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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snowpocalypse hangs on

As Portland goes to sleep, the snow on the ground, having turned mostly to slush, may now be re-freezing, which could make the morning pretty interesting. Or not -- right now the thermometer reads exactly 32, when the forecast low was 34. Stay tuned to Storm Center 9000.2 -- when it comes to weather information, we're almost as good as walking out on the porch.

Comments (20)

Yes, but am I safe and if I'm not safe when will I be safe as not knowing if I am safe or not is quite stressful and I'm almost out of Prozac.

My wife and I are getting a good laugh out of how a couple inches of snow paralyzes the entire Portland Metro area. Here in Reno we had about 4 to 6 inches of snow two days ago, and most of the major streets and highways were plowed and cleared by commute time. Maybe if they weren't pissing away every transportation dime on streetcars and light rail in Portland, they might be prepared for snow every winter.

Dave A--you don't understand. It isn't the money, it's the environment. De-icer runs off into streams. If you run the trucks to put down gravel, you're burning gas and causing CO2 emissions. It's so much better to just leave things to nature and train those stubborn commuters to take MAX and streetcars. Even if the may be running late or not running at all.

"Dave A--you don't understand."

In Reno it appears they realize private autos are still in use. Portland believes those are antiquated means of transportation unworthy of funding improvements for.

Do you see hizzoner's tweets? Two things stand out: first, we're looking at a virtually certain permanent and total disability claim for carpal tunnel injury, as the person who calls himself Mayor has been on Twitter nonstop since the first flakes fell. Then there's the use of the term "snowpocalypse" — it seems to have been adopted as the official municipal terminology.

We’re about to go outside for a friendly little snowball fight. I hope the Portland Police can keep their guns holstered if they happen upon us.

One thing I can do without is the local weather people - the same group that didn't foresee this - getting smug while explaining what happened. Matt Zafino came off as an arrogant little know-it-all and my feeling was, "If it's so easy for you to explain in that condescending little manner, why didn't you predict it going in?"
Don't get me wrong: I think it's lame when they get too contrite or worst yet, take credit for sunny weather, but Matt always seems a little honked off after one of these, but not at himself, at the viewers.
Would it kill them just in passing to mention how sorry they were to have blown this forecast right out their asses? The traffic guy on KEX said it was the worst traffic gridlock in 20 years. Maybe the viewers would have appreciated a simple, "I'm sorry I didn't see this coming."
While I'm on a rant, I hate the overly dramatic explanations like this was the first snow in history. I heard one reporter breathlessly saying something like: "It turns out that the white stuff coming down is something called snow and it is made up of frozen particles of water. Worst yet this is related to something we've learned is called ice and when the streets get covered with snow and ice they can become slippery. Compounding this development we've since learned that tires - you know those round things on the bottom of your car - need traction with the road surface so if the tires are just spinning without getting any traction because of the snow and ice, the car does not go forward as it normally would. Back to you in the studio."

Two more TV-driven observations:

1. I think it was KOIN that scored a breakthrough in coverage by soaring way beyond the Deadly Sylvan Overpass and doing live reports from out near Banks/Cornelius. Surprisingly, it was snowing there, too.

2. That said, it was amusing to watch the rest of KOIN's live remotes. The reporting crew fanned out exactly one block away from the station in three different directions. It was a revelation to learn that traffic at Fourth and Main was just as backed up as the traffic on Third and Main.

C'mon, Bill, I watched the approaching "storm" and tracked the temperatures and didn't expect what happened either, and since getting a handle on weather is important to my work, I strive for accuracy, from NOAA to locals to the actual radar charts. Even during the onset of snow yesterday, the opinion of the general weather sources (not TV) indicated no accumulation to at most 1 inch. That changed in about an hour or so.

The PNW is notorious for unpredictability (can you say Chaos Theory Butterfly Effect?); one of the worst happened in Aug 1910 when the entire Northern Rockies blew up in a fire storm which originated from weather conditions in the Palouse.

Hmmm, 100 year cycle showing up again?

Steve, it is not solely private autos upon which our alleged, divisive mayor and his too closely held PBOT wage their campaign of incompetence. Bicycles also are stalled by snow and sleet.

Flow has long been the guiding principle for traffic in most American cities. It has become an alien concept in this poorly managed metropolis. Stasis has become the frequent default position.

But there are no apparent sanctions for absent leadership, abominable management, and ineffective execution.

