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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Elevation 253

That's where Portland Maps puts our condominium.  At the elevation of 253 feet above sea level.  Downtown Portland is apparently at 180 feet.  The Portland Airport, out in Northeast Portland not too far from our house, sits alongside the Columbia River at 20 feet.  Which can be a problem if the river crests during a flood.  There are a more than a few higher areas of our county -- Mount Tabor 400 feet.  The West Hills can be more than 1,000.   We're all over the map here as far as elevations go.  And just an hour to the east or north can send you right straight up to the pinnacle of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, or Mount Adams...all at over 10,000 or so.  And to our west, betwixt us and the Pacific Ocean, is the Coast Range at upwards of 5,000 feet. Here's a list of a variety of Portland elevations

So, when the weather reports roll in here, it all depends on precisely where you live as to whether you'll have rain, snow, a mix, nothing, sun breaks, etc.  There are no rules.  Plus, if you live out on Portland's east side, you can often be under the wild influence of the Columbia River Gorge winds.....which can bring heavy wind to that section of the city along with cooler temperatures and even ice...just in that part of town.  It's weird. 

The snow is falling right now at a rate of 2 inches per hour at Mount Hood (that's where the big old ski lodge is located that you'll see in the opening scenes of Steven King's The Shining).  2 inches an hour!  And we need it up there because that's our drinking water for this summer.  So here in Portland, again, overnight they were forecasting 1-3 inches of snow....depending on your elevation and all of that.  We got nothin'.  Except for rain.  We're in the middle of a giant winter storm which typically means rain for the Portland Metro area.  It hasn't stopped in more than 24 hours.  No, suurrriousssly, it has not stopped.  Flooding, creeks and rivers are high, logs begin to jam the waterways, and the Willamette River which runs through downtown Portland gets closer and closer to Portland's nine beautiful bridges that traverse the Willamette. 

In spite of what much of the world believes, we don't typically get days and days on end of rain.  Even in the winter.  I like to say that we get "many days of some rain."  It does rain, at least to some degree, on a variety of days.  We get around 36 inches per year.  And lucky for us, we actually like the rain and ominous gray skies.  But the periods of time where it rains without stopping for long periods of time are pretty limited.  And the thing I like most about Portland is that it doesn't get socked in under snow like many places do.  We have only had a smattering this year.  And the temperatures do get below freezing sometimes but never for any length of time.  Much of our winter is spent with lows in the 30's and upper 20's perhaps.  Mild, really.  The crocus have been up for weeks, trees are beginning to have buds in them, and the pink flowering cherry trees along the river are in bloom.  I like Elevation 253.  A.  Lot.  


Michael said...

I'm at 188'.

wcs said...

I thought you didn't like talking about the weather... ;)

Cubby said...

Thanks for the very interesting post. It's more incentive for us to check it out someday. Greg's been saying he'd love to visit there since the day I met him (literally, we talked about places we'd like to visit).

anne marie said...

NOTHING is blooming around here. my daffodils are beginning to stick their blades out of the ground, but no crocus, no tree buds, no NOTHING. depressing, I tells ya!

but then again, we just got rid of the last snowstorm droppings. all we need is some warm weather and a baseball game...(sighs)

savante said...

Love rains and cloudy skies as well. Unfortunately I'm now in a city where it's blinding sun and cloudless skies! All the time!

bardelf said...

Our house is at approximately 15 feet above sea level. Yes, the area floods during hurricanes!

Ron said...

Here on the east coast of the First State, the daffodils are just begging to show their yellow supremacy. Lots of wind and cold around here still. Philadelphia Flower Show next week! Best in the land!