March really has been cold, wet

Region yet to reach 60-degree mark in 2011

No, you're not imagining things.

It really has been colder and wetter than usual for March, weather experts have confirmed.

The Portland-metro area will have a new record for the latest date to hit 60 degrees in a given calendar year, said Steve Pierce, vice president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society. The area has yet to hit 60 degrees this year and the old record was set March 27, 1955.

By this time last year, the metro area - including Troutdale - had already enjoyed 10 days of 60-plus-degree temperatures - including a 69-degree day in Troutdale on March 20. On average, the 70-degree milestone isn't reached until April 1, with Portland usually hitting its first 60-degree day sometime around Valentine's Day.

But this March - and February for that matter - we've bundled up as the mercury remained in the 40s and 50s.

Despite Portland's struggle to hit the 60-degree mark this year, Troutdale reached that milestone on Jan. 14, and hit 62 degrees on Dec. 12, 2010 - making just two days of 60 or higher temperatures since the first week of November, Pierce said.

On the sunny side, there is hope that Portland will reach the elusive 60-degree mark soon: The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 61 degrees for Thursday, March 31.

In which case, Portland could tie the latest first 60 of the year set on March 31, 1922. Unless you consider downtown Portland's latest first 60 of the year, which was recorded April 9, 1871.

Oh, and it's been wet, too.

Troutdale has received 7.3 inches of rain this month through 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 29. That's 3.59 inches more than normal and makes it the fourth wettest March in Troutdale on record, Pierce said.

Considering the rain forecast for Wednesday, March 30, and Thursday, March 30, Troutdale could 'easily reach' or surpass the wettest March on record in Troutdale - 7.75 inches in 2003.

At the Portland International Airport, 6.1 inches have fallen through Monday, 2.39 inches more than normal, making March 2011 the fifth wettest on record since records started being kept at the airport in 1940, according to the National Weather Service.

Put another way, measurable amounts of rain fell at the airport on 29 out of the 30 days since Feb. 27.

And more is coming. Rain is forecast for Wednesday, March 30, with a 30 percent to 40 percent chance of rain Thursday, March 31.

As dire as all this might seem, the region would need to see more than another half inch of rain between Tuesday and Thursday to attain the title of fourth wettest March on record - set in 1989 with 6.73 inches.

With any luck, we won't surpass the wettest March, set in 1957 with 7.52 inches.

Look on the bright side: It's been too cold to plant any flowers, which would have just caught a chill and died.