I've been predicting the weather since I was a little tyke on the farm in Montana. I called it first thing in the morning just by the way the sky looked and felt. Told my husband and my co-workers. Maybe I can get a part-time gig??

Thawpocaplypse? Meltpocalypse?

Hmmm, 100 year cycle showing up again?

Cycle? I thought man caused everything?

Maybe that one comment about blowing the forecast threw off my intentions here.
It wasn't the fact that they didn't get it right. It was their attitude about it. If you're working for the public and the public is having a bad day driving home from work, being a little apologetic about that is good business. It is the right thing to do even if in your heart you know it is not really your fault.
Let's say a banquet captain was waiting on a hotel wedding reception after the cars were broken into during the church service and the wedding party had been robbed.
You know it's not good when the wedding reception is interrupted for interviews with the police. In other words it was a bad experience, just as yesterday's commute was a bad experience.
I as the banquet captain could appear unaffected because I have done my job and it is not my fault.
I have held up my part of the bargain in a technical sense. Or I could say, "Look, you came here for a wonderful time. It's not turning out that way, and I want you to know I'm sorry. I feel badly about it."
In my opinion while I was watching Matt - the attitude was, "See that buffet line? See that cake? I did my job - I can't predict everything here." But he took it even farther.
Banquet Captain Matt was in effect giving the wedding party a lecture saying, "This is why it happened. This is why you got robbed at the church. You should never have left the stuff in the car anyway." He had the wrong approach for someone working with the public based on my years of banquets.
Incidentally, at the end of that wedding the people approached me and thanked me as the banquet captain for doing what I could to turn the situation around and try and make it fun. What made it ironic was that the father of the bride was a New York City judge who came all the way to Portland to get robbed.

Matt had an opportunity to endear himself to the viewers by handling it a little more gracefully even though it was not his fault.
He should lose what is - in my opinion - a smug know-it-all demeanor. If the public suffers through bad weather, he should at least appear to be suffering as well.

When I stepped outside my office yesterday afternoon at about 2:00pm I noticed that it was cold and I thought that we might expect a little snow. When the traffic on 82nd drive in Gladstone slowed dramatically at about 4:00 pm I decided that we should all bolt for home. I managed all this without reference to KOIN, FOX, NOAA etc. Pretty cool huh?

"...all bolt for home." Well the front of that effort made it ok, but the followers a bit later....instant insanity.

Bill, I saw you were getting on Matt's case as well, but I wasn't so sure why. I agree he's arrogant. Hid demeanor only strengthens that feeling.

I didn't watch Channel 8 as Channel 8 simply faded from existence in this neighborhood about the time digital went on line for good.

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck looks like a duck......

Speaking of which, any predictions for New Years day?

"Speaking of which, any predictions for New Years day?"
Ducks by 3 over the Buckeyes. Weather? Hazy.

100 year cycle

Doesn't matter how old it is. With two skinny wheels, it doesn't work worth spit in the snow.

All this over a few inches of beautiful snow. More infrastructure, less taxes!

laurelann, ditto me. "I called it first thing in the morning just by the way the sky looked and felt."

I sorta don't get why folks get so concerned with it, the Sensation O' the Day. There must be more interesting and important things in their lives to spend time on ... or, maybe not, and that's really sad.

About 7:pm I got in the bald-tired rear wheel-drive car, somewhere around Oregon City, and drove to the airport to pick up my son coming in from NY at 7:45. I was on time, the plane was on time, and we made up for lost time together jabbering all the way home. The traffic was same old same old -- steer around the incompetents. He never mentioned the snow as unusual, just more of the same as where he came from.

FWIW, my winter weather forecast (said in September) based on stargazing, says extra cold around here, such as 10 to 20 Farenheit for a week or two or more during the mid-January to March 1st weeks, under clear skies, dry, slightly below-average precip. That's 4 or 5 days before and after the next Full Moon, and if the skies are clear we can watch for it. If the 'dry' part is wrong and we get the usual wet, then it'll be snow not rain. We already had a foretaste of the cold and dry, and windy, the week before Christmas. Others may do what they like to prepare, but for me antifreeze is higher priority than snow tires. Also, insulate water pipes; keep a couple of water-cooler jugs full, set aside.

Jack's light-hearted StormCenter9000.2 parody of all the commotion is my attitude, ditto.

- -

Also, Jack's 'Paulson = Pariah' observations is how I see it, too, and much more important to be concerned about and talking over, like, on TV news and on everybody's mind -- spread the word. Make him take his soccer ball and head out of here.


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