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Driest Location Or Town In WA and OR


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I did a Google search for driest town in Washington State and amazingly there is really no clear answer to be found. An amazing number of people think that Sequim is the driest place in the state which just blows my mind, but that's neither here nor there.

 

Anyway...I did about a half hour of research other than Google and the driest town I could find in WA was Sunnyside with a yearly average of 6.80". Incredibly dry, but I'll bet some microclimates are even a bit drier. I would be interested if anyone has input on the driest places in either WA or OR. Even California could be fun with this as I'm sure some places are ridiculously dry in that state.

 

For the record the Sequim area runs 16 to 17 inches for an annual average.

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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It sounds as if Sunnyside lives up to its name with only an average of less than 7" precip a year. I don't know where it is located, but I am assuming that it is in the eastern portion of the state, which is drier being on the leeward side of the Cascades (rain shadow).

 

In CA, the driest place in the entire state, and North America for that matter, is Death Valley, which averages a paltry 2.36" of precipitation annually. The Greenland Ranch station there averages 1.58" annually, according to Wikipedia.

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Sequim isn't even close, as it's wetter than about half of eastern WA.

 

I think Hanford has to be the driest location in the state of WA. The most recent year with data there shows 5.08" of rain in 2012, with 2.62" in 2011 and 5.97" in 2010. I believe they average only 4 or 5" per year. No wonder it's a toxic waste dump.

 

Eastern OR has a bit more elevation which generally helps. The driest area of the state is the village of Fields which is close to Nevada in SE OR. They average about 6.53" per year from 1973 to 2013, with some nearby areas probably being a bit drier.

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Sequim isn't even close, as it's wetter than about half of eastern WA.

 

I think Hanford has to be the driest location in the state of WA. The most recent year with data there shows 5.08" of rain in 2012, with 2.62" in 2011 and 5.97" in 2010. I believe they average only 4 or 5" per year. No wonder it's a toxic waste dump.

 

Eastern OR has a bit more elevation which generally helps. The driest area of the state is the village of Fields which is close to Nevada in SE OR. They average about 6.53" per year from 1973 to 2013, with some nearby areas probably being a bit drier.

I would imagine the Alvord Desert, a dried ancient salt lake bed playa in the leeward rain shadow of Steens Mountain, is even drier than Fields.

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Sequim isn't even close, as it's wetter than about half of eastern WA.

 

I think Hanford has to be the driest location in the state of WA. The most recent year with data there shows 5.08" of rain in 2012, with 2.62" in 2011 and 5.97" in 2010. I believe they average only 4 or 5" per year. No wonder it's a toxic waste dump.

 

Eastern OR has a bit more elevation which generally helps. The driest area of the state is the village of Fields which is close to Nevada in SE OR. They average about 6.53" per year from 1973 to 2013, with some nearby areas probably being a bit drier.

That's a pretty insane 3 year average for Hanford alright. From that it appears drier than Sunnyside.

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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I did a Google search for driest town in Washington State and amazingly there is really no clear answer to be found. An amazing number of people think that Sequim is the driest place in the state which just blows my mind, but that's neither here nor there.

 

Anyway...I did about a half hour of research other than Google and the driest town I could find in WA was Sunnyside with a yearly average of 6.80". Incredibly dry, but I'll bet some microclimates are even a bit drier. I would be interested if anyone has input on the driest places in either WA or OR. Even California could be fun with this as I'm sure some places are ridiculously dry in that state.

 

For the record the Sequim area runs 16 to 17 inches for an annual average.

Seems correct to me, it seems like Sunnyside is the driest place in the Yakima valley.

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It would appear that Desert Aire, Wa is the driest in Wa state averaging less than 4.50 inches of rain a year

Never heard of it, I will have to look it up. Not sure why I'm interested in this right now.

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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I would imagine the Alvord Desert, a dried ancient salt lake bed playa in the leeward rain shadow of Steens Mountain, is even drier than Fields.

 

Fields is actually in the Alvord Desert, but it's probably slightly wetter than some uninhabited parts of it.

