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March 1951 Snowfall Totals


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Here is a look back at select snowfall totals from March 1951, easily the snowiest March in PNW history. All of the figures below represent monthly snowfall records for March. Stations in bold set the all-time monthly snowfall record for any month. A number of other stations on this list saw greater totals in March 1951 than in any December or February on record, with only January seeing greater totals in their period of record.

 

84.9" at Marion Forks, OR

76.0" at Wind River, WA

64.0" at Detroit, OR

61.0" at Vernonia, OR

51.0" at Three Lynx, OR 

47.1" at Palmer, WA

44.0" at Darrington, WA

39.5" at Falls City, OR

39.1" at Blaine, WA

38.6" at Forks, WA

35.5" at Sedro Woolley, WA

34.5" at Bellingham, WA

30.0" at Clatskanie, OR

29.5" at Duvall, WA

29.5" at Neah Bay, WA

26.8" at Arlington, WA

25.1" at Estacada, OR 

23.6" at McMinnville, OR

21.0" at Forest Grove, OR

20.8" at Dallas, OR

20.6" at Olympia, WA

20.3" at Astor Experiment Station, OR (Astoria)

19.6" at Everett, WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm pretty sure that was the snowiest month on record for some stations in NW WA.  Snowier than any other month including the classic snowy Januaries.   I can't remember for sure which stations those were when I did the research many years ago.  A truly remarkable month no matter how you slice it.  I also seem to remember that Clearbrook had a high of 20 degrees or some ridiculous thing like that on one of the days.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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On March 9, Bellingham had 21" on the ground. On the 14th, just a trace. March can be cruel. 

 

21" is never cruel.  Look at January 1935....

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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I love seeing these posts! Keep them up!

 

Coolectively wx_statman, BLI snowman, and I could do posts like this till the cows come home so to speak.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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Silver Creek Falls reached a max snow depth of 35" on the 10th.

 

I recorded 39.75" of snow in March 2012, kind of the 20th century equivalent...Though a much different pattern I know. March can be a big snow month above 1000-1500', with 2002 and 2006 standing out as other big snow events up here (09' as well). However, in the valley it is much more rare. Seeing 24" in McMinnville is astounding. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2021-22: T"                         2021-22: 8.44" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

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 is just one of those fantastic anomalies that worked out just right. I can't even imagine how this happened but its awesome. Thanks for the post!

 

This climate is capable of some of the wildest anomalies you will find anywhere.  That is the only thing that keeps me going with this climate sometimes.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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This climate is capable of some of the wildest anomalies you will find anywhere.  That is the only thing that keeps me going with this climate sometimes.

That's for sure! There is a reason I still love following the weather up there even though I haven't lived there for years. Quiet most of the time, but some real fun stuff when things come together.

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I'm pretty sure that was the snowiest month on record for some stations in NW WA.  Snowier than any other month including the classic snowy Januaries.   I can't remember for sure which stations those were when I did the research many years ago.  A truly remarkable month no matter how you slice it.  I also seem to remember that Clearbrook had a high of 20 degrees or some ridiculous thing like that on one of the days.

 

March 1951 is officially Blaine's snowiest month on record as well as Sedro Woolley. 

 

That pattern was a rare one, a ton of cold onshore flow for the most part while an arctic high fed us just enough upper level support for sea level snow. Only NW WA had any really appreciable Fraser River outflow. 

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The early part of that month was flooded with cold air across western North America. NW WA had the low level outflow from the Arctic high that was sliding down into Montana (the high was -19F in Cut Bank on 3/6, a monthly record). For the rest of western OR and WA that didn't see low level Arctic air, it didn't even matter. The air rotating in off the ocean was also cold enough to support snow, being fed by the same Arctic airmass which extended into the Alaskan panhandle (high of 6F in Juneau on 3/4, the latest on record).

 

Add in all of the available moisture and it was a very unique setup for any month, much less March.

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It's a shame we don't get 3 feet of snow in a month more often. :) Actually, if you combine the last five years, there still would have been more snow in March 1951.

Home Wx Station Stats (Since January 2008):

Max Temp: 96.3F (2009)   Min Temp: 2.0F (2008)   Max Wind Gust: 45 mph (2018, 2021)   Wettest Day: 2.43 (2012)   Avg Yearly Precip: 37"   10yr Avg Snow: 5.8"

Snowfall Totals

'08-09: 30" | '09-10: 0.5" | '10-11: 21" | '11-12: 9.5" | '12-13: 0.2" | '13-14: 6.2" | '14-15: 0.0" | '15-16: 0.25"| '16-17: 8.0" | '17-18: 0.9"| '18-19: 11.5" | '19-20: 11" | '20-21: 10.5"

2021-22: 0"

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I guess I haven't looked at the data very closely until now, but I have a feeling that BLI's accumulated snowfall is too low. They reported 1.04" of precip on 3/5/1951 with a high of 26 and low of 16. Yet that somehow translated to only 7.8" of snow that day. My hunch is that closer to 13-14" of snow actually fell that day but the wind must have made it difficult to measure the snowfall. I would guess that closer to 40" actually fell and accumulated at BLI that month.

