The local news has been tracking our rainfall closely this month, because early on, it looked like we would be breaking records for the most precipitation ever recorded in the month of February. We still have a week of the month left to go, but as official Portland records go, we have already made that designation. I don’t keep official records at the farm, but being well into the Coast Range and closer to the ocean, our total at the farm is higher than the 10 inches decreed for the city.
The average rainfall for Portland during the month of February is 3-6 inches. Any snowfall that accumulates is melted to see how much it would be in rainfall amounts. Snowfall doesn’t usually occur in the city during this month except for maybe a skiff or two. The snow of a foot or more that we had at the farm was an oddity even though we are at 1000 feet of elevation.
There have been several road closures around the area. High water has closed a stretch near Forest Grove for almost 3 weeks because of flooding. Sink holes have appeared in unlikely spots as the ground tries to re-route flowing water beneath roads and structures. Landslides have blocked major highways like Interstate 5 going North into Washington State, and many more rural highways in the hills surrounding the Columbia River. It has been a commuter’s nightmare. Even a couple of spots near our tunnel on Highway 26 had seen areas of land ending up on the road instead of residing on the hillside.
I look back on our two-day rush to plant seedlings and realized that had been the only 48 hour stretch all month that did not have measurable precipitation in one form or another. We were so fortunate to get the trees in the ground as quickly as we did. The trek up the hill with the trees on pack boards would have been a treacherous, muddy scramble if the weather had not cooperated.
I thought it seemed extra wet out there this month, now I have the numbers to back me up.