The Portland Arctic Blast: Surviving Winter Storms

My parents and sister’s family live in Portland, Oregon. The past two weeks they have lived through the Portland Arctic Blast. Snow, freezing rain and low temperatures have made travel difficult. It hasn’t snowed this much in the month of December since 1968. My father shares some experiences from the storm:

“This last weekend brought in a light rain and a temperature in the 40’s which melted away the snow that had been on the ground for about 10 days. It was amazing to see the snow disappear. The cities and counties around Portland have only limited equipment for snow plowing and removal.

Notice how this street was never plowed,
because there were no plows!

“We have lived in other parts of the country where storms like this one are common, and they would have cleared up the snow in one or two days. With limited equipment this area was able to only keep the main roads clear. Neighborhoods like ours were left snow packed for almost two weeks. Consequently, we did not leave the house for about ten days. This was not a problem for us because we are retired. People with jobs had to use chains, studded tires, and/or four-wheel drive vehicles. Fortunately we did not lose electric power. 

The power went off briefly four times during the two weeks. Each time for about 5-10 seconds. When this happens you hold your breath until it comes on again. Many people were not as fortunate as we, especially in outlying areas where trees brought down power lines. Many areas are still without power. The snow did break some limbs on the pine trees in our yard. One branch was 8-inches in diameter. But the falling branches caused no harm. Schools were closed most of the days. Church was not held for two Sundays. Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers were very faithful in communicating with the members of the Church. 

We had no problem with food supplies. We have a good supply of can goods and meat in the freezer. We did use our powdered milk. Because we did not lose electric power or natural gas we had no problem with the cold. In turn we have a good supply of warm clothing. We have an electric generator that can be properly connected to the house system if needed. Also, we have some gasoline in the garage, about 5 gallons. Indoor activities consisted mostly of the computer, television and reading. I imagine a house full of children would be a challenge. Love, Dad”

It’s nice to know that my parents were prepared!

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