All-Time Rainfall Records Fall

As of 8AM PDT Saturday, the Portland International Airport now joins Spokane, WA. in surpassing its all-time wettest March on record. Records date back to 1940 at the Portland airport. As of 12 PM PDT, the Portland airport has recorded 7.77″ of rainfall for the month of March, with more rain on the way. The average monthly rainfall in Portland during the month of March is 3.68.” The previous all-time record rainfall for the month of March at the Portland airport was 7.52″ set in 1957. With twelve hours left in the month, 8″ is not out of the realm of possibility. Looking back even further, downtown Portland records pre-date the airport and go back to 1871. When taking these into consideration, this is the wettest March since 1931 (81 years) when 8.12″ fell. The all-time wettest March on record in downtown Portland is a whopping 12.76″ set in 1873.

Here are some additional noteworthy facts about the March 2012 precipitation in Portland —

  • March of 2012 was more than three times wetter than December, when just 2.51″ of precipitation fell.
  • March of 2012 was the third wettest month in Portland in the past five years. November of 2006 recorded 11.92″ and December of 2010 recorded 8.35″ of precipitation.
  • Portland International Airport records date back to 1941 (71 years). Portland has now set new all-time record wettest monthly rainfall totals on three different months in just the past five years. June of 2010 set a new all-time monthly record with 4.27″. In November of 2006 a new monthly all-time record was set with 11.92″ of precipitation. March of 2012 will now be added to this list.

Not only is it wet, but it is also quite cold in Portland as of late. Calendar year 2011 saw the coldest annual average temperature in Portland since 1985, at just 52.9 degrees. The average temperature for March in Portland so far is just 44.8 degrees, which is currently the coldest March since 1976. We are in the final months of what has been a multi-year La Nina, coupled with what is all but certain to be a new long term cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). These two factors combined can lead to wetter and cooler than normal winters and springs, on average.

Here is a look at some of the rainfall totals across the Pacific Northwest as of 12 PM PDT Saturday —

Reminder — Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society to Host Regional Climate Change Meeting with Oregon Climatologist Dr. Phil Mote at Portland State University on Tuesday, April 10th 7-9pm —

The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will co-host a two hour meeting at Portland State University’s Grand Ballroom with Oregon Climatologist Dr. Phil Mote on Tuesday, April 10th from 7-9pm. This free public meeting will explore humans role in global climate change. It is being billed as, “The Scientific Case for Human Influence on Global Climate: What We Learn From Analyzing ALL The Evidence.” If you would like complete details about this meeting, including a PSU campus map and driving directions, please see: Joining Dr. Mote will be Andreas Schmittner, Oregon State University Professor of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and Dr. Christina Hulbe, Professor of Geology at Portland State University. The panel plans to give a single joint presentation that will educate attendees on the influence humans have on climate, as backed by scientific evidence. The panel may also raise counterpoints to data presented at a similar Oregon AMS meeting last January. In that meeting, the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) hosted a panel of scientists that asked the question, “Is Human Caused Global Warming the Greatest Scientific Myth of Our Generation?” For a recap of the January meeting click:

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce, President
Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)

Don’t forget — you can now get my latest in depth weather and climate updates via Facebook. Send me a friend request at and I will add you in. Not on Facebook? E-mail me at Don’t forget to bookmark this blog at 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

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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