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Fields is actually in the Alvord Desert, but it's probably slightly wetter than some uninhabited parts of it.

Fields is actually a little south of the Alvord Desert proper. The Alvord is ridiculously dry, in the middle of the desert at a relatively low elecation, and on top of all that in the rain shadow of 9,000ft Steens Mtn. Basically the closest thing Oregon has to Death Valley.

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The Alvord Desert

 

http://s26.postimg.org/4hyt3dkr9/alvord.jpg?noCache=1394555797

That area is pretty neat, I drove through it a couple years ago and it does not feel or look like Oregon. avg precip is 6.54'' according to wikipedia. Madras is pretty dry too at just over 10'', and I would imagine Warm springs which sits below it in elevation quite a bit is probably even drier.

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That area is pretty neat, I drove through it a couple years ago and it does not feel or look like Oregon. avg precip is 6.54'' according to wikipedia. Madras is pretty dry too at just over 10'', and I would imagine Warm springs which sits below it in elevation quite a bit is probably even drier.

 I went fishing near the Alvord at Mann Lake a few years ago.  There was some decent trout in there.  We also shot a rattlesnake.  I remember some woman from Portland started shrieking at us for killing the snake.  Her boyfriend finally hauled her off.  Yelling at rednecks with guns in the middle of no where is not a good idea.

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I went fishing near the Alvord at Mann Lake a few years ago. There was some decent trout in there. We also shot a rattlesnake. I remember some woman from Portland started shrieking at us for killing the snake. Her boyfriend finally hauled her off. Yelling at rednecks with guns in the middle of no where is not a good idea.

Weird post but ok.

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Yeah, kind of like a light house sleep over.

Mine involved volunteering to work on trails, not unnecessary cruelty to animals and subtle threats toward those who are against said cruelty.

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 I went fishing near the Alvord at Mann Lake a few years ago.  There was some decent trout in there.  We also shot a rattlesnake.  I remember some woman from Portland started shrieking at us for killing the snake.  Her boyfriend finally hauled her off.  Yelling at rednecks with guns in the middle of no where is not a good idea.

Who brings guns to go fishing?

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Mine involved volunteering to work on trails, not unnecessary cruelty to animals and subtle threats toward those who are against said cruelty.

Well it started out as a post about how different the environment is over there.  Shooting the rattlesnake was a little on the trolling side, but wtf the weather is slow.  For the record, I've never threatened anyone directly or indirectly with a gun.  All the same, I wouldn't start screaming at an armed stranger.  You may change your opinions about rattlesnakes after you've cleared enough trails on the east side, or your dog gets bitten by one.  By the way, what happened to that Montana relocation thing?

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Well it started out as a post about how different the environment is over there. Shooting the rattlesnake was a little on the trolling side, but wtf the weather is slow. For the record, I've never threatened anyone directly or indirectly with a gun. All the same, I wouldn't start screaming at an armed stranger. You may change your opinions about rattlesnakes after you've cleared enough trails on the east side, or your dog gets bitten by one. By the way, what happened to that Montana relocation thing?

I've spent four days backpacking through Hell's Canyon, in thick brush a good portion of the time. We saw several rattlesnakes on that trip. I never felt inspired to shoot one point blank, though. Each to their own.

 

Montana is still on the table. It's always been fairly down the road, though. I'd eventually like to end up there.

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I've spent four days backpacking through Hell's Canyon, in thick brush a good portion of the time. We saw several rattlesnakes on that trip. I never felt inspired to shoot one point blank, though. Each to their own.

 

Montana is still on the table. It's always been fairly down the road, though. I'd eventually like to end up there.

My friend and I killed one once, because we wanted to see what rattle snake tastes like. Tastes like a combo between fish and chicken. We kept the skin from it also.

 

I would like to live in Montana also. I don't see much chance of it happening though.

