Just when you think the seasons have begun to change, you’re pulled up short by the weather forecast. You see we thought winter might not hit our area too hard this year. Temperatures were unusually warm for several days. Flowers are blooming early. Birds are singing and nest building. Sounds like spring, doesn’t it?
In fact, our white hellebores have been blooming for almost two months now. They are hardy plants and don’t seem to fear the weather.
We also have our first camellia blossom opening. It hid from us until one morning a few days ago. I happened to look out the kitchen window and spied it in its pink glory. A little ahead of the camellia that usually blooms first, this budding blossom must have thought winter was over too.
Well, don’t think too fast about your answer to the above question. Weather prognosticators and predictors have different theories on what’s happening here.
As I sat in my favorite spot today, I could look south and west and watch the skies. We live about eight miles southeast of Portland, OR, and that puts us close to the Willamette Valley. The Valley is a gorgeous area, home to several universities, many wineries, and beautiful landscapes in every direction. Our mini-forest sits near the valley floor, and we often dodge any devastating winter crises. We jokingly tell folks after a winter storm that we live in the tropics.
Last year during February over a four-day period of ice and snow in Portland, surrounding communities were hit somewhat hard. The storm that hit the area had a ratio of 10 inches of snow to an inch of ice. Large numbers of residents were without power, and some even beyond the four days of the weather event and its freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation.
We had nothing on the ground. We saw no snowflakes falling and heard no evidence of freezing rain going pitter-patter on our patio. If my memory serves correctly, there wasn’t even a hitch in traffic on our street, a busy one at commuter hours.
As we listened to the forecast on the late news last evening, we weren’t surprised to hear that there was the possibility of “bitter cold temps on the way.” Additionally, warming shelters were opening up to the houseless. And the powder on nearby Mt. Hood would be increasing over the coming days!
So far the only mention of snow and ice comes from the eastern part of the state. We heard about this not so much because of the weather, but due to a 100-car and truck pileup on Interstate 84. Images showed several inches of snow and possibly ice.
Throughout today we have enjoyed sun breaks, but it is colder outside than it has been at mid-day in quite some time. Mother Nature sure loves to toy with our minds and expectations.
Looking forward to spring,