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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pure as the driven slush

The heavy snow has turned to heavy rain outside Blog Central, and the accumulated white stuff on the ground is being turned into some ice cold, dirty slush puddles. The snow's stopping the flow to the sewers, and the rain's really coming down. Should be one heck of a sloppy mess to schlep around in this morning. Thank goodness we don't have to.

The scene on the street at the moment reminds us of our days growing up in urban New Jersey. After a big snow and a thaw, the slush hung around for weeks. When you stepped in one of those gray-brown puddles, you could never quite be sure how deep it was. If all you had on over your Buster Brown shoes were rubbers, and you guessed wrong about the depth, you'd be in for a rude awakening. Your Ban-Lon socks didn't do much against dirty, oily ice water.

One really nasty phenomenon was the refreezing of the slush, which made it pure death to try to walk or drive a car on. Fortunately for us here in Portlandia, we'll be having none of that. It's 37 degrees Fahrenheit and climbing now, and the temperature is supposed to be in the low 50s before the day is over. Such is winter in these parts.

Comments (6)

I was a little surprised when I went on the BBC site yesterday and saw a story about Seattle facing the snowstorm of a generation. Maybe our local weather people were suffering from snow envy, but I didn't hear them mention that. The overall effect for me was that the local coverage sort of downplayed the magnitude of a Pacific Northwest snowstorm, and you don't see that everyday.

Still, I'd have to say the weather people got this one right, and I withdraw my snarky theory from the other day. That one went something like this: Dark matter supposedly comprises 83% of the matter in the universe so maybe 83% of these snow alerts are not wrong after all - they just refer to a type of snow that can't be seen.

As I looked out the window last night and watched it snow, I realized our weather people had the last laugh...this time. It's annoying when they're wrong, but it's even more annoying when they're right.

Can you give us a live on-the-street report from a place where the snow was yesterday?

And please check the street gutters for any spent shell casings that may have become lost in the slush. The CSI teams haven't pulled any over-time in quite a while.

Oh, and biking in that slop should be fun, based on personal experience. Since the gutters aren't draining, any trip on the streets means lots and lots of slush spraying right up your butt, and fenders won't do a thing. (I once had no choice but to bike to work in a bad Dallas slushfall of exactly that sort, and the response from everyone at work, from the CEO on down, was the same: "What the hell is wrong with you?")

And it was another 50 years before I connected the deep black of that long-standing slush to why NJ seemed a bit unhealthy.

Up here in Brightwood we're stuck in our driveway, if anyone feels the urge to come "play" in the snow. Neither of our four-wheel drives (nor those of any of our neighbors) are going anywhere until it melts some or a plow comes by to do our road. Power just came on after being out since 10:30 last night too. Yay winter.

Ban-Lon -- good grief. Every bad-ass kid in east coast junior high school in the 60s wore Ban-Lon shirts. Not bad-looking shirts, but recalling the feel of the synthetic fabric makes my skin crawl to his day. Thanks for the memory, Jack. I think.

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