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Unfortunately that station is crap at measuring snow, much like most of the COOP stations have been. I just look at YXX when I want an idea of how that area does.

 

Its unfortunate that we leave snowfall observations to volunteers, which is what the COOP network is made up of. If the COOP observer is out of town on vacation or busy with other things, that snow doesn't get measured. The day gets marked as missing for snow obs and that's that.

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Its unfortunate that we leave snowfall observations to volunteers, which is what the COOP network is made up of. If the COOP observer is out of town on vacation or busy with other things, that snow doesn't get measured. The day gets marked as missing for snow obs and that's that.

 

Looking at a number of stations' histories, you'd never know about many big snow events. You almost have to read through old newspapers to know some of this stuff. I remember the Battle Ground COOP station measuring like 1" in December 2008. Pretty frustrating.

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That was an epic month for snow north of Portland.

 

Snowiest month all-time in Forks at 46.6", knocking off 45.9" from January 1950.

 

58" on the ground at Cushman Dam (761' ASL) in the Olympics. All time record there too.

That's gotta be one of the snowiest locations at that elevation in the state. They get just pounded during cold air damming events.

 

The only place at that elevation that might be snowier is the valley around Skykomish. It goes pretty deep into the Cascades so it holds onto cold air for a long time and gets hit with the convergence zone often.

Everett Snowfall

 

2018-19: 24.75"

2019-20: 10.5"

 

1/10: 0.5"

1/12: 5.5"

1/13: 1"

1/14: 1.5"

1/15: 2"

 

 

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That's gotta be one of the snowiest locations at that elevation in the state. They get just pounded during cold air damming events.

 

The only place at that elevation that might be snowier is the valley around Skykomish. It goes pretty deep into the Cascades so it holds onto cold air for a long time and gets hit with the convergence zone often.

 

Darrington is a good candidate too. Similar deep valley and lots of entrenched cold air during the winter.

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Abbotsford, BC had 45" that month.

 

Our snowiest ever month was January 1954, with 55"

 

Supposedly Jan 1913 was huge up there also.  Clearbrook shows 62 inches that month.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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Supposedly Jan 1913 was huge up there also.  Clearbrook shows 62 inches that month.

 

Sounds about right. Agassiz received an astonishing 89" in the first three weeks of January 1913.

 

http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climateData/dailydata_e.html?timeframe=2&Prov=BC&StationID=707&dlyRange=1889-10-01|2014-11-03&Year=1913&Month=1&cmdB1=Go&Day=1

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Supposedly Jan 1913 was huge up there also.  Clearbrook shows 62 inches that month.

 

 

There was something wacky going on in January 1913.

 

Agassiz does show 89", and Chilliwack shows 71". Those numbers seem to support the Clearbrook total, which is actually 64.5".

 

But then you look down the valley and Blaine only shows 27" with no missing data. Downtown Bellingham only shows 21". It gets even more interesting if you look at the January 10-13 period. Clearbrook supposedly received 50" of their 64.5" total in that four day span. But Chilliwack only shows 24.5" accumulated in that stretch, out of a monthly total of 71". That makes me really question the Clearbrook data.

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  • 6 years later...
  • iFred featured this topic
On 11/6/2014 at 10:14 PM, wx_statman said:

 

 

There was something wacky going on in January 1913.

 

Agassiz does show 89", and Chilliwack shows 71". Those numbers seem to support the Clearbrook total, which is actually 64.5".

 

But then you look down the valley and Blaine only shows 27" with no missing data. Downtown Bellingham only shows 21". It gets even more interesting if you look at the January 10-13 period. Clearbrook supposedly received 50" of their 64.5" total in that four day span. But Chilliwack only shows 24.5" accumulated in that stretch, out of a monthly total of 71". That makes me really question the Clearbrook data.

To make January 1913 even more interesting is the fact that the Landsburg records show 24 inches on the ground at two different points during the month.  They did not record daily snowfall and only have depth for those two days, but temperature and water equivalent records certainly make an extremely snowy month look quite possible.  I think a lot of the snow in that month was highly outflow dependent.  All of the places that had a lot were in direct line with mountain valleys.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2021-22 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 0.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 0

Total Hail = 0.0"

Coldest Low = 29

Lows 32 or below = 7

Highs 32 or below = 0

Lows 20 or below = 0

Highs 40 or below = 0

 

 

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