Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Portland Trends

One of the reasons I find weather fascinating is the trends and percentages it yields. Some records are amazing. Take, for instance, Portland's all-time high temperature of 107 degrees which has only been reached once on 7/30/1965. Compare that to Oklahoma City's record all-time high of 113 degrees, most recently reached on 8/3/2012. You would tend to think that either Portland's record high would be cooler or that Oklahoma City's would be hotter. But that's weather!

Portland just notched it's 3rd consecutive day of 90+ degree weather on Monday. . Those three days have been our only at or above 90 degrees in 2012! Here is a funny stat: Portland topped out at 100 degrees (8/4) before it topped out at 90 degrees (8/5-6)! That 100+ degree day actually reached 102 degrees and that was the first time we hit 100+ since 2009.
The Rose City typically sees the 90's a lot earlier in the season. That day usually falls on June 16th. So we are a little late this year, but we were even later last year when it took us until August 20th to hit 90 degrees. Our first temperatures in the 80's is a completely different story for 2012. On average, Portland's first day of 80+ degrees falls on May 10th. 2012 saw it's first 80 degree day on May 7th! Pretty much right on cue. Funny how the two vary so much.

Currently, Portland is in the midst of our longest dry stretch of the year at 17 days and counting. The dry weather began on July 21st. Getting long stretches of dry weather in the middle of summer is not unusual for us. But what is interesting here is the previous dry streak of 2012 occurred in the middle of May and lasted for 15 days! In the middle of MAY! From May 5th to the 19th, Portland never received any measurable precipitation. On average for those 15 days, Portland gets 1.16" of rain! That is nearly half of the 2.47" that May averages. In our current stretch, we only average .26" of rain and most of that is received via thunderstorms.

The majority of the country is looking at drought on a Dust Bowl-era scale. 22 states are reporting extreme drought conditions and a handful of states are in the exceptional drought range. In fact, over 50% of the contiguous 48 are looking at drought conditions. The Pacific Northwest is one of the very few areas that has escaped any drought conditions. Given some of the complaints about conditions being too cool (or now, too hot), we should all consider ourselves lucky that we don't have to deal with week-long stretches of triple digits! 

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