2012: 4th Wettest Year In Portland

December 27, 2012

This one probably doesn’t surprise you…are you sitting down???  It’s been VERY wet the past 2 months (actually a bit longer).  The October-December rain total is around 22″ here in Portland, that’s way above average as you can see:


In fact you have to go back to the first few days of October to find a dry spell longer than 3 days.  That was the end of the driest 3 month period ever recorded in Portland!  What a change…

The wet end to 2012 and the wet spring have pushed us to the 4th wettest calendar year ever here in Portland.  Observations at the Portland Airport go back to 1940:


Notice that we are nowhere close to the record wet year 1996.  That year we had flooding in February, November, and then again in late December (after a pair of damaging ice storms here in Portland).

It’s extremely unlikely we’ll get the 1/2″ to push our total to #3, so it’ll remain our 4th wettest year since 1940.  We don’t combine rain totals from PDX with those downtown because it’s a wetter location.  Those records go back to the late 1880s in several locations downtown.

Where do we go from here?  MUCH DRIER.  Not totally dry, but every little rain through the next week.  In general over the next week we either have upper-level ridging over us or weak systems splitting as they approach.  Yes, the dreaded SPLIT-FLOW.  For us weather geeks, this means SEVERE BOREDOM.  No stormy weather, no snow, ice, extreme cold/warmth etc…

No sign of an early January arctic blast either on any model.  Wayne Garcia asked again today if he needs to put on the studded tires; and again I said “don’t bother”.  This may be one of those winters where the lowest elevations don’t get snow, or it may be one of those where we get a severe arctic blast and snowstorm the last week of January…who knows.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen