Winter weather

“Slip Slidin’ Away.”

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That is the title of a Paul Simon song that suits out winter weather in Oregon. It is something that we hope does not happen to us.

Paul Simon “Slip Slidin’ Away” | Video from youtube

We have had some cold overnight lows, but so far at least no winter storms. A recent temperature drop produced fog and freezing fog. Most often fog that freezes to the surface of the road isn’t visible until you start sliding. I have seen vehicles with studded snow tires on them this season, but for the most part you don’t need the studs very often unless you travel through the mountain passes or live high up in our hills. I remember as a kid growing up in Rochester, New York and previously for a short time in Uniontown, Pennsylvania watching my father and other adults putting chains on their car tires to drive the winter snow covered streets without slipping and sliding. The advantage of snow chains is that when the snow is gone you can just take them off and you’re back to just regular rubber tires hitting the road.

Ad For Weed Tires | Image by jalopyjournal.com
Ad For Weed Tires | Image by jalopyjournal.com

Here is a look back to a column I wrote 5 years ago about the origin of snow chains. Who came up with the idea and when? It didn’t take much digging to find that out. According to Wikipedia “snow chains, or tire chains, are devices fitted to tires of vehicles, to provide maximum traction while driving through snow and ice.” It was back in 1904 that Harry D.Weed invented snow chains in Canastota, New York. “Weed’s great-grandson, James Weed, said that Harry got the idea of creating chains for tires when he saw drivers wrap rope, or even vines, around their tires to increase traction on muddy or snowy roads, which were the norm at the turn of the 20th century.”  Way back then it was relatively easy to put the chains on the rear tires of a car. The picture below shows how simple it was with the skinny tires of “the day.”

Early Days Of Automobile Snow Chains | Photo by
Early Days Of Automobile Snow Chains | Photo by mtfca.com

Back to when I was a kid. I remember how much trouble it was to put the chains on our car. My father had to lay the chains out on the driveway spaced just right for the distance between the wheels. He then had to drive the car onto the chains and hook them together around the tires. The cars were all rear-axel drive so the chains were put on the back tires that pushed the car along. You have to remember that a lot of people didn’t have a garage so they had to do this outside.

Tire Chains Laid Out On The Ground | Image by kijiji.ca
Tire Chains Laid Out On The Ground | Image by kijiji.ca

They started out by laying out the chains, drive the car over them so the tires lined up exactly with the center of the chains, and then strap the chains down tight enough so they didn’t fly off once the car started moving and the wheels spun around. All of this was done out in the open usually in cold temperatures and while it was snowing. If I remember correctly, watching my father put the chains on our car is when I learned more than a few words that, if I would ever use them, my mother threatened to wash my mouth out with soap.

Quick Fit Chains | Image by ebay.com
Quick Fit Chains Like Mine| Image by ebay.com

Putting on those old chains was a back-breaking time consuming job. Things have really changed. Now we have specialized chains made for specific size tires. Not only that, but the chains come color-coded with easy to follow directions explaining how to properly attach them to your tires. Les Schwab sells what they call “Quick Fit” chains. Here is the video showing how to install tire chains that they have on their website. The Quick Fit chains I bought some years ago came with a vinyl sheet with the step-by-step installation instructions shown with pictures. The sheet is tough enough and big enough to kneel down on it while installing the chains even if there is snow and/or ice on the ground. This is not a deliberate commercial for Les Schwab, but I have been dealing with them over the years that we have lived in Eugene. I swear by my “quick fit” chains that have lasted many years now. Even with my back and leg issues I can put the chains on when I need them to get around town in the ice and snow. If you do a web search you can find other brands of chains of all kinds

I found a video showing an amazing kind of mechanical snow chain device that is used on trucks and busses while they are still in motion. This one is called the Rotogrip Automatic Snow Chain System. Take a look at the video below.

Now that I have shown you who invented them, when, and how they have been improved it would be a good idea for you to decide if investing in snow chains is something that you should do before the Winter weather gets here. I think they are better than studded tires in our area, unless you consistently travel through the mountains, because you are using them only when they are necessary. The studded tires damage the roadway and the studs can get kicked out of the tire or worn down enough to be rendered less useful. If you do travel over the mountains you should always have your chains with you. If a sudden snow storm hits and the passes are restricted to “chains required” you are going to be prevented from summiting the pass and forced to turn back if you don’t “chain-up.” Winter’s here so follow that tried-and-true Boy Scouts of America (Scouts BSA) motto “Be Prepared.”

