Record Setting Weather In 2010

With no additional rainfall likely in the final hours of the 2010 calendar year, two weather words will leave their mark on many locations in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington this past year, “La Nina” and “Rain!” This year featured the strongest La Nina since the mid 1950’s and the weather stats did not disappoint. The following data is for the Portland International Airport:

  • Wettest calendar year since 1996 (nearly 15 years) with 46.18” for the year to date.

  • Portland picked up 8.35″ of rainfall for the month of December, which is approximately 3″ or 155% above normal for the month.

  • Wettest December since 1996 when more than 13” of rainfall soaked the area.

  • 7th wettest year on record at the Portland International Airport where records date back nearly 70 yrs to 1940. Here are the top 7 in ranking order:

    1996 – 63.20”
    1950 – 51.09”
    1968 – 50.89”
    1953 – 48.59”
    1983 – 47.19”
    1948 – 46.21”
    2010 – 46.18”

  • Calendar year 2010 was nearly 9 ½” above normal in Portland.

  • 1996 is the wettest year on record at the Portland Airport (1940-2010) when more than 63″ of rain fell.

  • In 2009, Portland received just 30″ of rainfall, nearly 17″ less than 2010. Normal yearly rainfall for Portland is approximately 36”

  • The Portland airport broke its all-time one hour rainfall record when 1.03” of rain fell in a single hour back in early September. Old record was 0.93” set in May 2008.

  • Wettest June on record (1940-2010) with 4.27”

  • Coldest summer (June 1st through August 31st) in 17 years.

  • Coldest November daytime high temperature in 25 years.

Other items of note — the strongest tornado to strike western Oregon or Washington since 1992 occurred in mid December in the town of Aumsville, Oregon. The Oregon chapter of the AMS will host a special technical meeting in January to detail exactly how this tornado came to be. All are welcome to attend this free meeting. For details see:

Portland was not the only local city to see seeing a very wet calendar year. Phil Pasteris of Tigard reported a whopping 10.51” of rainfall in just the month of December alone. Here are some other selected stations and their totals. The first number is December 2010 rainfall, followed by year end total (assuming no additional rain or snow falls):

Vancouver 8.23″ – 48.93″
Astoria 11.37″ – 79.67
Salem 9.95″ – 49.44″
Eugene 6.78″ – 45.59″
Hillsboro 8.16″ – 43.16″
McMinnville 9.58″ – 39.53″
Troutdale 7.38″ – 48.26″

Finally, I have some great news! Apparently a lot of people are reading this blog. In the first 12 hours after launching earlier this week, the blog received more than 3,050 page views and even more individual hits. That is excellent! After all, this blog is for all of you to discuss anything weather related no matter what your level of experience is. Please spread the word and pass along the blog URL to others. Those of you who know me best know I love weather stats. So, feel free to post your year-ending stats here no matter where you are in the metro area!

Stay tuned!


Steve Pierce

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:

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