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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My brother and I went out to the John Day River in the summer of 2006. We cruised the road after dark and got a rattler. Must be some kind of rite of passage or something.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 52.02"

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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My brother just got a job in Klamath Falls, Oregon (As a lawyer!) so he will be moving there in a couple of weeks. Looks like K-Falls averages 13.41" of rain a year, so not quite a desert, though that average probably drops off quickly once you get southeast of there up the Langell Valley.

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Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 52.02"

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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My brother just got a job in Klamath Falls, Oregon (As a lawyer!) so he will be moving there in a couple of weeks. Looks like K-Falls averages 13.41" of rain a year, so not quite a desert, though that average probably drops off quickly once you get southeast of there up the Langell Valley.

SE Oregon is pretty incredible when it comes to rainfall, I know it is simple ore graphic lift that causes it.  But driving around on flat land at a couple thousand feet elevation and there being little to no vegetation around, it is pretty neat to see the effects of orographic lift so plainly.  part way up a bluff or plateau, even smaller ones, vegetation increases dramatically.  It was especially evident when driving from Plush west to Lakeview over Warner summit.  It was a reverse timberline.  

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SE Oregon is pretty incredible when it comes to rainfall, I know it is simple ore graphic lift that causes it.  But driving around on flat land at a couple thousand feet elevation and there being little to no vegetation around, it is pretty neat to see the effects of orographic lift so plainly.  part way up a bluff or plateau, even smaller ones, vegetation increases dramatically.  It was especially evident when driving from Plush west to Lakeview over Warner summit.  It was a reverse timberline.  

 

Hit me up if you ever need legal representation. Perhaps in your defamation suit against DJR. I'm sure my brother would be happy to help.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 52.02"

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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Hit me up if you ever need legal representation. Perhaps in your defamation suit against DJR. I'm sure my brother would be happy to help.

Not really sure what you are getting at there?  perhaps you have me confused with the Timmy from K falls?

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Not really sure what you are getting at there?  perhaps you have me confused with the Timmy from K falls?

 

Oh yeah I did confuse you with him. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 52.02"

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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Oh yeah I did confuse you with him. 

I am the one who frequents PDX WX Analysis FB page, and have been with Marks blog since it's inception, as Timmy - Scappoose.  I do think Timmy_supercell was from Hillsboro originally so not too far from where I am now.

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  • 6 years later...

Screen Shot 2020-05-24 at 1.47.37 PM.png

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montague,_California

 

I know it's a very old thread but I found this climate not too long ago on NWS and made a Wikipedia climate box for it, and I thought it would fit here. It's about 16 miles south of the Oregon-California border, and I am nearly 100% sure it is the driest climate west of the Cascade Crest. Unfortunately I don't have a full 30 year period as consistent and high quality data for this station only started in mid-2000, save for a couple years in the 1950s that I excluded. Less than an inch over Bend.

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  • 1 month later...

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2020-05-24 at 1.47.37 PM.png

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montague,_California

 

I know it's a very old thread but I found this climate not too long ago on NWS and made a Wikipedia climate box for it, and I thought it would fit here. It's about 16 miles south of the Oregon-California border, and I am nearly 100% sure it is the driest climate west of the Cascade Crest. Unfortunately I don't have a full 30 year period as consistent and high quality data for this station only started in mid-2000, save for a couple years in the 1950s that I excluded. Less than an inch over Bend.

One caveat. I think climatologically and geographically, calling that area west of the Cascade crest or at least west of the Cascade rain shadow is debatable. There are complex geographic and rain shadow patterns in that area. As far as I can tell, at least as far as eco-zones are concerned, the Cascade Crest for all practical purposes bends westward near the Oregon/California border, between Green Springs Summit and Siskiyou summit, coupling with the Siskiyou crest for a while there. The area of far Northern California where Montague is could actually be considered more of an extension of the lower Klamath Basin (which originates east of the Cascades) than technically being west of the Cascades. The climate and vegetation patterns resemble areas east of the Cascades, with juniper and even sage brush being common species. Also, the Siskiyous to the west are actually higher and more consolidated at that point than the disorganized volcanic ridges and buttes of the Cascades to the east, between the border and Shasta. Thus, the former produce a much more pronounced rain shadow, which accounts for the Montague area’s east side vegetation patterns and arid clime. Complicating things further is the fact that the Klamath is one of only four rivers that breaches the Cascade Range (the others being the Pit, Columbia and Fraser), so where exactly it bisects the Cascade crest is debatable, especially since a couple of large mountain ranges besides the main Cascades meet in this vicinity.