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Are You Prepared?

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January is nearly over and so far we haven’t had much weather that would tell you it is winter. You can be sure that we will be getting some of that freezing rain, sleet, and even some snow. The question that needs to be answered is: Are You Prepared For Winter Weather? What are some of the problems winter weather drops on us?

Black Ice | Image by weather.gov

Ice storms can cause even more trouble than a snow storm because the roads can be covered in Black Ice and you can’t see it until you are slipping and sliding all over the road. As we all know the bridges and overpasses along with steep hills usually freeze first and can make driving on them feel more like the bumper car ride at a carnival.

Ice Storm Preparations | Image by weather.gov

I’s not only the roads that ice can adhere to, but buildings, trees, and power lines. What will save a lot of concern is preparation before the storm hits. You should pay attention to the weather forecast and be aware of the intrusion of colder air that it takes to produce an Ice Storm.

What To Do When The Power Failure Strikes | Image by weather.gov

When an ice storm hits it can also produce enough ice to take out major power lines covering a large area and smaller neighborhood power supplies. Under normal circumstances we often take for granted the electrical appliances, the furnace, computers and even simple light bulbs that function without any effort on our part. When the power does fail we suddenly realize how much we depend on them. We all need to be able to keep ourselves safe and warm until the power is restored.

Let’s go back in time to 2016 when we had a big storm hit the Eugene-Springfeld area. The following is part of the column I wrote then to explain what happened to me and all of the people in our area.

The beginning of the storm produced rain and as the temperatures fell the ground and other surfaces were cooled to freezing (32 degrees F) or below and produced what is called freezing rain. The rain was not frozen, but it froze when it fell on the colder surface.

Ice On Trees
Ice On Trees 12.15.16 #4 | Photo by Tim Chuey

It didn’t take long for branches and even whole trees to start falling down. From my house we could hear explosions which were power transformers blowing out. One of the booms sounded much closer and our power went out, then it came back up for a few seconds when we hear the second boom and the lights go about again.  I was told by EWEB employees years ago during a more minor more localized neighborhood blackout that the system tries to reroute the line and that’s when our power came back on. If it doesn’t take it will try a second time. Back then I was told that after three tries at the most if the good line can’t be established the power shuts down automatically until the line is physically repaired. At least that is my recollection of what I was told.

It was about 6:50 PM on Wednesday 12.15.16 when our power went out as we were getting ready to watch Jeopardy. I got out the flashlights and put an oil lamp on the coffee table. It was already getting pretty dark so it didn’t take long for the temperature in the house to fall to what would be called chilly and that was closely followed by “it’s getting too cold in here.” We have a decorative fireplace in the living room that won’t heat the house, but it does help keep the temperature at a more livable level while still quite chilly.

Our Fireplace
Our Fireplace And Only Source Of Heat | Photo by Suzanne Chuey

My first step was to get one of those starter logs going because they start burning quickly. It seemed to at least slow down the cooling process in the living room. We waited for a while to see if the power would come back before I started a “real” fire. I then went to the woodpile outside and started collecting split firewood I have stacked there.  It didn’t take very long to have a roaring fire, but as I said it didn’t generate enough heat so we started putting on more layers of clothing topping it off with the heaviest winter jackets we have, gloves and all.

If you have ever been in a situation like this where the only connection you have with the outside world is your cell phone that has a battery that will only last so long without being recharged. That also means that your sense of time gets out of whack.

Tree Down In My Yard
Fallen Tree In My Side Yard Facing Neighbor’s House | Photo by Tim Chuey

Suddenly we heard a loud thud or bang. I looked out of all of our windows and couldn’t see much. The streetlights were out so that meant it was starting to get pretty dark out there. I saw something, but I couldn’t make out what it was. I opened the front door and stepped out onto our front brick steps.

Street View Of Downed Tree
Downed Tree From Street View Of My Front Yard | Photo by Tim Chuey

Then I saw it. A tree had come down between my house and my neighbor next door’s house and it was sticking out past the middle of the street. At first I thought it was one of his trees or from the neighbor’s yard behind me, but no the tree was in my side yard and took out part of the fence between our two yards.

What can I do now? That was the question that exploded in my head. My physical condition makes it impossible for me to cut up the tree myself and I can’t afford to pay someone to do it for me. That is a serious problem. There was nothing that could be done Wednesday night so It would have to wait until Thursday. We didn’t sleep very well because the house was still quite cold and my wife and I both need CPAP machines for Sleep Apnea. Without the pressure of the air pumped through the machine I kept waking up with the feeling of choking and that is what was really happening to me. After a restless night and not being able to get a good night’s rest  getting through Thursday was going to be quite a chore. The day did seem to last forever.

For me it takes a hot shower in the morning to shake off the cobwebs of sleep. No such luck. There was probably some hot water in the hot water tank, but I doubt enough for a shower in the dark with only flashlights for illumination. I started to wonder, but not out loud what else can happen?

We were trying all of this time to listen to local radio stations, mainly KKNX AM/FM for whom I forecast the weather Monday through Friday. They were off the air due to power problems at their tower. They were streaming live on the web, but with no power I had no chance to listen on my computer. The power failure also meant that I could not post my forecasts on my website timchueyweather4u.com, eugenedailynews.com, or send my audio forecasts to KKNX Radio FM105.1/ AM 840 HD. (Now KEED AM & FM also.)

KKNX Radio Logo
KKNX Radio Logo | Image by radio84.com

My power was restored at 4:30 PM Thursday and my wife and I immediately plugged in our cell phones to get them charged and I started working on my weather forecasts since was so far behind in getting them posted. After having all of this happen and remembering all of the other emergencies and disasters we have been through there is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the simplest thing like walking into another room and flipping the light switch and having the room actually light up. It’s a matter of being grateful for what you have.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

It’s Winter, Are You Prepared For Winter Weather Challenges?

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The season of winter is barely two weeks old and so far we haven’t had what we would call “real winter weather.” It will come sooner or later, but are you prepared for it?

What you need is a plan for whenever you get in your car in winter especially if you are going to be in or near the higher hills or the mountains. It can be so easy to jump into the car and head out without thinking about what could go wrong. The plan is to go from location A to location B neither one of which has inclement weather at the time. What isn’t planned for is a mechanical breakdown of your vehicle in an wide-opened area that is far away from any assistance. You could also be in a no service area rendering your cell phone useless.

Car Kit
Emergency Car Kit | Image by preparesmart.com

Having an emergency kit in your car could be a lifesaver. Just some of the simple items that could save you would be a blanket, matches in a watertight container, highway flares, a snow shovel (there are small ones that fold up), and maybe even a couple of energy bars. There are many other items you could pack in your vehicle depending on the storage space available. To see each the information for each day click on the each link in this article as you read them and then click on the proper day you want.

Cold Weather Preparedness | Image by nws.gov

There are also safety tips if you are caught outdoors or traveling. There are National Weather Service definitions that are very important to remember this time of the year. Some of the most important terms are: Wind Chill – Increased wind speeds accelerate heat loss from exposed skin, and the Wind Chill is a measure of this effect. As the wind speed increases and the temperature decreases the effect reaches dangerous levels. Frostbite – Human tissue damage caused by exposure to intense cold. Hypothermia – A rapid progressive mental and physical collapse that accompanies the lowering of body temperature.

Indoor Winter Safety Tips | Image by nws.gov

Other very useful weather terminology  describes the winter weather bulletins that may be issued when winter weather dangers increase. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when a low pressure system produces a combination of winter weather (snow, freezing, rain, sleet, etc.) that present a hazard but does not meet warning criteria. A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is a potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations, usually at least 24 to 36 hours in advance. A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a winter storm is producing or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. A Blizzard Warning is issued when a winter storm produces sustained of frequent winds of 30 miles per hour or higher with considerable falling and/or blowing snow that frequently reduces visibility to a quarter mile or less. These conditions are expected to prevail for a minimum of 3 hours. The National Weather Service issues these bulletins in stages from outlooks to advisories to watches and then finally the worst case being warnings. Knowing what each means when issued gives you the advantage on not needing a definition before figuring out what action needs to be taken.

