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On This Day In History...Major Weather Events in the PNW or West


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Yeah, and therein lies the problem with trusting some of the oldest weather data we have, even at usually reliable stations.

 

I've run into the same thing with trying to corroborate some of downtown Portland's numbers from the early 1870s. Reading the monthly weather reports from 1872-74 and seeing the numbers get totally contradicted in some cases. Makes it tough to reconstruct prolific events when there's so little concrete info to go off of.

 

That's interesting. I never looked at those early 1870's snowfall numbers in Portland too closely. They're pretty out there. I always figured the 50" from 1871-72 was legit since that appeared to be a huge winter in Seattle and Eola as well. 

 

If you go strictly by the official numbers, downtown Portland measured 78.6" between November 1871 and December 1872....14 months. Certainly possible in that era's climate, but I do wonder about measuring techniques/practices in those days. 

 

I've always wondered about the 15.2" in March 1874 as well. 

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I just want to say thank you to Demitri, Justin, Jim, and all others who are contributing to this thread. I’m learning a ton of fascinating information.

Incredible low level Fraser River push on this day in 1985. SEA had a midnight high of 35 and temps quickly tumbled as the front moved in, with a daytime high of just 21. To the north, near all time r

An even more impressive PNW severe event occurred on June 2-3, 1894, also during the midst of the most severe flood event on record in Portland.   As with our other severe events, a strong marine push

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That's interesting. I never looked at those early 1870's snowfall numbers in Portland too closely. They're pretty out there. I always figured the 50" from 1871-72 was legit since that appeared to be a huge winter in Seattle and Eola as well. 

 

If you go strictly by the official numbers, downtown Portland measured 78.6" between November 1871 and December 1872....14 months. Certainly possible in that era's climate, but I do wonder about measuring techniques/practices in those days. 

 

I've always wondered about the 15.2" in March 1874 as well. 

 

It's frustrating, I know both the signal service and the Smithsonian Institute had stations in Portland from 1871 to 1873, but the data from one or the other seem like it's all over the place and often contradictory. The Signal Station numbers are the ones that I see in the Monthly Weather Reports reported by The Oregonian and they certainly don't support many of the interesting winter numbers from that time frame (basically only describes 2.8" of snow in 1872-73 as one example).

 

March 1874's 15.2" of snow that is apparently in the records of the signal service had no news reports to back it up and the monthly weather report doesn't support it at all either. This continues even as late as 1875-76 (28.9" that winter). There's actually very little in the monthly/newspaper data to back up some of the more eye-popping early snow numbers that you see from downtown.

 

Granted, news reporting at that time was pretty archaic and scattered so even then it's hard to glean much concrete info since hard scientific data was rarely incorporated in any of it. Thank God our observers had collectively gotten some of their sh*t together by the 1890s  :lol:  

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It's frustrating, I know both the signal service and the Smithsonian Institute had stations in Portland from 1871 to 1873, but the data from one or the other seem like it's all over the place and often contradictory. The Signal Station numbers are the ones that I see in the Monthly Weather Reports reported by The Oregonian and they certainly don't support many of the interesting winter numbers from that time frame (basically only describes 2.8" of snow in 1872-73 as one example).

 

March 1874's 15.2" of snow that is apparently in the records of the signal service had no news reports to back it up and the monthly weather report doesn't support it at all either. This continues even as late as 1875-76 (28.9" that winter). There's actually very little in the monthly/newspaper data to back up some of the more eye-popping early snow numbers that you see from downtown.

 

Granted, news reporting at that time was pretty archaic and scattered so even then it's hard to glean much concrete info since hard scientific data was rarely incorporated in any of it. Thank God our observers had collectively gotten some of their sh*t together by the 1890s  :lol:  

 

Eola does show an 8" snowfall on March 3, 1874. Plenty of cool weather as well. 2pm readings were 38 & 40 on the 1st-2nd, followed by 39 on both the 7th and 8th. 

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52.0" was the monthly total for December 1892, as reported by the Weather Bureau.

 

52.0" was the monthly total for December 1892, as reported by the Weather Bureau.

 

Totally insane...especially considering what came later.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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12-22-

 

This is the date the festivities officially began in the winter of 1861-62 when 5 inches of snow fall at Fort Steilacom.  In many locations snow would remain on the ground constantly well into February and in some cases into early March!

