Slight Breeze from the East
Well, it is a little breezy here in the Gorge this week. Trees are falling over, limbs are ripping through the air, litter is playing tag, rangers are trapped in their vehicles at Vista House, visitors are finding (and losing) their center of gravity, and newscasters are having a heyday.
It’s that time of year. Bitterly cold, dense air from the deserts in the east is ripping down the Gorge towards the warmer ocean and replacing the warmer, less dense air in Portland. The narrow passage between two different climates makes the Gorge the perfect place for this kind of gap wind. Wind can be fun (I simply love it), but extreme wind is reason for extreme caution.
Check here for the weather at Vista House, Crown Point: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pqr&sid=D6193&num=60&raw=0&banner=off (NOTE: 1/24/2014: Our wind gauge is not currently reading correctly; actual wind speeds and gusts are HIGHER.)
Our Rooster Rock webcam shows conditions on the Columbia River: http://www.pdxgreen.com/RoosterCam.aspx
Heading out into the wind? Here are a few things to think about . . .
Secure Your Stuff
There are two fates for the loose objects outside during high winds. They either a) become lost or ruined or b) become projectiles injuring people, pets, or property. Neither one of these is good.
Watch Your Face
You know that fancy backpack you’re wearing for your Gorge hikes? The one with hip belt and chest strap? It is out to get you. Big gusts turn loose straps into whips and these lashes are killer on the eye. Make sure they’re securely tucked or tied off.
Choose Your Vehicle (and Your Route)
High profile vehicles get blown around in the wind; a big gust can push you sideways, or, if your vehicle is really tall, tip you over. Driving I-84 in high wind is stressful. If possible, choose the slower, more scenic Historic Columbia River Highway. And watch out for debris. It is more than Parks and ODOT can keep up with.
Nearly every park vehicle in the Gorge has a funky door feature—this comes from high winds ripping the door out of a driver or passenger’s hands and flying forward. Park with the front of your car pointing INTO the wind. And if you need to use your feet to force your way out of your car, you should probably just stay inside. Even if you get out, you’re asking for a tumble. It’s not cute. And it will be recorded.
And with that, it is time for me to jump in my car and blow east!
Posted on January 24, 2014, in Visiting the Gorge and tagged Columbia River, Columbia River Gorge, Historic Columbia River Highway, I-84, park rangers, rangers, Rooster Rock State Park, views, Vista House, wind, winter. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.