Oregon Had Intense Mixed Bag of Weather This Year, Say Scientists

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Oregon Had Intense Mixed Bag of Weather This Year, Say Scientists

Published 12/29/2013

(Corvallis, Oregon) - Climatologists at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon say the state could not seem to make its mind what kind of weather year it was going to be with a dizzying array of extremes. Still, even with some unusually wet months, the United States drought monitor listed the entire state as at least abnormally dry in 2013.

Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU, said some major snow events in Corvallis and the wettest September on record didn't offset a general condition of drought.

“All of Oregon is listed as dry, but southern Oregon has been historically dry in 2013,” said Dello, “and Medford and the southern coast have a chance to have their driest year on record.”

Some other extremes of the year:

September wasn't just soggy – it hosted an enormous lightning storm through much of the state, which in turn caused some serious wildfires.

Some precipitation monitors near Coos Bay recorded as much as 5.77 inches of rain on September 29.

Oregon experienced a comparatively warm summer with more days than usual when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees, including the end of June and in September between the two rain events.

On the other end of the spectrum, temperatures in early December plummeted to near-record lows as an Arctic front moved in.

Eugene recorded its second coldest day on record when the mercury hit minus-10 degrees on December 8.

The December Arctic front hit the Corvallis area the hardest, with much of the area receiving 9-10 inches of powdery snow, forcing weeklong shutdowns of many schools and activities.

As of mid-December, the Eugene Airport had recorded 21.04 inches of precipitation; the record low was set in 1944 with 23.26 inches. Records there date back to 1911.

The Salem Airport had logged 23.41 inches through mid-December. The driest on record, dating back to 1940, is 23.77 inches.

The North Bend Airport is well ahead of the record dry year, set in 1976 with 33.52 inches. Through mid-December, the station had only recorded 28.67 inches. Records date to 1928.

Dello said more volunteers are needed to record weather data around the state as there is a lack of official weather recording stations. A program that is part of the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS, does just that around Oregon. Dello is hoping to get more citizens involved to collect local data on rain, snow and even hail.

“Data collected by volunteers throughout the state help provide us with much more accurate data, which leads to better precipitation maps and over the long haul, more accurate forecasting,” Dello said.

Persons interested in volunteering should go to the CoCoRaHS website at http://www.cocorahs.org/ to sign up. The Oregon Climate Service, which is part of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, coordinates the Oregon network.





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