Winter wonderland in Corvallis

Monday, December 15, 2008

OSU Webcam Oh no, Corvallis has snow. A paralyzing one to two inches of snow. Since inclement winter weather is such an uncommon occurrence, the town is always unprepared. All Corvallis schools are closed, except for Oregon State University, naturally. OSU campus looks post-apocalyptic because fall term final exams were last week, which means students and faculty aren’t coming in, and most of the staff is home with their kids.

What’s funny to me is that today would be a normal winter day for much of the rest of the country, but it’s like Armageddon here. Oregonians don’t know what to do. The snowfall had stopped by last night, and yet . . . almost nothing seemed to have been sanded, salted or plowed this morning. They didn’t even bother. OSU says: “Yellow alert,” come in to work if you dare. The Corvallis School District says: “Shut it down! Shut it DOWN!” I don’t know why the City of Corvallis isn’t doing anything. The roads are just going to refreeze and be even worse tomorrow because of the city’s negligence (or lack of resources for these situations?).

It is true, however, that Oregon drivers tend to be poor winter-weather vehicle operators. Because when do we ever get a chance to practice snow driving in the Mid-Willamette Valley? People around here burst into tears at the thought of driving with snow on the sides of the road. After all, there could be BLACK ICE! Still, others have their cameras out to document this remarkable, magical event like we’re in Disneyland. And I guess I can understand that. Last night, the moonlit snow was quite dramatic around midnight, since the moon is still almost full. The middle of the night seemed eerily like dusk.

At lunchtime, a woman I work with bought a mysterious “ice-snow scraper” object. She said she had used a plastic pancake spatula this morning to remove the snow and ice from her car. Isn’t that awesome?

Today’s “extreme” winter weather reminds me of some news from last week. For the second straight year, Corvallis was named the most secure small town in the United States, according to the fifth annual Farmers Insurance Group of Companies study. The “most secure” rankings took into consideration crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, life expectancy and job loss numbers in 138 U.S. towns with populations of fewer than 150,000. Read the article: “Corvallis is safety town for second time.” State College, Pennsylvania, my former hometown and the location of Penn State University, came in fifth for small towns.

According to the fifth annual Most Secure U.S. Places to Live rankings from Farmers Insurance Group of Companies: “Those seeking a place to live, work or raise a family in a safe and secure environment should consider the Pacific Northwest.” But maybe not this week.

Spider drawing by David Thorne Portland had some pretty bad weather in January 2007 too. This “Portland drivers in the snow” video is classic. LOOK OUT! I have three little children in my car!

Cold weather got you down? This is hilarious: “Man tries to pay bill with spider drawing.”

And this is kind of hilarious, in an incredibly depressing way: Bush dodges shoe and his reaction. Yes, an Iraqi journalist actually threw two shoes at President Bush during a news conference on Sunday, after which Bush flippantly smirked and giggled. Hooray for cultural competence in our world leaders! Let’s be thankful that it’s almost over.

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