Coldest February In 18 Years!

8:15am Wednesday —

Good morning! Did February seem like it was a bit on the chilly side? Well, it was. In fact, quite chilly! Here is a little piece I sent out this morning that I thought you might enjoy —

Vancouver, Washington (Wednesday, March 2nd 2011) 8:15am PT — After a fairly mild and dry start, February 2011 will go down as one for the record books at the Portland International Airport. From record cold, to record rain, to record late season snow, Portland experienced just about everything old man winter had to offer last month. Several of these records could last for many years to come.” All data below is from the Portland International Airport —

  • February 2011 was the coldest February in 18 years (since 1993) with an average monthly temperature of just 40.3 degrees, nearly 3 degrees below normal for the month.

  • February of 2011 was 6.3 degrees colder than last year’s 46.6 degree average monthly temperature.

  • February of 2011 is now ranked as the 8th coldest February on record dating back to 1949 (62 years).

  • February 26th 2011 posted an overnight low temperature of 18 degrees. It has never been this cold, this late in the season, dating back to 1940 (71 years).

  • Portland experienced its first area-wide snow event and sub-freezing temperatures in the second half of February since 1993 (18 years).

  • Monday’s (2/28) record daily rainfall of 1.66″ was the single wettest February day in Portland in the past 15 years. February 8th 1996 was the last February day to register more rainfall when 1.86″ fell. That was during the great flood of 1996 when more than 7″ of rain fell over three days, on top of 6-10″ of snow that fell in the days just prior.

  • February of 2011 registered 4.29″ of rainfall. That is the single wettest February since the year 2000 (11 years ago) when 4.50″ fell.

Supporting Data

February average temperatures at the Portland International Airport 1993-2011 (18 years) —

1993 40.0
1994 40.8

1995 46.5
1996 41.6
1997 42.9

1998 46.1
1999 43.7
2000 43.7
2001 42.0
2002 44.4
2003 44.3
2004 45.2
2005 43.5
2006 42.0
2007 44.2
2008 44.9
2009 41.4
2010 46.6
2011 40.3

Top 10 coldest February average temperatures at the Portland International Airport 1949-2011 (62 years) —

1956 35.8
1989 36.0
1950 38.8
1949 39.1
1969 39.7
1993 40.0
1964 40.1
2011 40.3
1955 40.4
1994 40.8

Top 5 coldest overnight low temperatures at the Portland International Airport for this late in the season 1940-2011 (71 years) —

1 – 2/26/2011 = 18 degrees
2 – 3/5/1955 = 19 degrees
3 – 3/3/1989 = 19 degrees
4 – 2/27/1960 = 19 degrees
5 – 2/27/1962 = 20 degrees

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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