Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A 40-year "snow event" in Astoria . . . the saga continues

Today we had rain, then icy rain, but the temperatures were well above freezing and the net result was melting. It's not all gone yet, but driving is much easier. You can see the rain on the window better if you enlarge the photo. (Scroll to the bottom for info on the "snow event.")

This is taken from our doorway at TPF (The Animal Store). I was working right up through the end of the day, so I didn't go out and find new places to photograph.

You can just see the smaller (brighter red/orange) ship behind the darker red Mary Ann Hudson. The smaller ship (May Star) has been out there all day. I should have gone out early and counted the ships. They're harder to count at night, but last night after dark, it seemed it seemed as though there were at least a dozen ships that could be seen from town, which is a large number. Anyway, the May Star had been out there all day, when the Mary Ann Hudson came shooting past, providing an interesting color juxtaposition and size comparison. The MAH looked huge.

Take a gander at what this seagull is doing with its head! You might have to click on the photo to see the gull better. I didn't know they did this.

And now, here's the 40-year "snow event" info I was referring to in the title. I'm editing a bit from the e-mail sent out by the Weather Underground web site. I use it all the time. It looks like it will be raining and even warmer all week, but here's our historic moment:


A historical perspective on the December 20-22 2008 snowstorm... Plenty of snow has fallen across the region this past weekend... as well as last week. In fact...with a brief period of light snow this became the 9th consecutive calendar day where at least a trace of snow fell on the Portland Airport. Generally 10 to 16 inches of snow fell across the Portland and Vancouver Metro area. [Note: we got less here in Astoria; I don't know what the figure is.] Historically...this is the biggest snow event for the valley floor locations of the Portland Metro area since at least 1980. For some areas outside of downtown Portland [they may be including Astoria here] ...this event was the heaviest snowfall in at least 40 years...when the big December snowstorm of 1968 hit the area. Despite being the biggest snowstorm in a generation...this storm did not quite make the all-time top ten list of snow storms for downtown Portland. This is due to several bigger snow events between the late 1800s to mid 1900s...when double-digit snow accumulations were much more common for the Portland area. A storm is defined from the onset of steady precipitation until the end of the showery period behind the storm. Often...this may be a 1 to 3 day period. The 2008 storm is from Saturday morning through Monday morning.


Astoria Airport (period of record: 1892-present)...
December 20-22 2008 storm totals.........4 to 7 inches

(note: totals varied greatly by proximity to the ocean)

biggest snowstorm

1969 Jan 19.1 inches
1964 Dec 16.0 inches
1922 Dec 12.5 inches
several storms of 6-8 inches

snowiest decembers

1964 19.0 inches
1922 12.5 inches

snowiest months (all winter)

1950 Jan 26.9 inches
1969 Jan 26.3 inches
1964 Dec 19.0 inches
1943 Jan 13.8 inches

Info by NWS Portland climate staff


So you can see that while 4-7 inches is not earth-shaking, it's in the record books for this area. The airport is across town and across Youngs Bay, closer to the ocean, and I believe we got more snow here in town. Since we're only a block from the Maritime Museum and they may have a record, I'll check with them in the next few days. This has been fun :)

~ Sheryl

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