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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Winter storms Maya and Nadia came and went, leaving Seattle bound in white.

They came in right on schedule, dumping nearly a foot of snow in the downtown area, and up to two feet of it out in the ‘burbs.

Here on my cul-de-sac, we had a foot of snow on the street, helpfully deposited in three episodes, so we could all add multiple snow-shoveling sessions to our weekend workouts. Kids sledded, snowfolk were built, and internecine battles raged from yard to yard, filling the air with squeals of carnage before parents called the belligerents in to dinner. On Saturday, we had an overnight low of 9°F (-13°C), but then the temps staged a return to something more reasonable. In my back garden, the spruce lost two more twenty-foot-long branches and dozens of little ones, and the cypress boughs were hanging so low I thought we’d lose several there, too, but they bounced back once the snow slipped off.

On Monday, the city came through with plows to clear the arterials, which is great, if you live on an arterial, but most of us don’t. One plow actually came up our cul-de-sac and our hearts soared, but it just turned around and left without making a damned bit of difference. So no plow. No sand trucks. No salt. Just a hey-how-ya-doin’ wave from the plow-driver as she abandoned us side-street residents to look after our own.

Today (Wednesday), I had to go into the office, so I bundled up and walked to the bus stop. The street was a combination of corn-snow, slush, and ice, and it was a real dilemma, deciding whether to trudge through the unsullied drifts like a Neanderthal, or do the crisscross pony-walk like a runway model down the ruts left by the tires of the few cars who’d braved our block. Going up the hills was relatively easy, jamming my toes into the snow to make steps as I walked the steep incline, but downhills were dodgy, and I learned that while walking like a penguin (keeping your center of gravity over your front foot) is a good way to avoid slipping, it’s tiring. I wouldn’t make a very good penguin.

But I made it to the bus stop with only a small bit of slippage and hand waving. The bus arrived, chains clacking against its wheel wells, and we rumbled on down the plowed arterial. On the way, every side street was either a slushy, rutted mess, or just plain snowbound. The college down the road brought out a backhoe to scrape the parking lot clear as best it could. On the main roads, all the cocky I-know-what-I’m-doing idiots had been weeded out (or quickly educated) and remaining drivers were being fairly responsible. For pedestrians, though, it is still an obstacle course, and will remain so for at least another couple of days.

The worst is past, though.

Onward.

k

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It’s quiet out there now. The literal calm before the storm.

Later today, Seattle is set to receive a buttload of snow, so I went out to provision our larder for an expected week of housebound activity (though I don’t think I got enough wine). The experience perfectly illustrated Seattle’s love/hate relationship with the white stuff. (more…)

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Storm’s A-Comin’

Pike Place MarketThe Pacific Northwest is in a tizzy today. Why? It’s gonna rain.

[I’ll just wait here until the laughter dies down… Okay… Finished? Good. Onward.]

Yes, it’s gonna rain, and it’s gonna rain good. We have a series of deep low-pressure cyclones heading our way, one of which is the remnants of Typhoon Songda, and the gradients are setting up to rival the historically massive Columbus Day storm of 1962: sustained winds (not gusts) of 50+ knots, 5–10 inches of rain in the mountains, flooding, power outages, The Works.

These storms are going to wallop us from today to Sunday; already the heavy rains have begun.

To prepare, yesterday we went out to get a few punkles of firewood. Our neighborhood is not prone to power outages, but this weekend may be the exception, so I thought it best to lay in a small amount of supplementary fuel. We drove up to WinCo, where they usually have a couple pallets of firewood out front.

Nothing but pumpkins. Ruh roh.

We went to Fred Meyer. Pumpkins. Central Market? Pumpkins. Safeway (yeah…right)…pumpkins.

The world has gone pumpkin crazy.

Hopefully the power won’t go out here or, if it does, not for long. We have a couple of punkles left over from vacation, plus a bin of scrap wood from old projects down in the garage. And there are some large branches in the back garden, trimmed and laid out as nurse logs, that I could chop up. We’ll be fine. Besides, these systems aren’t particularly cold, just wet and wild.

I hope to take a walk in the teeth of it, to enjoy the fury and strength first-hand.

See you on the far side.

k

Typewriter

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Simple LivingIt’s pissing down rain in Seattle. The lecherous wind tugs and young women’s skirts as they tick-tock their high-heeled way to work, and the few who bothered with umbrellas wish they’d left them at home. The sky is locked down in gunmetal grey and the sun is a dim memory, consumed by the overhead drear. It’s already been a long work-week for me, having put in three days’ worth before the end of Day Two, and I haven’t slept well for worrying about my family, still roiling from our matriarch’s recent death.

And yet, inside, I’m sunny. (more…)

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Simple Living

A storm rides in
On cold grey wings
Birds shun the sky
Trees turn their backs and hiss
Wires twist and moan overhead
The house sits back on its heels
I make coffee, sip, and watch

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Think Seattle. Think rain? Think again.

For the past fortnight, Seattle has been wrapped, swathed, and swaddled with fog. It’s been like living in a cloud. Foghorns call across the Sound, echoed by ghostly ferries out on the cold waters. Hillsides disappear, the Space Needle is missing its top half, and the sun has been replaced by a vague drear that illuminates the mist but provides no aid to vision. Heading up to the park-and-ride this morning, visibility ended a block up the street. Streetlamps, stop lights, and brake lights defined the roadway with glowing balls of light.

Overnight, temps drop into the 20s and the fog freezes as it touches down, creating slick, invisible ice and limning everything with hoar. During the day, the mercury barely gets its head above freezing, and the frost persists near houses and fencelines, wherever the weak sunlight cannot reach.

Drive up to the mountains, though, and you’ll break through the inversion layer. At 1000 feet, the sunlight coalesces into an orange ball above. At 1500 feet, you break through into open air and a cloudless sky. Temperatures soar, and you remove your gloves, your scarf, your coat, and walk in shirtsleeves through the warm sunshine. Below you is a sea of fog, bright white stretching from mountain to mountain, from the Cascades to the Olympics.

Tomorrow, Seattle will be reprieved. Tomorrow, a storm comes.

Think of Seattle. Think rain. Tomorrow.

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It fades, Summer does. It does not leave in a rush or slip away overnight. It fades, its brilliance seeping into the ground, the sky, the air.

At first, it cedes the night, relenting in the early hours, allowing the world at last to breathe and with a cooling sigh to sleep, finally, sleep.

Then the evenings fade. The sun, now tired from its summer’s work, runs low across the sky and gently slides toward twilight, returning hours it once commanded back to moon and stars.

Today, the morning faded, too, as gentle fog hid the buildingtops and seagulls mewed above, unseen. The streets were mist, the sky a blanket, and every streetlamp was a halo-shrouded gem.

The afternoon now is Summer’s only realm, but not for long; its threats are all worn out, its bark now has no bite. Flanked on either side by dewy morning and the star-shot dusk, it has no time to muster strength and soon will leave the field. The gold of summer grass will green, the green of summer leaves will rust and blaze, and Autumn, soon, will come into her own.

Summer’s nearly done. It’s fading as we speak.

k

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