Weather

Historic February Arctic Blast Recap

Steve Pierce weather blog update mug

 

As the big thaw continues, the winter of 2013/14 will go down in the record books after three unprecedented February snow and ice storms in just five days blanketed the region. As of Monday morning, the Portland International Airport has received more than 7″ of snowfall for the month of February. This now qualifies as the most February snowfall at the Portland airport in 25 years when more than 8″ fell in the month of February 1989. With more than half of the month yet to go, there is the possibility of adding more snowfall to the record books. Last fall we mentioned that, “anything goes” in a La Nada winter, where neither El Nino or La Nina are present. We also expected, “large swings in month-to-month and even week-to-week weather.” Once again, mother nature has not disappointed this winter. This winter has also featured two arctic blasts in the same winter, which is the first such occurrence since the winter of 1990/91 when two arctic blasts hit the Pacific Northwest in the month of December. Equally impressive are the following storm stats —

* The high temperature of 23 degrees at the Portland International Airport last Thursday was the coldest day of any month of the year since January 30th 1996 (18 years ago) when the high temperature reached 23 at the Portland International Airport.

* The high temperature of 23 degrees at the Portland International Airport last Thursday was the coldest day on record this late in the winter season at the Portland International Airport. Records date back to 1940 (74 years) at the airport.

* The high temperature of 23 degrees at the Portland International Airport last Thursday was the coldest day this late in the winter season in 81 years in Portland when looking even further back to records pre-dating the airport. The last time an equal or colder high temperature was recorded this late in the season in Portland was a 23 degree high temperature recorded back on February 9th 1933 in downtown Portland. Records date back more than 143 years in downtown (1871).

So, How Did This Happen?

“Arctic air from the north and Pacific moisture from the west came together directly over Oregon and dumped quite a bit of snow over the region. This continues the pattern of significant winter snowstorms every five or so years in Portland. The winters of 1998/99, 2003/04, 2008/09 and 2013/14 all saw significant arctic outbreaks and/or snow at low elevations. This winter did not disappoint. The historical average snowfall at the Portland Airport for the entire winter is approximately 6″ and this includes many winters where no snow falls at all. There is a trend for several winters with almost no snow, then a big snowfall, then no snow for a few more winters. Rinse and repeat every five or so years. This past week was a classic example of nearly the perfect snowfall setup for Portland / Vancouver and the Willamette Valley. Cold arctic air swept down from Canada, followed by several Pacific storms sliding over top of the cold air. Cold air is heavy, dense and extremely hard to displace as long as the center of these storms continued to stay south of Portland, as they did. This allowed cold easterly low level winds to blow from the east transporting additional cold and dry air into NW Oregon and SW Washington. This was somewhat similar in nature to the Christmas snowstorms of December 2008.”

Preliminary Snowfall and Ice Totals From All Three Storms

Special thanks to the great staff at the Portland office of the National Weather Service for these storm stats. The following are totals for all three storms, beginning last week. The official Portland total (taken at the forecast office on NE 122nd Ave) is listed below (7.3″):

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
840 AM PST MON FEB 10 2014

LISTED BELOW ARE THE PRELIMINARY STORM TOTAL SNOW AND ICE REPORTS
RECEIVED FROM THURSDAY…FEB 6 THROUGH SUNDAY…FEB 9.

LOCATION SNOW (IN)
————————————–

…COAST…

NECANICUM,OR……………10.0
WHEELER,OR……………..9.0
MANZANITA,OR……………8.0
ROCKAWAY BEACH,OR……….7.0
NEHALEM 4NE, OR…………7.0
ALSEA,OR……………….6.0
TOKELAND 5NW, WA………..5.0
TILLAMOOK,OR……………4.0
WALDPORT,OR…………….3.5
PACIFIC CITY,OR…………3.5
YACHATS,OR……………..2.0
WARRENTON,OR……………2.0
NEWPORT,OR……………..2.0
ASTORIA 12E, OR…………2.0

…COAST RANGE…

MARYS PEAK ,OR………….14.0
VERNONIA,OR…………….13.0
SADDLE MOUNTAIN, OR……..13.0
WILSON RIVER SUMMIT,OR…..11.0
BLODGETT,OR…………….11.0
SUNSET SUMMIT,OR………..10.0
MANNING,OR……………..9.5
MILLER WOODS, OR………..9.0
GRAND RONDE, OR…………9.0
BANKS,OR……………….5.5
HASKINS DAM, OR…………4.0
SWISS HOME,OR…………..2.5

