Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grappling With Graupel

This stuff is graupel.

For the past couple of weeks in Bend, we've been treated (using the word in a general sense) to occasional showers of graupel. Graupel is snow that takes the form of pellets. It is created when layers of rime accumulate around snow crystals.

In appearance, graupel resembles those small white plastic pellets that you'll find inside a beanbag chair, should you be unfashionable enough to still own a beanbag chair and foolish enough to cut it open. Graupel looks like hail and is easy to mistake for hail on first glance, but it's soft. You can tell graupel from hail when it's falling because graupel doesn't bounce.

I had never seen graupel before moving to Bend, and my reaction the first time I saw it was along the lines of: "What the fuck is THIS shit?!?" But after two and a half decades in Bend, I have lost the ability to be surprised by anything that falls from the sky. If flaming toads started falling from the sky in Bend it wouldn't surprise me.

Graupel almost never accumulates enough to cause any problems, so we take it in stride. It's just part of the ever-changing, never-ending pageant of suckiness that is Bend weather.

Postscript:  Just drove home from taking Mrs. M's car to Les Schwab to get the studded tires taken off (another absurd aspect of life in Bend that I'll blog about someday) and rode through a pretty intense graupel storm. What's the verb to describe graupel coming down? Is it "graupeling," as in, "It's graupeling really hard now"? Does anybody know?

23 comments:

Jack Elliott said...

"You can tell graupel from hail when it's falling because graupel doesn't bounce."

I must be made of graupel.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that for many of the almost 30 years that I've lived in the Salem-area, I'd only seen a handful of hailstorms. That is, up until recently?

Of late they've become quite a regular occurence. Not rising to the level of nuisance just yet, but another troubling and depressing trend.

Over the weekend an old friend from San Diego stopped in Salem on his way home from Seattle. We talked old times to be sure but I HAD to ask him about SoCal's Non-Summer las "Summer"? He's lived there since the late 80's ( Lajolla ) and said he'd never seen anything LIKE it!

Many/most days in the lower/mid 60-s with virtually all of their sunshine taking place between 4 and 6 pm. Gauging THIS "Summer" will make for interesting weather-watching? Another drab/cool summer in SoCal would prove to be very telling trend-wise!

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, March 22nd - 6:00am



The first days of spring not looking much different than the last days of winter. March has been very wet and unseasonably cool. So far this month Portland has had 5.06" of rain that's more than twice of normal.

Our daytime high for Portland should be 57 degrees. we've not seen that in the last 7 days. As a matter of fact this month we've been 4.5 degrees cooler than normal.

(Fr: KATU ) Ah... 'Spring'?

H. Bruce Miller said...

It's the damn Pacific Decadal Oscillation. We're in for 10 years of even-suckier-than-usual weather.

Jack Elliott said...

Can we also count on ten more years of even gripier-than-usual griping?

H. Bruce Miller said...

If all goes according to plan, I will be long gone from Bend and its suckiness in 10 years.

Anonymous said...

It's the damn Pacific Decadal Oscillation. We're in for 10 years of even-suckier-than-usual weather.

To be fair, I've come to such a low... I have basically NO expectations about the Month of March whatsoever. Gone are the days I'd breathlessly log-on and check the weather report with a keen eye toward the developments shaping toward the weekend! Like, first thing every morning?

It's so pointless and a waste of energy/emotion it isn't funny. If there's going to be an awesome weekend ( or just a 'day' ) trust me you'll be hearing about it from plenty of other people not as far along the curve as yourself.

THEY are still holding out hope there'll be some sort of Longshot Suck-Abatement Window, if only for "the morning" or a few hours. They'll let ya' know. Why get invested in it? Completely abandoned. If you're going to throw energy at it ( try checking Vegas' weather or any other place you'd 'rather' be? )

Anonymous said...

Can we also count on ten more years of even gripier-than-usual griping?

I fully intend on being a Part-Time Resident ( and Filer ) in as little as (2) years. But you'd better believe I'll still drop by to complain as loudly and longly as Blackdog keeps up this Monolith Of Warning To Others!

Put simply, I couldn't TAKE another TEN YEARS of this abysmal CRAP. Hell, I'm barely hanging in there 'now'? Besides, I'm convinced my health ( and sanity ) simply won't ALLOW it. Leave of your own accord or wait for Doctor's Orders. Up to you.

Anonymous said...

Curious to see how this played out for other folks but my latest revelation doesn't bode well. Particularly for the pocketbook?

Unlike pleasant and seemingly endless Spring and Summer Days ( witnessed nearly everywhere ELSE in the Lower 48 ) where the weekends expenditures consist of a few beers and something to "throw on the grill"? Drab weekends are EXPENSIVE!

