We were barely halfway through December when the weather service declared it our wettest in 60 years. I wasn’t surprised. After two weeks of near-daily rain I don’t bother checking the weather forecast anymore. On my way out the door I put on my full-coverage raincoat and rain boots, double bagged my laptop and stow it in my hardiest Dutch panniers along with heels and a second pair of tights. Is this what it’s like to live in Portland?
While 7.43 inches in a month may not sound exceptional, in our semi-arid climate it’s about half our yearly total of 15 inches, and almost twice the meager 3.8 inches we got during last year’s drought. In a normal year, the Guadalupe’s trickle is more creek than river, but last week the Guadalupe lived up to its river name. Add a few bateaux or pirogues and it would look like a respectable bayou back home in Louisiana.
When the “storm of the decade” was forecast for last Thursday with 35 mph winds and heavy rain, there was a brief moment when I considered working from home or driving to work instead. Curiosity got the better of me, though, and I’m glad I went for it. The tailwind was 20 mph at best, the rain was steady, but not blinding, and I got to see the river go from normal to flooded to normal again within 24 hours. It was worth getting a little wet.
What’s your bad weather limit on the bike? At what point do you decide it’s not worth it and drive or take transit instead? How heavy a rain, how low a temperature or how much snow on the ground does it take?