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Inner Southeasts weather swinging between extremes

2006?....It was the wettest of years…. It was the driest of years.

As for the wet part, we had two of the moistest months in many years: January's 10.64 inches in Inner Southeast included two days with over an inch, the 6th and the 17th. Then, in November, Portland Airport recorded a new record for total rainfall here in the eleventh month--11.82 inches. And Inner Southeast trumped that with a reading of 12.85 inches for the month at the BEE rain gauge in Westmoreland. (Our measurements are taken at 4 pm daily.)

The wettest three-day period of 2006 was November 5-7, with a combined total of 4.29 inches, with November 7th the drencher for the year at 1.74 inches.

Of Southeast Portland's wetter-than-usual 2006 total of 46.38 inches of rain for the year, over half--23.49 inches--fell just in those two months!

For the rest of 2006, it was pretty dry. After that wet January, we recorded a mere 2.38 inches in February, 2.96 inches in March, 3.43 inches in April, and 2.80 inches in May. Then it got really dry: .93 inches in June, .12 inches in July, .14 inches in August.

We set record high temperature records on several days in 2006, starting in May: May 15th's 92 degree reading beat the previous record for the date of 86. June 25th set a record at 101 degrees, and on June 26th, the 102 degree reading set a new Portland record for any day in the entire month of June! The hottest temperature of the year, also a new city record, was 104 degrees on July 21st (the overnight low was a tropical 75).

With September came wetter weather, but not much: 1.43 inches in September, 1.39 inches in October…and then the skies opened in November! December was rainy, but not unusually so, with 7.31 inches of precipitation, and two days with an inch or more--the 14th, and the 25th…Christmas Day!

Too, there were a couple of days in 2006 with destructive winds: November 12th followed by November 15th, with a wind gust on the 15th recorded atop the Fremont Bridge at 60 MPH. The combination of the soaking rain in November and these windy days brought down many trees.

2007 got started with more rain, but it pretty much shut off after January 4th, and the total for the month was a dry 3.19 inches. For January, that's well below average, although we have experienced two drier Januarys in the past decade--2005's 2.41 inches, and 2001's 2.02 inches.

Interestingly, a third of this January's total fell in one day--January 3rd, when 1.06 inch was in our Westmoreland gauge. Most notable in the rest of the month was the .29 inch recorded on January 16th--all of which fell in the form of snow…three inches of it. The Portland Airport was reported as having recorded only .03 inch that day, with the comment made in the media that it must have been 'unusually dry' snow in that event.

Our own total tells us that the snow that fell on the 16th was normal, and somewhere along the line somebody misplaced a decimal point in the airport measurement.