 

This arid zone continues all the way to the shoulder of Mt. Shasta, just south of Weed near the Black Butte Summit. There, one crosses a definitive rain shadow divide once again, dropping into the lush upper Sacramento valley which benefits from upslope precipitation on the SW flanks of Mt. Shasta. Therefore, to me, the part of the interstate 5 corridor between Siskiyou Summit and Black Butte summit more represents a foray into an extension of the lower Klamath basin’s east side climate, rather than a continuation of being on the “west side”.

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  • 5 months later...
On 6/27/2020 at 10:39 AM, Jesse said:

One caveat. I think climatologically and geographically, calling that area west of the Cascade crest or at least west of the Cascade rain shadow is debatable. There are complex geographic and rain shadow patterns in that area. As far as I can tell, at least as far as eco-zones are concerned, the Cascade Crest for all practical purposes bends westward near the Oregon/California border, between Green Springs Summit and Siskiyou summit, coupling with the Siskiyou crest for a while there. The area of far Northern California where Montague is could actually be considered more of an extension of the lower Klamath Basin (which originates east of the Cascades) than technically being west of the Cascades. The climate and vegetation patterns resemble areas east of the Cascades, with juniper and even sage brush being common species. Also, the Siskiyous to the west are actually higher and more consolidated at that point than the disorganized volcanic ridges and buttes of the Cascades to the east, between the border and Shasta. Thus, the former produce a much more pronounced rain shadow, which accounts for the Montague area’s east side vegetation patterns and arid clime. Complicating things further is the fact that the Klamath is one of only four rivers that breaches the Cascade Range (the others being the Pit, Columbia and Fraser), so where exactly it bisects the Cascade crest is debatable, especially since a couple of large mountain ranges besides the main Cascades meet in this vicinity.

 

This arid zone continues all the way to the shoulder of Mt. Shasta, just south of Weed near the Black Butte Summit. There, one crosses a definitive rain shadow divide once again, dropping into the lush upper Sacramento valley which benefits from upslope precipitation on the SW flanks of Mt. Shasta. Therefore, to me, the part of the interstate 5 corridor between Siskiyou Summit and Black Butte summit more represents a foray into an extension of the lower Klamath basin’s east side climate, rather than a continuation of being on the “west side”.

I saw this post a while back after you wrote it and was going to write a response but had to do other things at the time and just forgot. I do apologize, but better late than never.

One issue with the South Cascades in CA is that it’s often hard to tell where the crest even is. The rainshadow is more of a gradient than a sudden drop off like when going over the WA/OR Cascades. Driving from Mt Shasta to Burney Falls two summers ago I could clearly tell that I had entered the Modoc Plateau and crossed the Cascades somewhere on Hwy 89, but where exactly is hard to tell. 

Here’s the map of the OR-CA border area:

0726982D-F270-4BFF-9856-399C07944292.thumb.png.8304093d9f3272f726dd58eaf0630242.png

The range north of Mt Shasta looks to be distinctly part of the Cascades, but at the OR-CA border the Cascades shift west as you said, coupling with the Siskiyous (in the aptly named Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument). Hornbrook could arguably be considered an eastside location being north of the Klamath River, but Montague and by extension the Shasta Valley is west of the portion of the Cascades above Mt Shasta and below the Klamath River, so I would argue they are still on the westside. Their weather patterns and vegetation are very much similar to the eastside though, since the Klamath/Siskiyou mountains do most of the rainshadowing once south of the Rogue-Umpqua divide.

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Fields, OR/Alvord desert is the driest place in Oregon. 

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Snowfall                                  Precip

2020-21: 10.5"                        2020-21: 52.02"

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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