The East Wind has disappeared beneath the cloud cover of the past few days, which means East County residents have a brief respite in which to locate their displaced recycling bins, repair their wind-warped fence gates and look for any missing pieces blown from their rooftops.

It also means it's time once again for The Outlook's East Wind contest, in which readers can predict the number of East Wind days in hopes of winning fantastic prizes.

The time period for this year's contest is Dec. 1 through the last day of February. Readers should jot down on a piece of paper the number of days they think the East Wind will consistently blow between those two dates and send the prediction to East Wind Contest, The Outlook, P.O. Box 747, Gresham, 97030. E-mail entries can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please put 'East Wind contest' in the subject line so we will know it isn't spam.

All entries should include an address and phone number.

The deadline to enter is Dec. 31, and to get you started, here's a hint: So far in December, we've had seven East Wind days.

Helping us with our East Wind count is weather expert George Miller, a Gresham resident and author of 'Pacific Northwest Weather: My Barometer Says Fair' and 'Lewis and Clark's Northwest Journey, 'Weather Disagreeable.'' With Miller's help, we'll be testing the wind in several East County locations. Sometimes, it's a judgment call whether a day qualifies as a full-fledged East Wind Day, but most of the time, you'll know it when you feel it.

The next edition of The Outlook will contain more information about the contest and those previously mentioned, fabulous prizes.

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