Today is the day we’ve been dreading all week, when daytime temps at the Oregon coast hover around 30F and “icy rain” arrives. The week’s weather has been typically tumultuous and no undue cause for concern — just the usual rain, lots of hail, sporadic bouts of clear skies for walking Billie, more rain, all against a backdrop of daytime temps mostly in the upper 40s/low 50s and nighttime temps well above freezing. No recent frosty mornings. Very much in keeping with our recent upgrade by the USDA into zone 9a.
In early January it felt balmy enough that we were still taking Hannah and Billie to the beach.
And then this week rumblings started of what the Arctic blast might unleash at the coast. Shifting but portentous forecasts began to coalesce into solid predictions of “icy rain” for this weekend, particularly Saturday — I had no idea what that would look or feel like. (I covered some plants for the first time, feeling very smug and practical for doing so. But I think the uncovered Phormium ‘Pink Blush’ is toast and probably much else.)
Several hours into the day-long event, I have some observations to offer. Icy rain appears to be a very thin mist that barely registers to the eye as rainfall. It is neither sleet nor hail. Wind is picking up by the afternoon, but overall the event isn’t too scary. But try taking a step out of the house, and you’ll face the full slip-and-fall horror of the phenomenon. Nobody, not even foolhardy kids with delusions of immortality, are braving the sidewalks. The utility wires are accumulating dangerous loads of ice, and there’s already power outages reported in Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Netarts and Oceanside. Marty optimistically bakes oatmeal cookies — whether they see a warm oven before the power gives up is the game now. Fluffy snow, like we had last winter, is vastly preferable to this ice sheet that’s descended.
A quick visit south for the holidays revealed aloes about to bloom. More to say about new plans for the southern garden, the intricacies of local weather, wrapping faucets when ice threatens, our boundless love of the pellet stove, but I’ll post this while the power holds. Take care!