains have seen more like eight inches, rapidly melting the snow from last weekend.  The Marys River rose from low-medium to record flood stage in less than a day.  We are safe here but our friend Lisa (on the farm where we get our milk) now has water on all sides with her house a foot or two above the water.  I tried to stop in there to help out this evening but found all roads blocked by fast-moving water.  Thankfully it is only expected to rise another few inches as it spreads out over the wide floodplain, and with a small watershed it will recede quickly as the rain eases.

The Cascades are getting snow measured in feet, and if the weather eases I’m thinking of a cross-country skiing excursion this Sunday.


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