Thursday, May 5, 2011

52 Weeks to Personal Genealogy Weather

Well Spokane has four seasons, but since we are 300 miles from the ocean, no hurricanes, and the mountains close by limit tornadoes. We are in the dry part of Washington so we do not get a lot of rain, about 15 inches a year mostly in the winter months as snow, but some years we do get a lot more snow. 2008 and 2009 were record amounts, but the winter I really remember was 1968-69.
I had just started my first year at Washington State University in Pullman. My parents had bought an Airstream travel trailer and I was living in it at the University Trailer court just down the hill from the university, but close enough to walk to classes each day. When it started to snow they just kept predicting occasional snow, and it just kept coming. Most years around here we get snow and then a thaw and a bunch melts before the next snow, but in 68-69 it just kept piling up as it was pretty cold that winter also. By mid January we had close to 4 feet of snow on the ground, and the coldest temperature ever recorded in Pullman -33 degrees (this was before wind chill so actual temperature). When it got that cold the pressure regulator in the back of the Airstream froze. The Airstream dealer had a new one so I asked my uncle if he could install the new one (he was a plumber). He did get it in and I learned that I needed to leave the closet door and the cabinet door in the bathroom open and then warm air could circulate around the pipes in the back of the Airstream.
I had a week off between semesters but my last final was from 4-6 p.m. and so I decided I would stay the night and head for Spokane first thing in the morning. When I woke up the next morning I could hardly believe my eyes. We got about 8 more inches of snow, but it had drifted as high as I had piled the snow when I dug out my car, so just the top of my brown car was showing above the snow drift. I turned on the TV and they said the road out of Pullman was closed by a 60 foot high snow drift and it took them two days to dig that out.
I did get home, but the trip to Spokane was fun. I was not in a big hurry and the road was icy in places so when a big Greyhound bus passed me and then fishtailed up the hill by St. John I slowed down even more. When I got to Spokane you could barley see other cars on the street corners so soon everyone had an orange Union 76 ball on their radio antenna.
University trailer court was in a flood plain for the Palouse River, so with all that snow I was worried when it melted I would be under water. The Palouse River close to the trailer park looked to me like a small creek, it was about 6 feet wide and a about 6 inches deep most of the time. We were lucky though as the snow melted slowly that year and we did not flood. I stayed there a couple of more years and never got flooded, but the year after I left they had about 4 feet of water where my trailer had been, glad I missed that.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! We had a lot of cold and snow my first year at Wazzu but nothing like that!



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