Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gone With the Wind

Big rain- and windstorm blew threw here, starting Saturday and continuing through yesterday. It was a one-two punch -- gusts as strong as a C-3 hurricane raked the Oregon coast -- 129 mph the officially recorded high, not far from where we usually park our camper when we go. Mondo rain. Close to five inches here, twice that in the coastal mountains. Big flooding.

We had fifty mph winds in Beaverton, and luckily, only had a few little branches come down from our trees.

By Sunday, most of the north coast was without power, still is, and all the roads leading to the coast from Portland were closed -- either by high water or felled trees. The highway crews were using snow plows to clear the roads so many trees were down, and I-5 north is still closed in spots because of worry over bridges collapsing. Amtrak's tracks were buried in mud north of Vancouver.

Lot of folks tried to drive on flooded streets wound up killing their cars -- shorted electrical systems, water up the tailpipe once the engines died.

The little creek down the street from our house was up over the nice, expensive new bridge the neighborhood association had built last year, and the ducks were swimming next to people's houses. Nasty.

Among the casualties was the world's largest Sitka spruce. My wife used to work for the company that owned the land upon which the giant stood, one of the last of the old growth trees there. It was off Highway 26, and when we took that route to Seaside or Cannon Beach, we'd stop and have a look.

Tree had been ill the last few years, dying, rot setting in, and there were warning signs not to get too close.

The windstorm finished the tree; snapped it off seventy feet up. Seven hundred years old, they say, that Sitka spruce.

All things must pass.


Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

I'm gonna miss that tree.

Drove to Eugene and back yesterday, through no fault of my own. It took me three times as much gas to get there as it did to get back (as near due south/north as makes no difference). Luckily I-5 in Oregon is pretty well drained: there wasn't any real flooding, but enough water on the road surface that the semis were throwing bow waves you could surf.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, me, too. First time I saw it, I teased Dianne, who was working for Crown-Zellerbach.

"Wow, think of how much toilet paper you could make out of that!"

Water is down here. Johnson Creek, our local duck-float, overflows if somebody sneezes into it, and we had a couple road in the neighborhood shut down.

Most of the neighbors did better this time than in '96.
If I hadn't had a pump working all day and all night in my crawl space back then, we'd have all drowned in bed -- had eighteen inches of water under the house when the pump went in, and if the power had died, we'd have been in real trouble.

This time, it was hardly even wet down under. Of course, we landscaped the yard after the last big flood to try and keep it that way.

I would not want to live on the bank of any body of water in Oregon. Like living on a wooded hillside in Malibu. Either rain, mud, or the fire will get you eventually.