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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This was the date of the largest snow even of December 2008 in Marion County. We picked up 6-8" in the Silverton area. Silver Falls recorded 10". 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 40.47"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

 

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 

 

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This was the date of the largest snow even of December 2008 in Marion County. We picked up 6-8" in the Silverton area. Silver Falls recorded 10". 

 

Also 6" where I lived in Oregon City on 12-22-2008. Total overkill considering I still had 6-8" on the ground from the previous two days. 

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12-23-1983

 

Massive east wind storm began to ramp up west of the Cascades. PDX reached 36g48 by 10:00 PM, with a temperature of 14 and a dp of -5. By 6:00 AM on the 24th, the wind had reached 39g52 along with a temperature of 16. 

 

90 mph gusts swept through the Bull Run watershed, leveling half a billion board feet of timber. This was one of the largest windthrow events of the 20th century on the west side of Mt. Hood. 

 

The Arctic outbreak was nearing its peak with a phenomenally large spread of extremely cold temperatures. All-time record lows were set from coast to coast, including 3 in Raymond on the 22nd and 7 in Grayland on the 23rd. Seattle's Jackson Park station hit 2 on the 22nd (all-time record for 1961-1986 POR) while Olympia hit -7 on the 23rd, which was within 1 degree of the all-time record. Glenwood, WA (POR 1979-) hit an all-time record of -27 on the 23rd; in eastern Oregon, Mitchell set an all-time record with -27 on the 24th while Seneca hit -48 on the 23rd, a monthly record. Stanley, Idaho hit -54 on the 23rd, an all-time record for the station and the Idaho state record low for the month of December. Wisdom hit -55 on the 23rd, its all-time record, while Havre hit -50 on the 24th, tying its December record from way back in 1884. In Wyoming, all-time records included -50 in Big Piney on the 23rd and -48 at Burgess Junction on the 24th. Williston, ND hit -50 on the 23rd, tying its all-time record from February 1936 while North Platte, NE hit -34 on the 22nd, just missing the all-time record of -35 set in the great cold waves of January 1888 and February 1899. Dallas, TX reeled off 11 consecutive days with sub-freezing maximums; no other streak in the city's history exceeded 7 days. Brownsville, TX was 30/20 on Christmas Day, the maximum missed the all-time record by 1 degree. Date palms were killed in the lower Rio Grande Valley; following this and the December 1989 cold wave (when Brownsville hit 16) many were never replanted. Brunswick, on the coast of Georgia, hit 12 on Christmas Day; this reading is second only to 6 degrees in January 1985 (POR 1948-). A reading of 9 in Lake City, FL on the 26th threatened the two greatest cold waves in SE US history, when readings in Lake City hit 6 on 2/13/1899 and 7 on 1/21/1985; likewise Orlando, FL missed their all-time record by 2 degrees, hitting 20 on the 26th. 

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Eola does show an 8" snowfall on March 3, 1874. Plenty of cool weather as well. 2pm readings were 38 & 40 on the 1st-2nd, followed by 39 on both the 7th and 8th. 

 

The Oregonian reported a low of 33 in downtown Portland that month on the 18th, on a sunny day with no precip. The early part of the month did have wet snow, but no mention of significant accumulations.

 

March 1870 on the other hand sounded pretty awesome around here. Looks like 9-10" mid-month around Portland. Major storm and airmass.

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12-23-1983

 

Massive east wind storm began to ramp up west of the Cascades. PDX reached 36g48 by 10:00 PM, with a temperature of 14 and a dp of -5. By 6:00 AM on the 24th, the wind had reached 39g52 along with a temperature of 16. 

 

90 mph gusts swept through the Bull Run watershed, leveling half a billion board feet of timber. This was one of the largest windthrow events of the 20th century on the west side of Mt. Hood. 

