Monday, December 15, 2008

Storm Watch 2008


One of the many weather stories Portlanders tell is that of the annual (sometimes biannual) snowstorm. They say that when the snow falls the city shuts down. This is quite the understatement. After a couple of hours of the fluffy stuff falling from the sky, the authorities were on DEFCON 1 and local news stations moved to 24 hour coverage. With one inch of snow on the roads, they started requiring chains on the freeways. CHAINS.

Don't get me wrong, the weather is really bad. It was in the 20s with wind chill in the single digits and as the day progressed the roads became quite icy. I certainly wasn't planning on driving anywhere! But come on. I'm literally watching a press conference with the mayor right now telling people to check on your neighbors and talking about crew fatigue (road clearing crews I guess). He might be surprised to find out that similar weather conditions are quite common in a wide swath of the country for about 6 months a year in a phenomenon known as WINTER. Like my hometown of Montana for example, which had a high temperature yesterday of -10 degrees. And my 82 year old grandma was out going about her business like it ain't no thing. The schools in Portland are closed today. In my 18 year educational upbringing in Montana they closed the schools EXACTLY ONCE, in 1989, when it was -40 degrees with a windchill of -80 degrees.

(Wow, I actually just found a website to verify that outrageous claim! Check out #4 on this page of "Top 10 Montana Weather Events in the 20th Century" Also note the blurb about the train explosion which occurred about 6 blocks from my house and shut down power to most of the town)

Anyway, I'll stop with the ranting and teasing now. Let me move onto my next point which is IT IS BEEEEE-YOUUUTIFUL! I have a bunch of pictures at the end of this little photo essay.

My best friend Inga was in town from Phoenix and we had a very fun time walking all around the city, doing some Christmas shopping, eating, drinking, and just catching up. We hung out with my other best buddy Deana who lives here- we've all been super close since 5th grade so it's awesome to spend time together. Inga really got to experience a range of weather while she was here- sun, rain, and snow!


We picked her up at the airport in the morning and it was pouring rain. But later that afternoon the sun came out so we grabbed our coats and headed out.

Inga (left) and Deana (right) on the North Park Blocks

Me and Deana stridin' it out

Posing at a random Christmas tree

Blue sky down by the river

It started raining hard again, so we took the streetcar home


Deana had to work so Inga, me, and Zach bundled up and hit the streets

This was another rainy day. We're in Jameson Park here.

Deana came over and we had a little party that night

Which of course lead to karaoke/interpretive dancing


When the snow started falling yesterday morning we threw on our swimsuits and went up to the hot tub which is on the very exposed and freezing cold roof.

After that, we dried off and headed out for a hot breakfast

My hair demonstrates the blustery wind

This was right after Zach threw a snowball at my head (on "accident"... riiiight)

Same place the umbrella picture was taken the day before

A snowy scene at the South Park Blocks downtown

Oh, one last story. So Saturday when Inga, Zach, and I were out shopping we encountered a spontaneous outbreak of the Electric Slide at Whole Foods. Let me set the scene: we are at Whole Foods, and a line of people are suddenly doing the electric slide.

Yes, I joined in. Yes, Zach took a cell phone video.

(if that doesn't work, try this link:


Sarah said...

Cincinnati does not experience snow with the same intensity and quantity as does my hometown in the famous "Snow Belt" of northeast Ohio; consequently, a snowfall which would make us Snow Belters shrug our shoulders, say "eh, whatever," and go about our daily business causes the Cincinnati area to go, as you put it on to a DEFCON ONE-like state of hysteria. One memorable year my brother (who lived in Cincy at the time) wrote me a hysterical email in which he reported that the local news stations were experiencing a weather-related orgy of epic proportions and they had just called the current snowstorm "WHITE DEATH." Yep, four inches of snow became WHITE DEATH. We still refer to any snowstorm as white death.

