Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Snowing, Part Duex

The other day I mentioned the snow falling up in the mountains nearby. We, it has become cold enough for the white stuff to fall here. We have about 2 inches on the ground. It sure makes things look pure. There a few simple pleasures better than finding an open field with nothing but an animal track or two. I’d post some pictures but my lovely bride needed the camera for her work.

It has created some traffic problems, and tragically, there have been 3 deaths attributed to the poor road conditions. The roads were snarled most of the day.

A couple of years back we had a Dec (2008?) for the record books. Depending on where one is living in the Puget Sound area, there was between 12-18 inches of snow on the ground that lasted for a couple of weeks. This created all kinds of havoc, especially in the city of Seattle. For supposed environmental reasons, the city mayor at the time wouldn’t allow deicer (chemical or salt) to be applied to the road ways. And since there was concern that sand would wash into the Sound, it wasn’t used either. It created lots of big problems for several days. There were some sections of the city (Queen Anne) that didn’t have bus service for at least a week.

I point this out because the PACNW doesn’t have a clue on how to handle snow when it falls in the low lands. It just amazes me to see people try and do the same things with snow on the road ways and when it is dry. And some of the biggest idiots are the dudes in their big, jacked up 4x4s. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big 4-by as much as the next guy. But at least I am smart enough to realize that while the extra set of wheels giving you traction to get moving and will help you out in a pinch, the extra set of drive wheels don’t help you to stop. While running a few errands today, I noticed several tire tracks up past the curbs and it seemed that at least half of them were from over-sized tires. Taking corners too fast I suspect.

Several years back I was stationed in the upper Midwest (lots of snow). In the Midwest, you never saw the traffic troubles that you seen here when a little snow falls. I can recall only once was school canceled. That was for a huge storm just days before Halloween that dumped about 10 inches of wet, heavy snow before the trees had dropped all their leaves. This brought large tress down onto power lines and power was out for many days due to the wide-spread damaged. But here, we get 2 inches of the stuff and all heck breaks loose.

A report from NOAA/NWS earlier this mentioned we are going into a La Nina period. This could mean lots of snow in the lower reaches. The report mentioned as much as 25 inches of accumulated snowfall could fall this winter, maybe more the further north you go.

The same winter as all the traffic issues (2008), our family decided to head to the Skagit River Valley to do a little eagle watching. New Years (2009) day we headed up there, drove nearly to the end of the road (close in winter through Cascades National Park), found a cabin resort as a base camp, then went and observed the birds. The owners of the cabins mentioned it had been a long since the last big snowfall. Boring, I know. But just thought I’d point out that we seem to be getting a little more snow in the low-lands over the past few years.

Here is an image of some of the cabins along the Skagit River.  We didn't stay in one of these. Too pricey for our budget.

Skagit River Valley Cabins

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