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Weather in Portland area continues uniquely mild

In the December 29 issue of “Science News”, writer Janet Raloff observed, “Without question, 2012 ushered in wild and worrisome weather across the planet”, itemizing that the year was among the ten hottest on record, that a major drought had struck much of the United States last year, followed by Hurricane Sandy which whalloped the entire East Coast in record fashion.

However, here in our part of the Northwest, we’ve continued to have eerily normal weather – as we have had for several years, while meteorological catastrophes have bedeviled most of the rest of the world. While we wait for the other shoe to drop, our temperature and weather extremes have actually been less than in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It’s been quite a while since we had a good ice storm here, or had temperatures well below ten degrees Fahrenheit; and we seem to have had fewer of the hottest days than we used to, as well.

Of course, we are due for a massive earthquake one of these days, but with luck it may not come in the lifetime of anyone now alive here.

In the meantime – yes, spring was wet, summer was very dry, and fall turned quite wet again. The Portland Airport, the official point at which Portland meteorological readings are reported, had one of the wettest years ever, with a little over 50 inches of rain.

Downtown Portland and particularly Inner Southeast generally get more rain than the airport, so our annual tabulations tend to be higher. It was the wettest year here that we’ve recorded since we started daily recordkeeping in 1998 – and the 2012 total rainfall at our Westmoreland rain gauge added up to 59.29 inches. In 2011 we recorded 44.49 inches, and in 2010 we logged 56.04 inches.

We recorded 11 days with an inch or more of rain this past year; two days passed two inches. The two wettest periods of the year were January 18-19, with 3.68 inches, and November 19-20, with 3.54 inches. These four days alone accounted for 7.22 inches of the annual total – over 12% of the 2012 total! On the other hand, our very dry summer recorded only .12 inch from July 4 through October 11. Then the rains began – with over an inch recorded October 12-13.

2013 opened cold, with an east wind, and then turned colder, with little rain in January. We’ll continue to monitor Inner Southeast’s weather for you in the New Year.