A few years back Michigan received a single-storm snowfall total of something like 12 inches which was considered monumental and brought the Detroit area to its knees. I was like, "Whatever, that's just another snowstorm where I come from!"

It's all a matter of perspective. :)

*aron* said...

ohhhh looks like such a FUN weekend!! LOVE all the pics - it just looks beautiful!! love the hot tubbing in the snow too :)

LOL @ the video :)

enjoy your snow!!!

Emily said...

I love that you got the electric slide video up. AWESOME.

I am jealous of the hot tubbing! Did I tell you about my new favorite brunch spot? Bijou - on 3rd and Pine/Ash. I had a really good omelet there on Saturday before I ran into you guys.

Gotta Run said...

Where was the music silly girl! TOO FUNNY!!

I need some girl time bad. I am in a house full of men who love to fart all day :)

Funny about the school closing. I must admit if a flake falls here it gets crazy with people buying milk in bread. LOL!!!

Burger said...

Nothing says 'happy holidays' to me like the Electric Slide.

Great photos!

the gazelle said...

I grew up in South Dakota, so part of me mocks the city when it they're all like "Winter Storm Watch, 2008". But, I lived in Los Angeles for 7 years, so the rest of me stays home & shivers (and it is wicked cold right now).

Alisa said...

I know, you'd like we were just hit with 10 feet of snow...instead of maybe 4 inches =). I'm a California girl BUT seriously, it wasn't THAT bad.

Looking forward to meeting you tonight!

Anonymous said...

The pictures look cold, but it doesn't look like enough snow for 24 hour news coverage or school closings. However, the same thing happens here in North Carolina. People freak out. Luckily Matt and I grew up in New England so we aren't afraid to step out the door.

Glad you had a wonderful time with your friends. The electric slip is crazy! Looks like people are in the Christmas spirit.

Bob - said...

LOL Electric slide at Whole Foods, too funny! Great pics,..

Happy Holidays Jen!

Marathon Maritza said...

I have so many thoughts on this post, I don't know where to begin!

1. Was it Comcast On Demand karaoke?
2. I'm jealous you all got to hang out!
3. I am not gonna say a word about the fact that it's like 40 here and I'm freezing my ass off. Not. A. Word.
4. -80 with windchill? Is that even possible? My mind cannot compute....whaaaaa????
5. Your grandma rules.
6. Did you nail Zach back with a snowball?
7. I miss you!

Sarah said...

Oh my gosh! It's like your life is a musical!! Love it! Good to see you again tonight. Definitely needs to be a regular occurance.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

That really does sound like the folks in Portland are pretty soft when it comes to snow. Of course, I come from a place where snowfall is measured in feet, not inches.

Amy said...

Ohmigosh I am dying about the Electric Slide in Whole Foods. So funny.

Being from MI it is so funny to hear they shut down Portland! I lvoed your post. Looks like you had a great time with your friends. Oh, and I LOVE going hot tubing in the snow. It's the best!

ShirleyPerly said...

How funny! I haven't seen/done the Electric Slide in Years.

I have to admit I've never lived in an area that got snow and your grandma would put me to shame. Glad you're enjoying everything Mother Nature is throwing at ya.

Julianne said...

Portland looks beautiful!!! I go up there every once in a while for work but it's never snowed there while I was visiting. Looks like you had a super fun weekend!

Inga said...

I love your rant!! The news channel was on Defcon1 for sure!! "Forget about going to grocery store - just borrow food from your neighbors!" Really? Thanks for everything!

Ewen said...

Whole Foods looks like a happening place!

I can see we'll soon be getting 'running in the snow' photos - very cool. By the way, remind me never to visit Montana in the winter.

Chris said...

Wow....weak. They need to ship all western Oregonians over to South Dakota for a week for some winter basic training. It was freaking -35 here with the windchill on Monday and -21 yesterday without any wind. Yeah, it sucks, but I'm fairly certain we'll survive. I'm not really looking forward to driving back to Montana for Christmas through a snowstorm though...