I’ve never thought of Oregon, especially western Oregon, as having a particularly harsh winter. I was expecting lots of rain, this is the “wet coast” after all, but I still didn’t think it would be harsh like the winters I was used to in Utah and Colorado. I especially wasn’t expecting a winter storm so severe it closed down our nursery for a week due to unsafe driving conditions and a lack of power and water. This wasn’t just a winter storm though, this was an ice storm, and wow it delivered a LOT of ice.
I had never experienced an ice storm before, so I didn’t know what to expect. People who have been here for a while didn’t seem too concerned about it, so I figured it wasn’t much to worry about. I thought “okay, it’ll just be cold for a couple of days, nothing too bad” and things will go on as normal. Plot twist, that is not what happened.
We finished our (first) week of extracting and packing firs and pines with relatively few problems, most of the problems weren’t real problems, we just needed to work the kinks out so we could effectively extract and pack 62,000 trees (yes, 62,000, I know, it’s insane). After a week of putting trees into boxes, I was ready for the long weekend. My co-intern and I had plans for most of the weekend, we were going to go hiking and shopping one day, then go to the coast another. None of those things happened because starting that Friday night, everything was snow and ice covered.
At first we decided to change our hiking plans from Saturday to Monday as it was snowing Saturday when we were supposed to meet up, we figured it was better safe than sorry. Then Sunday came and the road conditions were somehow worse than Saturday, so we cancelled our coast plans and hunkered down in our perspective homes. Fast forward to Wednesday, and my house hasn’t had power since Tuesday night, but it’s starting to warm up and rain at least. By this point, me, my roommates, and all of our neighbors had been trapped in our houses since Saturday and were all going stir crazy, so we all went outside and started shoveling the melting ice so we could try to escape. After hours of shoveling ice in the rain, we had cleared tracks for car tires down our hill to the main road, and after a couple of attempts and fixes, we were able to escape.
This was my first time experiencing an ice storm, and I have to say, I think I prefer the snow that Utah and Colorado produce. This position has been full of a lot of firsts, which has been very exciting, but this is a first I probably could have done without. Oh well, at least now I know to prepare better the next time Oregon has an ice storm.