“There’s a storm coming, Harry. And we all best be ready when she does.”

The leaves have not all fallen yet...
The leaves have not yet all fallen …

The immortal words of Hagrid are feeling pretty apt right now. We are smack in the middle of a triple whammy of storms here on the North Coast of Oregon. Meteorologists are all a tizzy. So far we have had wind, rain, hail, lightening and there was a tornado today in Manzanita. Whoa.

After 20 years on the Coast I am accustomed to wild winter weather. I have been stopped cold on my bicycle from a gust while commuting to work more than once. I have watched trees topple, and felt my house shake.  I lived through the Great Coastal Gale of December 2007 along with the rest of my community. A storm that broke trees off on all the ridges of the coast range, and sent crazy amounts of snow, and then water against the Cascades. The valley was so distracted with flooding that the coast had to alert the capital in Salem to our dire situation via ham radio.

“Many coastal residents did not receive warning of the severity of the wind event until after it had already commenced, illuminating a disconnect between Puget Sound (Seattle) television stations and the rural coast. Instead, the television stations focused much of their coverage on severe flooding in Southwest Washington.” Wikipedia

After the Gale every road into the coast was blocked by slides, flooding or downed trees. Electricity was out for a week or more, houses had their roofs ripped back like God had reached down with a big can opener.

So when they create buzz by talking big storms a-brewing, the visceral feeling lands like a thud in the gut. (Though invariably they compare it to the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, in which high winds reached the valley, and ignore referencing the 140+ winds we had on the coast during the 2007 storm.)  They say that this time the big nasty winds will arrive midday tomorrow.

While the East Coast still deals with the aftermath of their Hurricane, we prepare for our own tropical cyclone remnant to lash us with its might.  The Moon is nearly full, and so tides are extra high- add lots of rain and there is likely to be flooding in my neighborhood, though not at our house. Most of the trees still have their leaves, which could be an issue tomorrow when  the wind picks up. We have candles, and food. Our house is heated with wood, and our water and cook stove are gas, so life is fairly plush for us during power outages.

Today there was a pause, after the tornado that is, with bright sun. We went for a loop walk and the bay was filled with gulls, and the river strangely empty of ships – who have vamoosed out to sea to wait out the winds.  A strangely exhilarating walk – the wind was strong, but not crazy, feelings of expectancy cursing through me. So if tomorrow ushers in a week of no phone, and no electricity for the coast – assume that we are well, tucked up in our house against the hill, watching gusts push water up the river.  If not, well we know the folks with Ham radios.

Hold on to your hats loved ones.

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