 

The Arctic outbreak was nearing its peak with a phenomenally large spread of extremely cold temperatures. All-time record lows were set from coast to coast, including 3 in Raymond on the 22nd and 7 in Grayland on the 23rd. Seattle's Jackson Park station hit 2 on the 22nd (all-time record for 1961-1986 POR) while Olympia hit -7 on the 23rd, which was within 1 degree of the all-time record. Glenwood, WA (POR 1979-) hit an all-time record of -27 on the 23rd; in eastern Oregon, Mitchell set an all-time record with -27 on the 24th while Seneca hit -48 on the 23rd, a monthly record. Stanley, Idaho hit -54 on the 23rd, an all-time record for the station and the Idaho state record low for the month of December. Wisdom hit -55 on the 23rd, its all-time record, while Havre hit -50 on the 24th, tying its December record from way back in 1884. In Wyoming, all-time records included -50 in Big Piney on the 23rd and -48 at Burgess Junction on the 24th. Williston, ND hit -50 on the 23rd, tying its all-time record from February 1936 while North Platte, NE hit -34 on the 22nd, just missing the all-time record of -35 set in the great cold waves of January 1888 and February 1899. Dallas, TX reeled off 11 consecutive days with sub-freezing maximums; no other streak in the city's history exceeded 7 days. Brownsville, TX was 30/20 on Christmas Day, the maximum missed the all-time record by 1 degree. Date palms were killed in the lower Rio Grande Valley; following this and the December 1989 cold wave (when Brownsville hit 16) many were never replanted. Brunswick, on the coast of Georgia, hit 12 on Christmas Day; this reading is second only to 6 degrees in January 1985 (POR 1948-). A reading of 9 in Lake City, FL on the 26th threatened the two greatest cold waves in SE US history, when readings in Lake City hit 6 on 2/13/1899 and 7 on 1/21/1985; likewise Orlando, FL missed their all-time record by 2 degrees, hitting 20 on the 26th. 

 

Yeah 1983 was a really stunning event. I can imagine the media hype if something like that happened now. At the time the country was coming off a remarkable series of cold outbreaks from 1977-1982, so it didn't jump out quite as much.

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The Oregonian reported a low of 33 in downtown Portland that month on the 18th, on a sunny day with no precip. The early part of the month did have wet snow, but no mention of significant accumulations.

 

March 1870 on the other hand sounded pretty awesome around here. Looks like 9-10" mid-month around Portland. Major storm and airmass.

 

That's a head-scratcher. 

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Yeah 1983 was a really stunning event. I can imagine the media hype if something like that happened now. At the time the country was coming off a remarkable series of cold outbreaks from 1977-1982, so it didn't jump out quite as much.

 

January 1977 to February 1996 was quite the stretch east of the Rockies. 

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1871

 

Major Arctic outbreak overspread the Pacific Northwest. Eola, near Salem, crashed from 34 at 2:00 PM on the 24th to 17 by 2:00 PM on the 25th. The mercury continued dropping, reaching 11 by 9:00 PM and 7 degrees above zero by 7:00 AM on the 26th. On the 26th and 27th, 0.90" of liquid-equivalent precipitation fell with temperatures between 7 and 20 degrees. 

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Dec 24-25, 1982 brought the Front Range's whitest Christmas on record. 2-3' fell across the region, with the 23.8" at the airport marking the fourth largest Denver snowstorm on record. It was a travel nightmare for many, as the airport was shutdown for almost 2 days, stranding thousands over the holiday.

Low. Solar.

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Christmas Day - 

 

1852 - On this day the Puget Sound region had it's coldest and perhaps deepest snow cover Christmas since this region was settled.  The Fort Steilacom records indicate an 18/0 temperature spread with 13 inches of snow on the ground.  I would have to rank this number one due to the fact it was also sunny on that day.

 

Other white Christmas's off the top of my head include:

 

1861

1871 - Very white

1884 - Very white

1892 - Rapidly melting leftovers from an earlier storm

1924

1965

1990

2008

 

I know there are several others.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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Also, Fort Logan in Montana was -53 on Christmas Day in 1871. To give perspective on the airmass that crashed the Willamette Valley on that day.

 

Dec 1871 was epic.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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Christmas Day - 

 

1852 - On this day the Puget Sound region had it's coldest and perhaps deepest snow cover Christmas since this region was settled.  The Fort Steilacom records indicate an 18/0 temperature spread with 13 inches of snow on the ground.  I would have to rank this number one due to the fact it was also sunny on that day.

 

Other white Christmas's off the top of my head include:

 

1861

1871 - Very white

1884 - Very white

1892 - Rapidly melting leftovers from an earlier storm

1924

1965

1990

2008

 

I know there are several others.

1996 for North Puget Sound; Skagit, Whatcom, maybe Whidbey, etc  Probably lower mainland BC too.  Main event for the rest of Western WA occurred after Christmas, but up North we already had a white Christmas

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Since I moved here in 1989 I have had 1 White Christmas. 2008. One to remember for sure.

