Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Blow Ye Winds Heigh Ho

It's even windier today than it was yesterday. There's a High Wind Advisory forecasting gale-force wind gusts. The east side of our house is somewhat sheltered, but from there you can see dust storms kicking up and tumbleweeds (and some larger things) blowing around in the high winds. Good thing we scrapped our plan of driving over to Big R for a load of firewood this afternoon. Even at low speeds, being blown all over the road is no fun, and trying to unload a ton of fire logs with this wind would be unpleasant without full-eye-covering goggles. It is of course much worse at the higher elevations, where I-80 has been closed again today for periods due to white-out conditions.

Yes, I did hear about the Amtrak train (#11, the southbound Coast Starlight — not "Coastal" Starlight the way one person was calling it) getting stuck at Oakridge, Oregon, south of Eugene, after the train struck a large tree, damaging the locomotive. Although it was not great to be stranded there that long, I think Amtrak's decisions were right. I say this as someone who has been through there multiple times both on the train and driving. Power was out at Oakridge (which isn't a particularly large place anyway, and didn't have enough hotel rooms to house everyone even if they'd evacuated the train), the only highway in and out of the area (OR-58) was also blocked due to snow and fallen trees, and as as long as the train had power for heat (which it did), it was the safest place to be. It took a while (more than a day) for Union Pacific to clear the line and bring up a rescue locomotive to drag the train back to Eugene to let Amtrak try to sort things out. And, unlike the time the City of San Francisco got stuck at Yuba Gap on the Sierra route, nobody got killed trying to rescue the train and its passengers.
Tags: #11, amtrak, trains, weather, wind

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