All-Time Weather Record To Be Broken

All-Time Weather Record To Be Broken

Vancouver, Washington (December 7th 2011) – “Did it feel chilly this year in the Pacific Northwest? If you answered yes, you would be correct. With less than 25 days remaining in 2011 and no significantly warmer weather on the way, the Portland International Airport is very likely to set a new all-time record for the least number of 60 degree or higher days in a calendar year. So far in 2011, the Portland International Airport has reached 60 degrees or higher just 169 times which eclipses every other year on record at that location. Records date back to 1940 at the airport. The next closest year to 2011 is 1950 and 1955 which each recorded 172 days at or above 60 degrees. Looking even further back, the last time Portland recorded fewer days at or above 60 degrees was in 1909 (102 years ago) with 160. Records were taken in downtown Portland prior to 1940. The average number of days that Portland reaches 60 degrees or higher in a given year is approximately 200. The lowest was set in 1893 with just 145 days, while the highest was set in 1885 at 244 days. When analyzing the complete set of data dating back to 1875 (136 years) including both the airport and downtown, 2011 is the only year in the past 102 years to break the 170 day threshold.”

“Below is a list of the top 20 years where Portland reached 60 degrees or higher the fewest number of times. A chart is also included showing every year from 1875-2011 with a 10 year average trend line in red. There appears to be a signal in the trend line data which suggests a cycle somewhat similar in duration to that of the PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) which recently returned to the long term cold phase. After peaking in the 1980’s and 1990’s there is a notable decline in the number of 60 degree days in Portland over the past decade, with an even sharper drop in just the last few years. Portland now appears to be returning to a decadal average typical of what we saw in the 1950’s through the 1970’s.”

Here are the top 20 years where Portland reached 60 degrees or higher the fewest number of times —

Year / Number of 60 Degree+ Days

1893 145
1880 147
1899 151
1903 159
1901 160
1909 160
1886 164
2011 169
1894 170
1902 170
1920 171
1898 172
1905 172
1950 172
1955 172
1963 174
1882 175
1964 176
1933 177
1948 177

Here are Portland’s highest, lowest and average number of 60 degree or higher occurrences in a given year and decade —

Portland Complete Period of Record (1875-2011)

Average = 195
Lowest = 145 in 1893

Highest = 244 in 1885

Downtown Portland (1875-1947)

Downtown Average = 194
Downtown Lowest = 145 in 1893

Downtown Highest = 244 in 1885

Portland Airport (1948-2011)

Airport Average = 199
Airport Lowest = 169 in 2011
Airport Highest = 228 in 1992

Portland Decadal Averages

1875-1880 = 187
1881-1890 = 201
1891-1900 = 174
1901-1910 = 181
1911-1920 = 188
1921-1930 = 199
1931-1940 = 203
1941-1950 = 194
1951-1960 = 187
1961-1970 = 193
1971-1980 = 197
1981-1990 = 207
1991-2000 = 201
2001-2010 = 196


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Stay tuned!

Steve Pierce
President, Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Phone: 503-504-2075
Personal web site –
Oregon chapter of the AMS web site –

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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