Springfield, Oregon cold season 20-21 Stats:

  • Coldest high: 38F (Nov 21)
  • Coldest low: 23F (Oct 26)
  • Days with below freezing temps: 36 (Most recent: Feb 24, 2021)
  • Days with sub-40F highs: 3 (Most recent: Dec 24)
  • Total snowfall: 0.0"
  • Last accumulating snowfall: February 27, 2019
  • Last sub-freezing high: Jan 14, 2017 (31F)
  • Last White Christmas: 1990
  • Significant wind events (gusts 45+): 0

Personal Stats:

  • Last accumulating snowfall: February 27, 2019
  • Last sub-freezing high: Jan 14, 2017 (31)
  • Last White Christmas: 2008
  • Total snowfall since joining TheWeatherForums: 20.7"

GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/CollegeBasketballvsEpilepsy

My Twitter @357jerseys4hope

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Since I moved here in 1989 I have had 1 White Christmas. 2008. One to remember for sure.

We had snow on the ground in Silverton on Christmas Day 1990.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 40.47"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

 

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 

 

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The snowiest Christmas on record at Silver Falls was Christmas Day 1954. That appears to have been a cold onshore flow type situation. 10" fell at the park.

 

Salem had 1/2" of snow that day and PDX and EUG both had a trace.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 40.47"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

 

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 

 

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On this date in 2017, a large portion of the Puget Sound woke up to a legitimate White Christmas thanks to a glancing blow by an impressive early winter Arctic air mass followed quickly by a fairly weak, splitting system.

 

This event is oft overlooked due to obscene amount of overshadowing which resulted from the well-documented and obsessively lamented events which began on MLK Jr.'s birthday (observed) the following year.

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My preferences can beat up your preferences’ dad.

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On this date in 2017, a large portion of the Puget Sound woke up to a legitimate White Christmas thanks to a glancing blow by an impressively early winter Arctic air mass followed quickly by a fairly weak, splitting system.

 

This event is oft overlooked due to obscene amount of overshadowing which resulted from the well-documented and obsessively lamented events which began in MLK Jr.'s birthday (observed) the following year.

Yeah, that blowtorch was epic!

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Yeah, that blowtorch was epic!

I think it was almost fortuitous in a way that Jesse spent the better part of the second half of that month in a drug-induced coma following the incident with that mad bro of his.

My preferences can beat up your preferences’ dad.

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I think it was almost fortuitous in a way that Jesse spent the better part of the second half of that month in a drug-induced coma following the incident with that mad bro of his.

 

True, but  I felt awful that he had to whether the ridiculously hot following September so soon after. It was a tough stretch.

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1996 for North Puget Sound; Skagit, Whatcom, maybe Whidbey, etc  Probably lower mainland BC too.  Main event for the rest of Western WA occurred after Christmas, but up North we already had a white Christmas

 

There are so many years we missed a White Christmas by just a day or two.  1968 had snow just before and just after Christmas.  If 1996 had happened one day earlier SEA would have had 4 in less than 30 years.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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Didn't a lot of people up that way have snow in 2007 as well?

I almost forgot about that one. We had a dusting in Silverton on Christmas Day 2007.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 40.47"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

 

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 

 

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12/27 - 12/31

 

1968 - One of the great Arctic outbreaks of the 20th century struck Washington and other Western states beginning on the 27th.  This tremendous shot of cold air brought back to back highs of 17 and 18 to SEA on the 29th and 30th with lows of 8 and 6 respectively on those dates.  SEA recorded 3.7 inches of snow on the 30th.  Due to the snow falling during such extreme cold the snow had an insane 25 to 1 snow to water ratio!  New Years Eve then added another 9.3" of snow for a storm total of 13 inches.

 

It is during this cold wave WA recorded it's all time low temperature when Winthrop and Mazama dropped to -48F.

 

A truly fantastic event that proved to be just an appetizer for events later that winter.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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1880: 

 

Massive Arctic outbreak began in Montana, peaking on the 29th-30th. Havre was -32/-42 on the 29th. Helena had a maximum of -28 on the 29th (second only to -33 on 1/31/1893), followed by a low of -40 on the 30th, which was within 2 degrees of the all-time record. 

 

Fort Benton hit -59 on the 29th, although this may have been an "on the grass" reading. 

