We had a little bit (a smattering, really) of snow in November and then nothing. As we have watched story after story about everyone else in the country getting hammered by yet another “worst storm ever!” we Portlanders continued slogging through our endless winter rains with no flake in sight (though many predicted.) “It’s like everyone has been invited to the snow party but us!” wailed one commenter on a local blog. By February 1, I had given up on there being a Portland-based snow party this year. But then near the end of the month: snow!
I would say it was entirely unexpected, except that the weather people started predicting it more than a week early. Snow was “certain” they said as I harrumphed through their forecasts. In Portland, when snow is forecast all anyone anywhere can talk about is the impending snow. When will it happen? How much will we get? Will I need to stock up my pantry?*
Growing up, I lived in a place it did snow and life just went on. In fact, my school district never had a snow day until my sophomore year of high school, that’s how much life ground on. I am in full support of the city screeching to a halt once the snow arrives, but I cannot stand everyone making plans for the snow day that is most likely not going to occur.
Today’s “certain” snow did arrive, a fact that surprised me. But it wasn’t the seven inches forecast a week earlier. It wasn’t the “several inches” forecast a few days before. It didn’t start at 4:00 pm and snow heavily through the night with major accumulation on the valley floor as they predicted the day of. At 5:00 in the morning there was a half inch of snow outside my North Portland home and the roads were fine. I went for a lovely walk figuring that, at best, the west side schools might have a two hour delay, but that everyone else would have school as usual. I arrived home to the happy news that there would be no school in any Portland Public Schools on this snow day.
The sun came out, the snow melted and the day went on. But I got my snow day, my walk in the newly fallen snow and a long morning nap buried under layers of covers. It was heavenly.
*The answer to the “stock up your pantry?” question is most likely “no.” When it snows in Portland it inconveniences people for a day usually, maybe two. Do you need to rush to the store and snap up enough food for three weeks? No, no and no.