Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our Sucky "Inversions"

We are currently experiencing a particularly sucky weather phenomenon, common to Bend in winter, known as an "inversion."

When an inversion happens, a blanket of (relatively) warm air slides in on top of a layer of cold air, trapping the cold air beneath. A layer of cloud forms where the two layers meet, producing a cold, gray, gloomy, dreary weather situation.

Often the cloud layer extends all the way down to the surface, producing fog. And when the air is cold enough -- as it usually is in Bend in the winter -- we get the delightful phenomenon of freezing fog.

Until a new weather system moves in to push the blanket of (relatively) warm air away, the inversion will linger -- often for a week or more. You haven't experienced the full suckiness of Bend until you've been through 10 days of an inversion with sub-zero temperatures and freezing fog.

What makes an inversion doubly infuriating is that it happens during periods when high pressure dominates, so if it wasn't for the sucky inversion we would be enjoying clear, sunny skies. During an inversion the tops of the nearby Cascades mountains are cloudless, as they are today. (See Mount Bachelor's webcam.)

Bend's inversions are so famous, or notorious, that the locally based Deschutes Brewery has named one of its ales in its honor -- Inversion IPA. Only in Bend would people actually celebrate sucktackular weather.


Jack Elliott said...

"Only in Bend would people actually celebrate sucktackular weather."

Better'n griping about it, y' old curmudgeon.

blackdog said...

Only if one accepts the premise that it is better to be delusional than to face reality, Pollyanna.

Jack Elliott said...

Staring into the abyss of hard, cold, reality would unnerve even the best of us. Grumpy.

blackdog said...

Reality is what it is. Sometimes it's terrific and sometimes it sucks. I don't see what's gained in the long run by pretending that the sucky parts don't exist or that they don't really suck.

And I'm not grumpy; look at my picture. Didja ever see a happier guy?

Jack Elliott said...

Life is what you make of it. Besides, that picture makes me think you're up to something.

Yonatan said...

I just moved to Bend and I was dismayed at its rather sucky and not so sunny winter days. I have decided with the horrible roads that are never de-iced that I want to get out of this place. Also, people in Bend are anti-social, stuck up and in general not so friendly or outgoing. I decided I am going to move to FLorida to get some "Southern Charm" and "Warmer Weather".

Thanx Blackdog for being honest and open. So many Bendites are really naive and arrogant if you try to discuss these issues. The beer is on me for telling the truth about this town.

blackdog said...

Yonatan: If you look at the objective data, Bend actually has about the same amount of sunshine, year-round, as notoriously gray and rainy Portland, and both are well below the national average for sunshine almost year-round. Portland gets more rain but Portland and Bend both get about the same amount of clouds. And then we get the sucky inversions, which Portland doesn't.

"300 days of sunshine a year" is just a bare-assed Chamber of Commerce lie.