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Incredible readings in BC during the December 1968 cold wave.

 

-63 at Puntzi Mountain 

-53 at Vanderhoof

-47 at Kimberley

-45 at Merritt

-45 at Princeton

-43 at Fernie

-40 at Cranbrook

-38 at Vernon

-37 at Armstrong

-34 at Kamloops

-33 at Kelowna

-30 at Hope Slide

-12 at Hope

-11 at Bella Coola

-9 at Prince Rupert

-7 at Chilliwack

-4 at Nanaimo

-4 at Abbotsford

0 at Vancouver Int'l

4 at Victoria (Gonzales Heights)

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On this day in 1996 at this moment I was glued to my tv watching constant coverage of the storm, we were in a lull, during the early to mid afternoon we rose above freezing, all the way to 37 degrees...I was getting irratated that it was getting so warm but the entire state of Washington was under a winter storm warning (only time I ever remember that happening) by about 4pm the temp started its free fall, the clouds lowered at sunset and we were primed! Temp fell from 37 at 3pm all the way down to 14 degrees when the snow started falling around 8pm that evening. Heavy snow from 8pm to 9am the following morning, blizzard warning happened for my area that night and 24” of snow fell. Then it warmed up rapidly, we had to get over to the lake house and shovel the then flat roof (major structural redesign in the spring of 1997, no more flat roof) the snow was so thick my dads 4wd blazer was bottoming out in the snow but we made it there. It was an exhausting day of shoveling but that is one I will be telling my kids and grandkids until I’m dead. It was epic, that temp drop was magical the evening of the 28th. I will have to dig up pics, I have some somewhere.

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12-28-1990

 

Huge northerly blast. Trees and power lines down in the Seattle area from 60+ mph gusts. PDX advected into the low 20's on NW winds that reached 25 mph sustained:

 

https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPDX/1990/12/28/DailyHistory.html?cm_ven=localwx_history

 

PDX has yet to match the 22 degree maximum on 12-29-1990, yet at the time it was probably considered an afterthought as maximums had been 19-20-21 on the 20th-22nd. 

 

This shot of Arctic air was actually colder than the earlier "main event" from the 19th-23rd in parts of the interior PNW. Kalispell, MT hit -35 on the 29th, tying the monthly record from 1968 and coming within 3 degrees of the all-time record (-38 on 1-30 & 1-31 in 1950). Yakima hit -16, just missing the monthly record of -17 from 12-17-1964. Also on the 29th/30th, numerous stations in NE Oregon recorded their lowest minimums of the month, beating out the earlier blast: -38 at Ukiah (tying monthly record from 1983), -33 at Enterprise 20NNE (all-time record for POR 1969-2010), -31 at Elgin (all-time record with POR back to 1937), -30 at Enterprise (tying monthly record from 1964), and -26 at Pendleton Experiment Station (tying monthly record from 1983).

 

In Washington state, this blast was also colder than the earlier event in many areas, especially east of the Cascades. Republic hit -27 on the 29th, the lowest temperature in the state for December 1990; Blaine hit 3 degrees and Wenatchee Experiment Station fell to -20 on the 29th as well. For the Wenatchee Exp. Station, this was an all-time record during its 47 year existence (1950-1997). 

 

The late December 1990 freeze was one of the most damaging on record in fruit-growing areas of eastern WA, due to widespread readings in the -10's and -20's without insulation from snow cover. In the Methow Valley, this was described as the worst freeze since December 1968 in terms of crop damage. 

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12-28-1990

 

Huge northerly blast. Trees and power lines down in the Seattle area from 60+ mph gusts. PDX advected into the low 20's on NW winds that reached 25 mph sustained:

 

https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPDX/1990/12/28/DailyHistory.html?cm_ven=localwx_history

 

PDX has yet to match the 22 degree maximum on 12-29-1990, yet at the time it was probably considered an afterthought as maximums had been 19-20-21 on the 20th-22nd. 

 

This shot of Arctic air was actually colder than the earlier "main event" from the 19th-23rd in parts of the interior PNW. Kalispell, MT hit -35 on the 29th, tying the monthly record from 1968 and coming within 3 degrees of the all-time record (-38 on 1-30 & 1-31 in 1950). Yakima hit -16, just missing the monthly record of -17 from 12-17-1964. Also on the 29th/30th, numerous stations in NE Oregon recorded their lowest minimums of the month, beating out the earlier blast: -38 at Ukiah (tying monthly record from 1983), -33 at Enterprise 20NNE (all-time record for POR 1969-2010), -31 at Elgin (all-time record with POR back to 1937), -30 at Enterprise (tying monthly record from 1964), and -26 at Pendleton Experiment Station (tying monthly record from 1983).

 

In Washington state, this blast was also colder than the earlier event in many areas, especially east of the Cascades. Republic hit -27 on the 29th, the lowest temperature in the state for December 1990; Blaine hit 3 degrees and Wenatchee Experiment Station fell to -20 on the 29th as well. For the Wenatchee Exp. Station, this was an all-time record during its 47 year existence (1950-1997). 

 

The late December 1990 freeze was one of the most damaging on record in fruit-growing areas of eastern WA, due to widespread readings in the -10's and -20's without insulation from snow cover. In the Methow Valley, this was described as the worst freeze since December 1968 in terms of crop damage. 

 

One of the last real arctic fronts...

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Today was the start of a nice little stretch in 2003 into early 2004. Lots of chunky rain here!

Yup. Then we dropped below freezing overnight and had a foot of snow here in Monmouth. Even Eugene had several inches from that one. Was it a backdoor event going in?

Springfield, Oregon cold season 20-21 Stats:

  • Coldest high: 38F (Nov 21)
  • Coldest low: 23F (Oct 26)
  • Days with below freezing temps: 36 (Most recent: Feb 24, 2021)
  • Days with sub-40F highs: 3 (Most recent: Dec 24)
  • Total snowfall: 0.0"
  • Last accumulating snowfall: February 27, 2019
  • Last sub-freezing high: Jan 14, 2017 (31F)
  • Last White Christmas: 1990
  • Significant wind events (gusts 45+): 0

Personal Stats:

  • Last accumulating snowfall: February 27, 2019
  • Last sub-freezing high: Jan 14, 2017 (31)
  • Last White Christmas: 2008
  • Total snowfall since joining TheWeatherForums: 20.7"

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Yup. Then we dropped below freezing overnight and had a foot of snow here in Monmouth. Even Eugene had several inches from that one. Was it a backdoor event going in?

That was a borderline air mass with a surface low tracking inland to the south. Precip rates played heavily in that one.

My preferences can beat up your preferences’ dad.

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Here's a good writeup on the blizzard of 96, which came to an end on Dec 29th:

 

http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/events/vicsnow96.htm

 

RIP Keith Heidorn, the "Weather Doctor." Passed away in 2013 at the age of 66. 

 

I used to read his monthly weather diaries in the early days of the internet, probably 20 years ago now. His website was one of the first sources out there that summarized weather extremes around the US, Canada, and the rest of the world by calendar date. 

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12-28-

 

1871 - The Puget Sound region was in the midst of perhaps the greatest multi day December snowstorm on record.  I have data from San Juan Island and partial data from Seattle for this month and it was utterly insane with very cold temperatures and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 inches of snow in a three day period.  As was common with observations from this era exact snow data wasn't given so snowfall has to be extrapolated from temps and water equivalent.  Suffice it to say this was an historic event.  

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2020-21 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 7.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 5

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 23

Lows 32 or below = 35

Highs 32 or below = 2

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 5

 

 

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On this date in 2003 an area of low pressure tracked south of Salem with a broad quasi-stationary baroclinic band of precipitation to the north. Temperatures slowly dropped throughout the evening under steady precip and light offshore flow. By late evening on the 28th rain began transitioning to snow across the western part of the Willamette Valley as cold air banked against the coast range. Places like Dallas and Monmouth were the first to transition around 9-10pm and they would receive the heaviest accumulations with 8-12" of snow falling by morning on the 29th. Precip would transition to snow at Salem by midnight and further east towards Silverton where I was living the changeover did not take place until about 3-4am on the 29th. The Salem area saw about 4-8" of snow with places to the north and east getting lower totals, the higher totals south and west. In Silverton we picked up about 4.5" of snow. 

 

Because the events played out in a relatively similar fashion a lot of PNW weenies confuse the Dec 28-29, 2003 event with the more widespread January 1, 2004 event. PDX never switched to snow with the earlier event and at least in the east valley the accumulating snow on the 28-29th event stayed south of a Woodburn/Molalla line. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 40.47"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

 

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 

 

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