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Historic Spring Snowstorm Strikes Western Oregon

Weather history is in the making across parts of Oregon today. For the second time in the past week, Oregon has been hit with another historic snowstorm. Snow fell to near sea level from Portland south to Eugene along the I-5 corridor overnight and continues today. This “spring” snowstorm is of substantial historical significance for Eugene, Oregon. Eugene’s records date back to 1939 at the airport. As of 11AM PDT, preliminary reports from Eugene’s airport indicates that at least 6″ of snow has fallen since midnight. This total will likely be updated again later today and may reveal additional snow accumulation as snow continues to fall. Other areas around Eugene are reporting as much as 9″ of total accumulation through 11AM PDT. This is going to go down as a truly historic “spring” snowstorm for Eugene and for Oregon. The following photo is courtesy of Kayle Price and was taken in Eugene this morning:


The following records have already been broken at the Eugene airport (1939-2012) this morning:

  1. The single largest calendar day snowfall ever recorded at the Eugene airport for this late in the season (1939-2012).
  2. The single largest March calendar day snowfall ever recorded at the Eugene airport. Previous record was 4.9″ set on 3/5/1951.
  3. Ranks in the top 10 of all-time heaviest single day snowfall totals of ANY month of the year at the Eugene airport (1939-2012).

The following records are also in jeopardy of falling by the end of the day at the Eugene airport (1939-2012):

  1. Daily record rainfall (melted snow). Old record is 1.20″ set on this day in 1998.
  2. Coldest daytime high temperature ever recorded for this late in the year.
  3. Coldest daytime high for the date. Old record is 43 set on this day in 1975.

Top 5 Calendar Day “March” Eugene Airport Snowfall Totals (inches) (1939-2012)

6.0″ / 3/21/2012 (through 11AM PDT)
4.9″ / 3/5/1951
2.9″ / 3/2/1960
2.5″ / 3/1/1966
2.3″ / 3/9/1951

Top 10 Calendar Day Eugene Airport Snowfall Totals (inches) All Months (1939-2012)

1/25/1969 / 14″
1/26/1969 / 13.9″
1/27/1969 / 10″
1/13/1971 / 7.3″
1/27/1950 / 7.2″
12/2/1985 / 7.2″
3/21/2012 / 6″
1/12/1971 / 6.2″
2/19/1993 / 5.7″
2/28/1996 / 5″

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce

Don’t forget — you can now get my latest in depth 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