 

Flooding
Willamette River Flooding | Photo by www.christonium.com

In winter we can get a snowfall followed by heavy rainfall which melts the snow quickly and produces Floods or Flash Floods. The terminology used regarding flood information is also very important to understand. Flash Flood Watch – conditions are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent. Flash Flood Warning – issued to inform the public, emergency management, and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Flood Watch – issued to inform the public, emergency management, and other cooperating agencies that current and developing hydrometeorological conditions are such that there is a threat of flooding, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent. Flood Warning – a release issued by the National Weather Service to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property. A flood warning will usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Tree Blown Down
My Neighbor’s Tree Blown Down 3/28/12| Photo by Tim Chuey

You should also be prepared to survive a Windstorm in the Pacific Northwest. The famous Columbus Day Storm of 1962 is an extreme example of what a windstorm is capable of doing. The best way to prepare for a windstorm is to remove any articles from your property that could get blown around. High winds can make a lawn chair or a trash barrel into a dangerous projectile that could smash through windows and possibly even walls. You also need to be prepared for possible power outages caused by downed trees on power lines.

Be Prepared
Be Prepared | Image by lancerlife.com

The best way to end this article is to quote the motto of the Boy Scouts of America “Be Prepared.” I hope you learned something from this article, but more importantly you need to take actions which will keep you warm and safe this Winter.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Not Much Winter Weather Until Now. What’s Going On?

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You might remember that I wrote past column articles about what causes winter weather patterns over the Pacific Northwest. In 2013 the article was titled ” Whose Fault Is It? El Nino, La Nina, Or Even La Nada?” Those three terms give meteorologists the tools to determine what kind of winter we will have and whether the current winter weather pattern will continue as is or change to another one.

El Nino
El Nino Jet Stream Pattern | Image by www.washingtonpost.com

Let’s review the three terms and what they mean. El Nino is defined as a warm water current (shown in red/orange) that appears annually, around Christmastime, along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru. The name El Nino means the boy child and refers to the “Christ Child” who’s birthday is celebrated in December when the warm water pool extends itself closer to the South American coast. It was first discovered or noted by the fisherman who found warmer water where they usually would catch fish.  El Nino’s warm water pool actually deflects the Jet Stream in the Winter in such a way as to set up a high pressure ridge over the Pacific Northwest.  That ridge keeps the cold air and the Winter storm track to our North or South and tends keep us warmer and drier. During an El Nino year there is less tropical storm activity in the tropical Atlantic due to increased vertical wind shear over the area.

La Nina
La Nina | Image by pmel.noaa.gov

La Nina is defined as a cold water current (shown in blue) that appears annually, around Christmastime along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru. The name La Nina means the girl child and is the opposite of El Nino and is the cool water pool that extends itself closer to the South America in December.

Vertical Wind Shear
Vertical Wind Shear Diagram | Image AMOL/NOAA

Vertical wind shear is the change of wind direction with height. In order to build the storm clouds it takes to produce a hurricane there must be steadily rising columns of air and the change of wind direction as the air is rising tends to stop the development of the storm clouds. La Nina’s cold water pool has the opposite effect and deflects the Jet Stream so as to send the Winter storms right at us.

La Nada
La Nada | Image by weather.gov

It seems obvious that El Nino and La Nina can’t occupy exactly the same area along the South American coast at the same time. That is where another term comes into play. The ENSO or El Nino-Southern Oscillation. El Nino is often called the warm phase of ENSO while La Nina can be called the cold phase of ENSO. Often the sea surface temperatures waver between the two in the same season. When neither El Nino nor La Nina come to visit the West Coast of South America it is called La Nada which in Spanish translates as nothing. That means the current is stable, neither warm or cold.

What these currents do is deflect the Jet Stream in such a way to either bring the colder air and the Winter storms our way or to act as a barrier to protect us from the stronger Winter storms and keep us warmer. So what’s been going on these last few months? A USA Today article posted February 9, 2018 and written by Doyle Rice touts that the LaNina has ended and now we are being controlled by La Nada. That’s according to climate scientists interviewed for the story. The short-lived La Nina did bring unusually cold air in December and January to Alaska, western Canada, and the Northern plains. La Nina usually brings more precipitation to the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, but that did not happen.

Sea Surface Temperatures
Eastern Pacific Ocean Sea Suyrface Temperature Amomaly | Imagr ospo.noaa.gov

Historically we have had La Nina winters in the Pacific Northwest which were more on the dry side and even warmer than expected. Instead the rain hit Central and Southern California ending in a declaration by Southern California that the drought was officially over.

