What was that I was saying about a Chinook wind…

Back near the end of October I was noting that we’d had a real-live Chinook come through. I said that we’d have to see if it’s true what the old folks used to say.

Well, it is, so far.

Since the beginning of the week, we haven’t gone above freezing, which is about 15° – 20° colder than usual for us for this time of year. And today we have snow.

Our winds have been blasting at about 20 knots, often maintaining 40 knots; then gusts at least past 60 knots. The wind chill as shown on my old marine-type weather station is registering between -2°F and -20°F. The pellet stove is having a really hard time keeping the house warm under this kind of onslaught, and the furnace has had to run a number of times.

I went down our little narrow lane to the paper-box this morning with Wheaton, the Golden Retriever, and at first he was all ‘hippity-hop-happy’ to be out in the weather and the snow. It was the same kind of exuberance he displays when we’re at the ocean. But by the time we got to the box, he was sticking close to my side, to try to stay out of the wind. I have him generally trained not to ‘go #2’ until we get back to our property, where I really don’t care where he goes, and it helps the trees get some needed fertilizer. But this morning, he couldn’t wait and so had to ‘let go’ by the side of the lane, down in the flat open area where the wind REALLY gets going. Standing with my back to the ice-making mistral, I asked him why he couldn’t wait until we at least got to a wind-sheltered spot, but he had no answer for me… By the time we got up to the spot where the trees on both sides of the lane have overgrown it and thus give some wind shelter, I was glad to get out of the wind a bit; with the beginning of the tingle of frostbite on my cheeks.

Our weather is among the most difficult to  predict anywhere in the world; but the local folks (known as ‘weather-guessers’ to most of us in the Northwest) say that we’re going to get a break after Monday. I’m ready for it.

Update, December 9:

I have not ever seen it so cold for so long. We awoke to just +7°F on Sunday morning. I have lived in this part of the country for my whole long life, and this is a new record cold temperature for me. Now I know this is nothing to compare with back in the Midwest, but you have to consider that we have a whole big ocean not 250 miles away, which is a giant 45° heat sink. Given this much permanent heat/cold this close then, you can see why I’m amazed. I mean, I remember when it was considered REALLY cold to see 12° (which was the coldest I’d ever seen it, and that was in the early 70’s). 

So I guess you can consider the old wisdom about a Chinook as a warning.

One quick thing: I’d made some notes here about serving at the Men’s Shelter, but this event really deserves its own posting.



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