…INLAND VALLEYS…
MONROE 6NW, OR………….16.0
CORVALLIS, OR…………..15.0
PHILOMATH, OR…………..15.0
ALBANY, OR……………..15.0
SCIO, OR……………….13.0
STAYTON, OR…………….12.0
DALLAS, OR……………..12.0
SALEM 3NW, OR…………..12.0
GASTON, OR……………..12.0
RIDGEFIELD,WA…………..12.0
ST. HELENS,OR…………..10.0
INDEPENDENCE,OR…………10.0
CLATSKANIE,OR…………..10.0
ALBANY,OR………………10.0
COLUMBIA CITY, OR……….10.0
FOREST GROVE,OR…………9.0-10.0
WASHOUGAL,WA……………9.0
STAYTON,OR……………..9.0
ALBANY,OR………………9.0
CLATSKANIE, OR………….9.0
LACOMB 3NNE, OR…………9.0
SHERIDAN 5NW, OR………..9.0
MONROE,OR………………8.8
SCAPPOOSE,OR……………8.5
VANCOUVER, WA…………..8.0
MT. ANGEL, OR…………..8.0
SALMON CREEK,WA…………8.0-10.0
PORTLAND,OR…………….5.0-8.0
SCIO,OR………………..7.5
PORTLAND NWS OFFICE……..7.3
LEBANNON,OR…………….7.2
BATTLE GROUND,WA………..7.0
TROUTDALE 5E, OR………..7.0
WOODLAND,WA…………….7.0
EUGENE,OR………………7.0
4SW GASTON,OR…………..7.0
8 MI SSW MONMOUTH,OR…….7.0
HALSEY,OR………………7.0
KALAMA,WA………………6.25
CANBY,OR……………….6.0
DALLAS,OR………………6.0
GRESHAM,OR……………..6.0
TURNER,OR………………6.0
SALEM,OR……………….6.0
HILLSBORO,OR……………6.0
LONGVIEW,WA…………….6.0
KEIZER,OR………………6.0
OREGON CITY,OR………….5.5
TIGARD,OR………………5.5
CORNELIUS,OR……………5.5
MCMINNVILLE,OR………….5.0
YAMHILL,OR……………..5.0
KELSO, WA………………5.0
ARIEL, WA………………5.0
MOLALLA 7NE, OR…………4.0
GRAYS RIVER, WA…………1.0

…FOOTHILLS…

MARION FORKS,OR…………19.0
DETROIT,OR……………..14.0
SANDY,OR……………….6.0
RHODODENDRON, OR………..6.0

…CASCADES…

WILLAMETTE PASS EAST,OR….22.0
TIMBERLINE,OR…………..16.0
MT HOOD MEADOWS,OR………17.0
GOVERNMENT CAMP,OR………16.0
SANTIAM PASSS,OR………..14.0
BELKNAP SPRINGS,OR………10.0
BENNETT PASS,OR…………10.0
WHITE PASS,OR…………..10.0
HOODOO BUTTE,OR…………7.0

…GORGE…
HOOD RIVER,OR…………..10.0-12.0
CASCADE LOCKS,OR………..8.0
BONNEVILLE DAM, OR………6.0

…UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY…

PARKDALE,OR…………….21.0

….ICE ACCUMULATIONS FROM FREEZING RAIN……….

LOCATION ICE (IN) DURATION REPORT TIME
———————————————————————

…COAST…

NEWPORT,OR……………..0.25

…COAST RANGE…

BLODGETT,OR…………….0.5

…INLAND VALLEYS…

EUGENE,OR………………0.5
SWEET HOME,OR…………..0.5
LEBANON,OR……………..0.5
FAIRVIEW,OR…………….0.4
1 ENE GRESHAM,OR………..0.3
EUGENE,OR………………0.3
GRESHAM,OR……………..0.25
DALLAS,OR………………0.25
EUGENE,OR………………0.25
SALEM,OR……………….0.25
4NW PHILOMATH,OR………..0.25
CAMAS,WA……………….0.25
1 SSW PORTLAND AIRPORT,OR..0.25
BATTLE GROUND,WA………..0.25
CLACKAMAS,OR……………0.25
PLEASANT HILL,OR………..0.2
CLACKAMAS,OR……………0.1
LEBANON,OR……………..0.2
CORVALLIS,OR……………0.15
CAMAS,WA……………….0.1
LEBANON,OR……………..0.1
HAPPY VALLEY,OR…………0.1
PORTLAND,OR…………….0.1

…FOOTHILLS…

PLEASANT HILL,OR………..0.20
SANDY,OR……………….0.05

Stay tuned!

Steve Pierce
Columbian Newspaper Weather Blogger
Owner, Northwest Weather Consultants (NWC)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/northwestweatherconsultants
Website: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml
E-mail: stevejpierce@comcast.net
Phone: 503-504-2075

 

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Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml

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