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At the Helm: A glutton for winter weather Print E-mail
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
February 12, 2011 04:00 am

There’s a saying in Curry County that goes: “No good day goes unpunished.”

In other words, a fair weather winter day on the coast will no doubt be followed by one packing a meteorological wallop of rain, wind and cold temperatures.

So what kind of pummeling can we expect following the nearly three weeks of excellent weather we’ve enjoyed?

Will Mother Nature shift her wrath from back east to the West Coast?

I looked at the National Weather Service’s short- and long-range forecast, and the answer appears to be: sort of.

A 50 percent chance of precipitation is predicted for today (Feb. 12), with a higher percentage of wet stuff the first half of next week. It’s a typical winter weather pattern for us. Of course, the forecast could be completely wrong and we could enjoy another week of fair weather.

It’s not that I doubt the abilities of professional meteorologists, it’s that I know just how challenging it can be to do so in our little corner of the world. Curry County is located on a section of the West Coast influenced by both southern-born and northern-born storm systems, making forecasts difficult at best.

Being an amateur weather buff (I took two meteorology courses in college and love the movie Twister!) I check the Internet daily to follow weather trends in our area and elsewhere. While others might surf the Internet for the latest gossip and Ebay deals, you’ll find me checking out the latest satellite and radar images.

I love watching the animated images that show massive storm fronts lumbering across the atmosphere toward unsuspecting humans. The “God’s eye” view of our world and the never-ending, always-moving patterns of precipitation put things in perspective. Each of us truly is just a spec on this giant blue-green planet of ours!

I, for one, am looking forward to more stormy weather. “Blasphemy!” you say? Perhaps, but I get bored when there is too much of one type of weather. It’s one of the reasons I left Southern California more than a decade ago.

I relish South Coast winters, which bring with them  the constant roar of the tumultuous ocean, the wind rushing through the trees, and the sideways rain pelting the window panes. Of course there is a price to pay: a leaky car window, a blown down section of fence or the occasional backyard flooding.

I’ve lived here long enough to know that we can get a run of good weather in January. I also know the Harbor Hills have received a dusting of snow in March, and downpours have dampened spirits at the Azalea Festival during Memorial Day.

As much as I like the sunshine, and despite the fact I’m looking foward to warm summer days on the Chetco River and local beaches, I’m not quite ready to bid farewell to the untamed winters of the Oregon Coast.

There’s something about experiencing the raw power of our planet’s climatology that makes me feel alive.

Winter time means constant change. It fits my restless soul. On any given day, I can visit a favorite beach and see a noticeable change in the landscape sculpted by rain, winds, waves and tidal surges. Rocks once buried in the sand resemble exposed, jagged teeth. A wide, sandy beach is pockmarked by tumbled stones, driftwood and piles of kelp. The mood of the ocean changes from bright to brooding in a mater of hours.

Of course, all this will change with the next storm, and the one after that, and so on. And that’s the beauty of it all.

If it’s true that “no good day goes unpunished,” then I’m a glutton for punishment.

Viva la winter!

 

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