Snowpacalypse Now! Snow Country for Old Men. February Flakefest. Snomageddon!
These are just a couple of ways residents of Portland, Oregon now it’s really not going to be all that bad outside.
Through the fault of no one in particular, weather forecasters across the city have been predicting doom and gloom on and off most of the winter and, as is typical in Portland, the result has been a lot more gloom than doom.
It’s hard to be mad at them though one woman wrote to a local station saying she thought it was typical that a man would promise seven inches only to deliver two.
It’s worth noting that there doesn’t seem to be any truth to the rumor that the weather guys were all paid off by Les Schwab or one of the other tire shops looking to clear their inventory of chains and snow tires.
And given the fact that Portland, despite being in the shadow of several mountains more than 10,000 feet tall, is unable to deal with snow on any sort of logical level, it’s important to let people know what might happen.
At the supermarket the day before the last “storm” people were lined up at checkout with carts full of supplies as if they weren’t going to be able to get out of their house for weeks once the storm set in. Even under the worst case scenario, it wasn’t going to be that bad.
But living in Portland with snow in the forecast is like living in a city filled with Jewish grandmothers: You never know… better safe than sorry.
But that’s what life is like in the city where there seems to be just a little bit of rain pretty every day. Certainly during those glorious days of summer (roughly July 5-13) when there is nary a cloud in the sky.
The rest of the time there is rain in one of its various forms. Forecasters in Portland seem to have as many words and phrases for it as Eskimos apocryphally have for snow. Rain. Showers. Scattered showers. Thunderstorms. Sprinkles. And, my favorite, filtered sunshine.
It’s often so wet in Portland that seagulls fly inland from the Columbia and Willamette Rivers only to find themselves disappointed. I don’t get it, the gulls say, if it’s this wet there really should be fish.
The thing you have to remember about rain in Portland can be summed up by looking at how Groundhog Day is celebrated.
While the rest of the country uses it as a barometer indicating whether or not it will be an early Spring, in Portland, it’s different.
In Portland, they take out the groundhog and if the little guy doesn’t drown, it means five more months of rain.
If it does rain, it also means five more months of rain.
And you have to buy a new groundhog.