The bulk of our cold spell has passed, in fact we climbed above freezing for the first time in 5 days today. Lots of 34-37 degree temps. Tomorrow should be a little warmer with an east wind and afternoon sunshine. Good time to check out some stats.
So how did our cold spell rank?
Definitely the coldest in the metro area since at least 2009. I noticed Hillsboro, Portland, Aurora, and McMinnville were the same or colder in December 2009. Troutdale hasn’t been this cold since the 2004 ice storm. It appears the 14 degree reading in Downtown Portland was the coldest since 1990.
Once you head out to the coast or down the valley, it became a more historic cold spell. Tillamook was colder in 2009, but Newport hasn’t been down to 18 since 1998, and Astoria hit 13, the coldest since December 1990. Salem’s 8 degree reading was the coldest since 1990 too. Eugene’s amazing -10 was the coldest since 1972.
If you’ve been in our area a long time you might think it was a big cold spell, but not THAT bad. I think I know why.
1. We had very little of that strong east wind we often see in these cold spells. Only Friday was windy, then it went calm.
2. Daytime highs were all very reasonable…28 or higher in Portland each day.
Compare this cold spell with 1989, 1990, or 1983. Those are featured a raging east wind and bitter wind chills. In February 1989, we had a day in the TEENS with an east wind gusting 40-60 mph across the metro area! Wow…
We had 0.5″ snow Friday, and 0.2″ today, for a GRAND TOTAL of 0.7″ so far this winter.
It’s very likely this was the coldest weather we will see this winter; to get another cold spell like this would be historic.
OR IS IT???
Models this afternoon/evening are hinting that another shot of cold air may try to drop into the western USA right around the beginning of Christmas Break (NEXT Friday) about 10 days from now. Here is the 00z GFS ensemble chart showing quite a dip late next week:
The 00z ECMWF is also pushing arctic air south again at day 10 now:
The air mass is about as cold as what we just went through on the model run! In 1990 we did have two arctic blasts in a two-week period, so it’s possible, but we’ll see.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen