Weather Records In Jeopardy

Weather Records In Jeopardy

Feeling a bit cold and wet? Well, spring in the Pacific Northwest is acting a lot more like late winter, as yet another cold system slides into the region. Snow is expected to fall to relatively low elevations across the Cascades. The pattern of colder and wetter than normal continues unabated across much of the Pacific Northwest. Astoria, Oregon has still not reached their first 60 degree temperature of the calendar year! The old record for Astoria’s “latest first 60” of the year was set on April 19th 1945. February, March and April combined are among the coldest and wettest on record (1940-2011) at the Portland International Airport. April is also very close to setting a new record as the wettest in Portland Airport history (1940-2011). To further illustrate just how cold and wet it has been over the past three months, here are a few records I have compiled. All records are for the Portland International Airport (1940-2011) and valid through 4/26:

  1. Number of 60+ degree days this calendar year (through 4/26) = Just 5.
  2. Number of 70+ degree days this calendar year (through 4/26) = Just 1.
  3. Average first 70+ degree day each year = April 1st. Latest first 70+ degree day = 5/5/1967.
  4. A new record was set for the latest “first 60 degree day of the calendar year” on March 31st. The old record was March 27th set in 1955.
  5. Portland has received measurable precipitation (0.01″+) on 47 of the last 60 days, including 23 days in a row in the month of March alone.

February 2011
1. Average temperature was 40.3 degrees, which was -2.8 degrees below normal.
2. February was 8th coldest February on record (1940-2011).
3. The coldest February on record is 1956 at 35.8 degrees.

March 2011
1. Average temperature was 46.1 degrees, which was -1.1 degrees below normal.
2. The Coldest March on record is 1955 at 41.5 degrees.
3. March 2011 total precip was 6.43″ which was the 5th wettest on record (1940-2011).

April 2011
1. Average Temperature is 47.8 degrees (through 4/26), which is -3.1 degrees below normal.

2. Coldest April on record is 1955 at 46.5 degrees.

3. April 2011 is currently the 5th coldest April on record (1940-2011) through 4/26.
4. April 2011 is currently the 4th wettest on record (1940-2011) through 4/26 with 4.60″ of precip this month.

5. April 2011 is currently the wettest April since 1996 (15 yrs).
6. The wettest April on record (1940-2011) is 5.26″ set in 1993.

7. Only 0.67″ of precip needs to fall before 11:59pm Saturday night and April 2011 will be the wettest on record (1940-2011) at the Portland International Airport.

February/March/April (Three Month) Average Temperatures Combined
1. Coldest average three month temperature since 1975! See chart below.
2. 6th coldest on record (1940-2011)!

More than 15″ of precipitation fell on Portland from Feb 1 to April 26, making this the 4th wettest on record (1940-2011) for those three months combined. This ranking is not likely to change by months end. So, after hearing all of this, does it make you want to pack up and move or stick it out? I am a true Pacific Northwest kind of person. I say, “bring it on!”

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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