We’re having the first (and likely only) snow of the year in the Portland area – already a few inches of accumulation, though it’s tapering off, and not expected to last. It will likely be melted by tomorrow.
Those of you reading this from cooler climes will wonder why this is blog-worthy, or even news worthy, but it is, and it will be the only thing the local media (Winter Storm 2007!!!11!) will be able to talk about for the next 24 hours. You see, Portland’s climate is such that snow is rare, so when it does come, it wreaks more havoc than you’d expect. Pretty much ALL of the public schools are closed today (Beaverton was a hold out until the last minute, though!), public transportation is messed up (all the buses are chained and running late, the trains are messed up, too), many businesses are closed, and non-essential things are more or less shut down all over.
Since it snows so infrequently, there are hardly any snow plows or sanders to clear the road. On my way in to Intel this morning, about an 8 mile drive on a mix of residential and highway, I didn’t encounter any attempt at clearing the road until I pulled into the Jones Farm campus parking lot (they have a front loader driving around, attempting to clear the snow, decaptiating several speedbumps, etc.). So while “it’s only a couple inches of snow”, it’s basically going to stay there, and get packed down and icy, until it melts.
The other thing that makes it scary for me to drive in the snow in Portland is the fact that many other drivers aren’t used to the snow, and they don’t know how to drive safely in it (GO VERY SLOW). I maintained a speed of about 20mph on most roads this morning, and there were more than a few people that passed me, and I cringe to think what happened the next time they tried to stop or make a turn. Which leads me to my next observation…
In my 8 miles or so, I had to pull over 5 or 6 times to let emergency vehicles pass (ambulances and fire trucks). Emergency crews are going to be busy today – hope they stay safe, and available to help those in trouble. Doesn’t it irritate you when people don’t pull over for emergency vehicles, especially on a day like today, when you know they ambulance or fire truck is going to have an even harder time getting around than you are in your little pickup or SUV?
Anyway, I’m at work now. It’s quiet around here. Lots of people working from home. Now to take advantage, and dive into the pile of things I’m going to try to get done today. Hope you’re warm and safe wherever you are!