The Olympics as Analogy
After my promises of serving up something I first put “in the west” and later identified – “the Olympic Mountains” – as an explanation with plenty of illustrations for the complexity of weather and its over-determined “local” qualities, I confess that I am not yet confident enough.  That is, I do not for now know what I am writing about.

Stories of snow are easy enough to tell but to plunge its “elemental inwardness” is beyond me, but only for the moment.  Instead and until I can return from my studies, I’ll attach two views of the Olympics from Seattle – one from the early 1890s and the other from mid-20th Century.  From here this comely chain marked with mountains named often for heroic men and the women they courted looks flat like a stage curtain.  We will need to get beyond that, but later.

(click pix for full size)


Fred Bauer and the Extremely “Local Weather” 1400 Feet Above Northern California’s Lost Coast
For an extreme example of “local weather” we will have my old friend Fred Bauer and the home of concrete and foam that he recently built overlooking the Lost Coast.   But not now.  This I also need to understand better before spouting, although the photographs are already spectacular we will save them also until later.

Pioneer Snow Records and the New Volunteers
Another weather story that requires more study before sharing is the revival of volunteer weather reporting.  I learned about this from a local federal meteorologist.  In short, since the Reagan cutbacks the Weather Department’s interest in the historical side of weather has slipped some.  The new volunteers are helping with more recordings – more data – some of the stuffing of history.   More instruction (for me) is needed on this as well.

1910 – A Missed Big Snow?
In looking for primarily the “Big Snows” I might have also included the 1910 Snow, principally because of its tragedy.  The slides on the west side of the Great Northern Railway’s Steven Pass Tunnel swept away several passenger cars into the canyon below the little railroad town of Wellington.  I have several photographs of this “Wellington Disaster” but for the moment all I can find is this one, which shows the removal of some of the blanket-shrouded bodies.


When I stumble upon the other photos of the fallen train and the community above it we will insert an illustrated recounting of the 1910 snow, probably directly into the snow chronology.

All those Other Snows
The reader will have noted that occasionally we have inserted images of not-so-big snows – snows that came with some bluster but then either backed out of town or quickly ran through it.   As these “little snows” reveal themselves I’ll try to make note of them.  If readers have examples – illustrations – please consider letting your civic-minded bloggers at DorpatSherrardLomont use or share them with the, we hope, eager readers who want them.

In this line I am confident that in my own collection there are many other illustrations to insert both for small snows and some of those big ones.  It is nearly shameful that I have not included any illustrations for the recent 1996 Big Snow.  But for this I have two excuses.  First, as noted above, I was sick with the flu and gave more attention to my suffering.  Second, a recent event, images of it are not likely to be as yet collected in public archives for public use.  And so dear readers I make this plea.  If you have a snapshot or two or more of the 1996 Big Snow – or the mud and mayhem that followed it – then please share them with the readers and me.   And that goes for any other snow too.

Joe Pritchard: Seattle’s Snowman
Again, somewhere in my collections I have video of “Seattle Snowman” Joe Pritchard and his neighbors enjoying the fresh Snoqualmie Pass snow he has on many second Saturdays in December blown into a big semi truck and delivered to his front yard on Densmore Avenue in the Wallingford Neighborhood.  When I find that video and can successfully plead with Jean (of this blog) to help edit it we will put to this media the story of Seattle’s Snowman, and with YouTube enhancement.  Meanwhile this people-less pan of his front yard in mid-December 2005 will do.


— Paul Dorpat, January 31st, 2009

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