The ski areas in the central part of Oregon have been suffering from a serious lack of snow cover while the Sierra in California have been experiencing one of their snowiest winters ever recorded. That shows that the deflection of the jet stream is such that the areas receiving significant snowfall were to the south and north of the southern Willamette Valley. That suggests that the Jet Stream was deflected, but the Pacific Northwest was protected from the storms by having a high pressure ridge over the Eastern Pacific and a parade of upper level Low Pressure Troughs which brought us some rain, but also kept temperatures above normal for quite some time. For some reason the Jet Stream set up to being the cold Arctic air down through Canada into the Midwest and as far south as the Gulf Coast states. Snow and record temperatures punched well into the Deep South, but nothing for us.

Feb-April Temperatures
February Through April Temperature Probability| Image by weather.gov

Feb-April Precip
Precipitation Probability February Through April 2018 | Image by weather.gov

The National Weather Service Temperature and Precipitation outlooks for February through April give us a look into our possible weather future. The temperature graphic shows about a 40% chance of below average temperatures and the precipitation graphic shows about a 40% chance of above normal precipitation. Does this give us a handle on what the rest of our winter will be like? Not really. The potential is still there for the intrusion of much colder air moving down through Canada (this past weekend) and if there is sufficient moisture available from the South and West at the same time we could still see significant snowfall in the mountains and possible valley snow if the conditions are right.

At this point in time I’d say a flip of a coin could predict the snow chances for the rest of our winter about as accurately as the combination of the sea surface temperatures and the exact position of the jet stream over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Northwest. Hang on it will still be an interesting ride.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

It May Seem Too Early, But It Really Isn’t.

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If you have been paying any attention at all to the weather forecasts I post on EDN I’m sure you noticed that late in the week I mentioned the downturn in temperatures and the winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings for the mountains and parts of eastern Oregon. Some people have indicated to me that they feel this is way to early in the season for this type of weather. That is not true.There have been many years in the past when winter-like weather occurred in early November.

Winter Snowstorm
Winter Snowstorm In Eugene | photo by Tim Chuey

The real point I want to make here is that we all need to be prepared for whatever “Mother Nature” throws at us even if we think it’s too early to see cold temperatures and mountain snow. The significant question is: “Are you ready for whatever type of weather comes our way?” That is my topic for this week.

NOAA Weather Radio
Various Kinds of Weather Radios | Image by www.sr.noaa.gov

My major source if information is Ready.gov which starts by saying that you should stay informed. Having a weather radio that has an alarm mode that receives NOAA Weather Radio Alerts will let you know immediately when the National Weather Service issues a weather bulletin for your area. Watching local television newscasts and paying attention to the weather segment or keeping up with online weather updates will give you a head start when the weather makes a sudden change.

EAS
Emergency Alert System (EAS) | Image by l.ytimg.com

There are Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) such as Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), The Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is a “national public warning system that requires broadcasters, satellite digital audio service and direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems and wireless cable systems to provide the President with a communication capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency.” The EAS can be activated both locally and nationally depending on the circumstances.

Electric Generator
Champion Electric Generator | Photo by generator aid.com

Next they suggest that you choose where you will take shelter if it becomes necessary. A winter storm can know out your power leaving you with no source of heat. You could also purchase a portable generator for minimal electrical power to keep warm, but you must learn how to use it properly. It would be a good idea to have a backup plan with a place to go, possibly the home of a friend or relative. If it is a widespread disaster you will need shelter that is farther away and in a place of safety.

For a detailed look at all of their recommendations go to Ready.gov to help keep you safe.

Pet Emergency Check List
Pet Emergency Check List | Image by blog.petcarex.com

As with any kind of weather emergency or disaster you still should have emergency supplies of food, water, first aid kits, etc. If you have pets have at least a small supply of food for them and extra water above what you need so the pets have enough.

Tire Chains
Les Schwab Quick Fit® Tire Chains | Image by pop screen.com

Since the winter season is fast approaching we all should have our cars, trucks, etc. winterized and make sure the tires are in good shape. I have had great success with their “Quick Fit®” Diamond tire chains that work wonders for driving in the snow and they are really easy to put on.

Emergency Kit
Red Cross Emergency Kit | Image by mobile.redcrossstore.org

As I have mentioned in other articles, you can make your own survival kit or purchase one that is already stocked with what you will need. The American Red Cross has an online store where you can order the kind of kits I have discussed. If you want to check it out just go to RedCrossStore.org and you can see the various emergency kits that are available.

