The snow storm that blasted the Portland area Thursday was highly unusual for its strength, particularly this late in the winter.

In fact, meteorologist Steve Pierce, owner of Northwest Weather Consultants, says the storm is of historic proportions.

“A storm like this is very rare for February, considering the average high temperature for today is nearly 50 degrees in Portland,” Pierce said in a news release on Thursday. “For the Portland-Vancouver metro area, this is now the most significant February snowstorm and arctic blast since the snowstorm and great flood of February 1996.”

With a high temperature Thursday of 23 degrees at Portland International Airport, Pierce said this storm was on the verge of setting a number of weather records for the date:

• A new lowest high-temperature record for the day at the Portland airport. The old record was 38 degrees set on Feb. 6, 1948. Thursday’s high beats the old record “lowest high” by 15 degrees.

• The coldest daytime high temperature on record at the Portland airport for this late in the winter season, since records began at the airport in 1940 (74 years ago).

• When pre-airport records are included from downtown Portland, Thursday was the coldest day this late in the winter season in 81 years. A high temperature of 23 degrees was recorded back on Feb. 9, 1933, in downtown Portland.

• When looking back at all 143 years of weather records in Portland (1871 to current), only 14 days in the month of February (out of 4,012 total February days from 1871 to current) have ever been this cold or colder.

Pierce said the last February arctic outbreak in Portland this cold or colder was in February of 1989 when high temperatures were in the middle teens for the first few days of the month.

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