This week of dire weather forecasts for the Pacific Northwest saw a year’s worth of snow fall on Seattle in a few remarkable days. Yet the lower elevations of Washington County, west of Portland, Oregon remained chilly, but stubbornly snow-free. 

Gaia took notice, and dumped hours of hard rain on NW Oregon over the last few days.  The creeks are rising, including a three foot wide muddy torrent that barreled down the hill through my neighbors’ hard pan barren backyards, and slithered under my fence at several locations.

The runoff around the neighborhood seems stronger than what I expected, with  muddy runoff eddying down the streets.  Rock Creek breached its banks and flooded the golf course, and the bridge we take to walk at Bethany Lake.  

I visit the neighbors’ yards, they are flooded also.  In an aside, the neighbors  confide they love the peeper frogs; I sign them up as future Frog Court witnesses.

On Highway 30 along the Columbia River, the pavement disappears from the deluge in spots.  Overflows close other main roads; some  are cracking. 

Rock Creek jumps its banks and flows across the golf course, between the picket line of redwoods.  In a few minutes it will flood the road behind me. Sometime I’ll sneak onto the golf course and find out exactly where Rock Creek breaks loose.

In my own yard, I look over the fence at my neighbor’s barren terrain, where hundreds of gallons of stormwater are rushing towards me.

Their heavy tree canopy shades out any vegetation.  The resulting hardpan encourages the runoff.

Here it comes; 5-10 gallons per minute seep under my fence.

I like walking around in my yard in the rain, within reason.  The rocks glisten. The water’s flow reveals the yard’s secret terrain. The ponds overfill and the artificial pond edges disappear beneath the rippling waters.

High water during frog mating season can double attendance.

I wonder if the neighbor’s redwoods know my back yard is an ephemeral (seasonal) creek. The nearest redwood sends yards of inquiring roots into my vegetable beds, hunting nutrients. 

I watch where the storm runoff puddles and flows. I marvel at how the ground seems to weep at the lowest edge of our lot; how does the groundwater know to do that?

The groundwater seeps under my gate to the left. But on my neighbor’s side to the right of the gate, the water roars in a foot-wide creek.  That’s the difference that landscaping makes, in terms of reducing stormwater runoff. 

Now it’s your turn.

You’ve been reading The Daily Bucket,

a nature refuge.

We amicably discuss frogs, animals, weather, climate, soil, plants, waters,  and life’s patterns.

 Phenology is how we take earth’s pulse.

We discuss what we see in each Bucket.

We value all observations.  Please comment  about your own natural area, and include photos if possible.  We love photos!

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Thanks for reading;

What have you noted in your area or travels? Whose at the bird feeders?

Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.

/s/ Redwoodman

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