There are many other possibilities for preparing for serious winter weather or disasters that you might find specific to your needs. Just follow the Boy Scouts of America motto and “Be Prepared.”

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

 

“Chain, Chain, Chain” Sang Aretha Franklin.

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Those are the first three words of Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit song “Chain of fools” written by Don Covay, but those are not the kind of chains I am referring to. I have always wondered where the idea came from to put chains on tires for more traction while driving cars, trucks, etc. through mud and snow. I remember as a kid growing up in Rochester, New York and for a short time in Uniontown, Pennsylvania watching my father and other adults putting chains on their car tires to drive the winter snow covered streets without slipping and sliding.

Ad For Weed Tires | Image by jalopyjournal.com
Ad For Weed Tires | Image by jalopyjournal.com

Who came up with the idea and when? It didn’t take much digging to find that out. According to Wikipedia “snow chains, or tire chains, are devices fitted to tires of vehicles, to provide maximum traction while driving through snow and ice.” It was back in 1904 that Harry D.Weed invented snow chains in Canastota, New York. “Weed’s great-grandson, James Weed, said that Harry got the idea of creating chains for tires when he saw drivers wrap rope, or even vines, around their tires to increase traction on muddy or snowy roads, which were the norm at the turn of the 20th century.”  Way back then it was relatively easy to put the chains on the rear tires of a car. The picture below shows how simple it was with the skinny tires of “the day.”

Early Days Of Automobile Snow Chains | Photo by
Early Days Of Automobile Snow Chains | Photo by mtfca.com

Back to when I was a kid. I remember how much trouble it was to put the chains on our car. My father had to lay the chains out on the driveway spaced just right for the distance between the wheels. He then had to drive the car onto the chains and hook them together around the tires. The cars were all rear-axel drive so the chains were put on the back tires that pushed the car along. You have to remember that a lot of people didn’t have a garage so they had to do this outside.

Tire Chains Laid Out On The Ground | Image by kijiji.ca
Tire Chains Laid Out On The Ground | Image by kijiji.ca

They started out by laying out the chains, drive the car over them so the tires lined up exactly with the center of the chains, and then strap the chains down tight enough so they didn’t fly off once the car started moving and the wheels spun around. All of this was done out in the open usually in cold temperatures and while it was snowing. If I remember correctly, watching my father put the chains on our car is when I learned more than a few words that, if I would ever use them, my mother threatened to wash my mouth out with soap.

Quick Fit Chains | Image by ebay.com
Quick Fit Chains Like Mine| Image by ebay.com

Putting on those old chains was a back-breaking time consuming job. Things have really changed. Now we have specialized chains made for specific size tires. Not only that, but the chains come color-coded with easy to follow directions explaining how to properly attach them to your tires. Les Schwab sells what they call “Quick Fit” chains. Here is the video showing how to install tire chains that they have on their website. The Quick Fit chains I bought some years ago came with a vinyl sheet with the step-by-step installation instructions shown with pictures. The sheet is tough enough and big enough to kneel down on it while installing the chains even if there is snow and/or ice on the ground. This is not a deliberate commercial for Les Schwab, but I have been dealing with them for the 23 years that we have lived in Eugene. I swear by my “quick fit” chains that have lasted many years now. Even with my back and leg issues I can put the chains on when I need them to get around town in the ice and snow. If you do a web search you can find other brands of chains of all kinds.

I recently found a video showing an amazing kind of mechanical snow chain device that is used on trucks and busses while they are still in motion. This one is called the Rotogrip Automatic Snow Chain System. Take a look at the video below.

Now that I have shown you who invented them, when, and how they have been improved it would be a good idea for you to decide if investing in snow chains is something that you should do before the Winter weather gets here. I think they are better that studded tires in our area, unless you consistently travel through the mountains, because you are using them only when they are necessary. The studded tires damage the roadway and the studs can get kicked out of the tire or worn down enough to be rendered less useful. If you do travel over the mountains you should always have your chains with you. If a sudden snow storm hits and the passes are restricted to “chains required” you are going to be prevented from summiting the pass and forced to turn back. if you don’t “chain-up.” Winter’s coming so follow that tried-and-true Boy Scouts of America motto “Be Prepared.”

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].