Everyone has seen enough of the -inside- of their house and is willing to just about anything to get OUT of it! This.Costs.Money. Pure and simple. I'm guessing between dining out ( several times over the weekend ) movies, SHOPPING etc. Drab Weekend can easily run $400 to $500 and beyond!

Controversely ( sun tanning is more or less FREE! ) The longer "Spring" drags out, the broker you find yourself come the Six Weeks Of Summer. IMHO.

H. Bruce Miller said...

That's an interesting thought. Many years ago the local paper ran a story about how Bend ranked No. 1 in the country for video rentals on a per-capita basis. (That was in VHS tape days.) Seems that despite the puffery about Bend being an "outdoor recreation paradise" and having a "healthy outdoor lifestyle," there was a lot of indoor couch potato lifestyle going on too. And I bet that's still true. Only hard-core athletes and idiots want to recreate outdoors in the kind of sucky weather we have eight months out of 12.

Anonymous said...

"Only hard-core athletes and idiots want to recreate outdoors in the kind of sucky weather we have eight months out of 12"

If the shoe fits!?

Of course now with as many rentals taking place "online" it's just about impossible for anyone to 'track' that?

One thing the wife and I have found helps is; actually plotting out your damned weekend! Taking a wait-and-see approach to The Drear is a recipe for disaster. And that's not just saying "movie on Saturday and... church function on Sunday?". Tried it, don't work. Too many unaccounted for hours to peck each other to death.

And what happens to couples chained to the same house? You argue. It's only natural. Sleeping in doesn't help matters much. Especially when it's dark by 4 pm. Maybe we could change the blog-focus from Suckation to Coping With Oregon Winters?

My eldest daughter and I plan to build an atrium of 'some' sort out at their new property. Let you know as get more settled on a design.

Anonymous said...

Just now hearing that we are setting RECORDS for Oregon. If I'm understanding correctly, this is as long as we've gone into a new year without having at least (1) 60 Degree day!

Has anyone else heard same? Just curious. Sure 'sounds' right?

H. Bruce Miller said...

Supposed to get into the 60s in Bend today -- don't know what's going on over on the west side. I don't mind the cool/cold temps so much if only the damn sun would shine once in a while. The local TV weatherman said we've had 16 straight days of gray. I believe it's really more like 21. But I haven't been keeping a log.

Jack Elliott said...

"...don't know what's going on over on the west side."

West side's the best side, man.

Over here on the fashionable west side, the warm front blowing up from the southwest has already brought the low 50's and it's only 9 am.

Anonymous said...

http://www.oregonlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2011/03/marchs_record-breaking_cool_sp.html

Record BREAKING Suckation!

Again, if you need yet more 'proof' we're in the clutches of The PDO ( I don't know what further I can provide? )

To get a better appreciation of what this means, substitute Marlon Brando's use of the word "Horror' in Apocalypse Now w/ "Suckation" and you kind of get the idea?

The Suck...ation...

The... Suckation...

H. Bruce Miller said...

I was referring to the west side of the CASCADES. Snob.

Anonymous said...

has already brought the low 50's and it's only 9 am.


Ew...! I'm coppin' WOOD! Lots of chicks in bikinis I'm sure...

Jack Elliott said...

"I was referring to the west side of the CASCADES."

I know, I know. I was just being a dick.

Just finished raking tree debris off the lawns. Looks like we have a few patches of snow mold on the north terrace.

Anonymous said...

Damn, one of the best winters since 92/93. Sorry about your luck!

You guys must drank buckets of koolaid if you're still stuck here...bummer!

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Best winters"??? "Best" must be defined as "shittiest" in your dictionary.

Wish I was in Bend said...

WTF is wrong with you people? I envy anyone that has managed to relocate to the Bend area. I spent countless hours and money driving back and forth from the coast to Bend every chance I get. If you whining sniveling little bitches care to experience what a truly shitty winter is then I would be happy to trade places with you. Spend a winter in Depoe Bay or Newport then go home and enjoy your MILD winter and incredible summer along with an incredible town. You people are fucking stupid!!!

Wish I was in Bend said...

WTF is wrong with you people? I envy anyone that has managed to relocate to the Bend area. I spent countless hours and money driving back and forth from the coast to Bend every chance I get. If you whining sniveling little bitches care to experience what a truly shitty winter is then I would be happy to trade places with you. Spend a winter in Depoe Bay or Newport then go home and enjoy your MILD winter and incredible summer along with an incredible town. You people are fucking stupid!!!

H. Bruce Miller said...

That was a truly idiotic comment, "Wish." It displays the provincialism typical of so many Oregonians, who can barely imagine the existence of a world beyond their state's borders. The Oregon coast and Bend are not the only two places where it's possible to live.

Also, while I fully agree that the Oregon coast is shitty, that doesn't mean Bend doesn't also suck.