Storms at the Cove
Summer at the Cove usually brings sunshine and lots of it. Visitors come from miles away to slather on the SPF and play under the hot rays in Lake Billy Chinook. Since Cove Palisades State Park is located in the High Desert of Central Oregon, the park is also known for it’s sudden and unexpected THUNDERSTORMS! And for those visitors who didn’t get word of the park’s susceptibility to these wild thunderheads or quick floods of rain, they are in for a mighty surprise when everything in camp becomes soaked in T-30 seconds! This sort of weather happens a few times a summer, most years.
The arid environment and lack of usual rain causes the terrain to “crust” over, in a way, for miles. Because of this hardening of the soil, when it does decide to rain, it takes much longer for the water to saturate into the ground, so what does it do instead? It runs right over the top! And some of the campsites that happen to be near a slope or a low flat area, they experience a saturation of their own. Usually ending in laughs, and a few disgruntles, if storms bring in the rain they usually soak tents and t-shirts and are often followed by more sunshine quick to come. As much as we wish we could control the weather, we can’t, but there are some things visitors can do to prepare while camping.
These storms bring wind, and those who don’t have the awnings of their trailers rolled in will sometimes get them blown straight off, and tents might blow away that aren’t properly staked. It’s important to make sure your camp area is properly secured when you leave to head out on the boat for the day. If you see any clouds, it might be a good idea to throw that rainfly on and waterproof your gear as well, especially if you plan on being away from camp most of the day.
The Cove is an excellent place to view storms, with it’s wide open scenery and opportunities to see the high desert in a broad perspective and witness some rockin’ sunsets. Many plants and animals of the high desert have excellent adaptations that allow them to store water for long periods of time, so when water is few and far between, they embrace an opportunity to drink up as much as they can!