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Historic Snowstorm Along Coast – Totals

Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke Tuesday morning to no power, downed trees, closed roads and as much as 8″ of snow in a rare one-two punch. This storm will likely go down in the record books as one of the largest coastal snowstorms in the month of March ever recorded at some locations. Records date back to the late 1800’s along the Oregon coast. The last coastal snowstorm of this size in the month of March was in 1951 when between 4″ and 8″ inches of snow fell. What is even more rare about this storm is the fact that within 12 hours bewildered coastal residents went from 50 degrees with hurricane force wind gusts to 32 degrees and 6″ of snow. All of this taking place just a week before the official start of spring.

A strong Pacific storm raced ashore Monday morning bringing wind gusts to nearly 90 mph along the Oregon coast line. By sunset Monday, near record setting snows were falling along nearly the entire coastline of Oregon including the the shoreline beaches. Areas that were hit especially hard included Pacific City, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport and Florence, Oregon. This area spans about 100 miles. Hwy 101 near Cape Foulweather (just north of Newport, OR) was closed in both directions due to downed trees and stranded cars as snow fell on freshly fallen timber overnight. Here is a look at the snow totals as of Tuesday morning. Special thanks to the Portland office of the National Weather Service for this information —

OREGON COAST

TILLAMOOK, OR = 8.5″
NEWPORT, OR = 6.0″
FLORENCE, OR = 5.0″

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

LIVINGSTON MTN – CAMAS, WA = 5.5″
HAPPY VALLEY, OR = 5.0″
BORING, OR = 4.0″
CANBY, OR = 2.5″
HAPPY VALLEY, OR = 2.0″
LONGVIEW, WA = 2.0″
CAMAS, WA = 2.0″
WASHOUGAL, WA = 2.0″
MILWAUKIE, OR = 1.2″
WILSONVILLE, OR = 1.1″
SALEM, OR = 1.0″
GRESHAM, OR = 1.0″

CASCADE MOUNTAINS

JUNE LAKE, WA = 21.0″
SPENCER MEADOWS, WA = 19.0″
SHEEP CANYON, WA = 17.0″
SURPRISE LAKES, WA = 15.0″
BENNETT PASS, MT HOOD, OR = 9.0″
MT HOOD MEADOWS, OR = 7.0″
GOVERNMENT CAMP, OR = 7.0″
TIMBERLINE LODGE, OR = 6.0″
MCKENZIE, OR = 6.0″
ROARING RIVER, OR = 6.0″
WILLAMETTE PASS, OR = 6.0″
TOMBSTONE, OR. = 3.0″

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce

Don’t forget — you can now get my latest weather and climate updates via Facebook. Send me a friend request at http://www.facebook.com/stevepiercevancouver and I will add you in. Not on Facebook? E-mail me at stevejpierce@comcast.net. Don’t forget to bookmark this blog at http://www.columbian.com/weblogs/weather for my latest thoughts. Are you a professional meteorologist or just interested in weather? Why not join the single largest chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in the country with nearly 200 fellow members? The Oregon chapter of the AMS is just $7 a year. We host eight monthly meetings from Sept-June, including the annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference in Portland each fall! Even if you are not a local resident you can still stay updated via e-mail on all of the latest chapter happenings, upcoming meetings and historical weather stats. For additional membership details or to download a membership application please see http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/membership.html

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: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml