On to the weather


Oregon weather is diverse and interesting, especially in winter when there are mudslides in the Coast Range (that close major highways and sometimes kill people), storms in the ocean (that sometimes kill people), and sneaker waves coming onto the shore (that sometimes kill people). I forgot to mention high winds (that sometimes kill people).

Meanwhile, the Willamette Valley (where I live) will be under total cloud cover with almost daily rain or drizzle, and this will continue practically all day everyday for months, so we too see a lot of flooding. I don’t know why people even bother to build houses in many Valley or Coastal areas because those houses are so clearly going to either be flooded, tumble off a cliff, fall into a river, or be buried by a mudslide.

The inland mountains get high winds, low temperatures, and heavy snows, but they can also get a lot of rain. Rainy winters reduce fatalities because no one wants to go to the mountains, but they also bum skiers, snowboarders, and lodge owners. Peggy loves to ski, and is a major fan of snow as scenery. I wouldn’t ski if you paid me (unless you paid me a lot), and snow gives me the willies. Any day that I can’t look out and see bare ground seems like a sick and twisted sort of day to me, and I think it’s a cruel and perverse climate that does such things.

Moving on to the two-thirds of Oregon that’s desert, snow depth depends upon elevation. I would guess that most of the desert lies above 4,000-feet (1.2 km), but some of the mountains are over 10,000-feet (3.0 km). The desert often gets really cold.

What I’m trying to say about winter in Oregon is that it comes in a lot of different forms, all of them damnable. Now compare that to my home state, Mississippi. You could hear the forecast for your area, and go to bed bored in the knowledge that your weather was going to be almost identical to the weather of everyone within 200 miles (322 km). When my father moved from Mississippi to Oregon, he was old and didn’t hear well. This made it difficult for him to know which of the many TV weather forecasts was the right one for our area, so he would sometimes amaze us with forecasts of several feet of snow or 120 mph (193 km/hour) winds, things that we knew were unlikely for the Willamette Valley. This greatly reduced our reliance upon my father for accurate weather information.

After all of this, I still haven't told you about all of Oregon's different climate zones, there being at least two more that I know about.

The picture is of two of the Pacific Northwest's infamous and amorous banana slugs. They grow up to 9.8 in. (25 cm) long, and so provide an excellent reason for not going barefoot at night, and for watching where you step in the daytime.

14 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

I have lived in Portland, Oregon, for thirty-three years and the weather here can be interesting. I don't think it rains here as much as people think but it is gray much of the time.

PhilipH said...

Weather it will, or weather it won't - Aye, there's the rub.
'Tis exceedingly bad in the UK at the moment, flood warnings for hundreds of areas, and no let-up.
Those banana slugs look just yukky and yeahky ... I wonder if the French have thought about putting them on some of their gourmet menus?

Charles Gramlich said...

The only similar feature in Arkansas where I grew up was the constrained rains. It might rain on one part of our farm but not the other. I was on the road one day and stepped back and forth across a line between rain and dry. it was surreal.

Marion said...

WHOA! Now that's a slug!! We used to get little slugs in our strawberry patch. I'd put out saucer's of beer and they'd crawl in and drown in it. (Which proves that most slugs are male....ha!)

We seldom ever see snow here and the weather fluctuates from humid and hot to not and back to humid and hot almost year-round. Today it's cool and raining. I'd love to see a real snowfall, but this is home and I attribute my dewy, wrinkle-free skin to Louisiana's high humidity. See, there's an upside to everything. LOL! xo

Strayer said...

Oregon weather is quite interesting and often dramatic but mostly gray and dismal in the winter, so much so that weather boredom sets in and many of us get downright excited over a predicted windstorm, or head to the coast if a storm is predicted, to be a part of it. When I was kid, growing up on the south coast, the normal weekend storm activity was to head to the jetties and climb out on those huge rocks and let storm waves crash over us. No safety helmets. No life jackets. Bad kids we were.

rhymeswithplague said...

Regarding Oregonian weather: Ewwwwww!

Regarding the slugs (which I first thought were squash): Ewwwwww!

lotta joy said...

I thought they were slimy bananas!

I wish we had settled down in Tennessee, or northern Georgia just for the beauty and closeness to my family in Indiana. But I've finally adapted to my new life in our particular part of Florida. (Unless we need medical care, then it's an emotional freakout for me.)

So there's something to be said for, and against, wherever we call home.

Helen said...

Is it time for me to spout my "I Love Bend" treacle?

Snowbrush said...

The Wikipedia article is a good one if you want to know more about the Southern Willamette Valley where I live in Eugene. It contains the following sentence that many of my readers will hate me for because of the misery of their own summers--and the misery of mine before I came here:

"The hottest months are July and August, with average highs of around 82 °F"


"I have lived in Portland, Oregon... I don't think it rains here as much as people think but it is gray much of the time."

Stephen, Portland gets 38 inches of rain a year and Eugene gets 51. My part of Mississippi got 61. However, Oregon gets nearly all of its rain during the winter, and much of that rain falls as mist or drizzle, so I had much rather have MIssissippi rain than Oregon rain. Of course, Mississippi rain often includes the threat of tornadoes, and I'm very glad to be away from those.

Snowbrush said...

I forgot to include the link to the Wikipedia article. I should also have mentioned that Portland is at the northern end of the Willamette Valley, and Eugene is at the southern end, with the valley being approximately 120 miles in length and 50 in width. Oregon is a huge stage, but most of its people live in the Willamette Valley.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene,_Oregon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley

All Consuming said...

I'm loving the slugs sweetie. And I still want to visit, even if tis hard work weather-wise, it's pretty crappy here too. I like the variety, but not so much that I wouldn't swap it for a good 7 months a year of warm with a slight breeze. x

Deb said...

I hear you have some amazing wineries there... always wanted to visit Oregon. I also never understood houses that were built in flood zones, ... or let's say even New Orleans. Just because a certain weather event hasn't happened in somewhat years doesn't mean it won't happen again. I live on top of a mountain one mile high, and the worst weather conditions we experience is very high snow, even if the bottom of the mountain is cleared, we'll have snow a week after everything's been melted. This is what I'm willing to live with...

Kerry said...

I know I'm crazy, but I like the rain, the drizzle, and the mist. However I bet it does contribute to your pain & from that standpoint it's an awful place for you to be in winter. Do you have a fireplace?

I didn't realize Portland got that much less rain than Eugene.

klahanie said...

Hi Snowbrush,

Ah yes, I'm very familiar with Oregon. Having lived in Vancouver, Canada, not to be confused with the Vancouver in Washington State on the other side of the Columbia river, right near Portland, Oregon.

A fascinating and informative read. And I remember having a stopover in Eugene. Those banana slugs would be quite the surprise to someone who had purchased a banana split and they used those slugs instead of bananas.

All the best and thanks for this.

Gary