Many years ago there was a very famous pitcher in the old American Negro baseball league and then Major League Baseball by the name of Satchel Page. To many baseball historians Page is considered the best pitcher ever seen in baseball. He was quoted many times for his clever quips about himself and baseball. My favorite one is “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” That quote is the reverse of what this article is all about. Since we are in the new year of 2017 many of us reflect on the past year to evaluate how good or bad it was for us.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) in Portland issued the “Annual Climate Report” for Eugene and I want to share it with you. The report was compiled by Clinton Rockey their climatology expert. Only two months of the year, September and November were cooler than normal which means that the year 2016 was warmer than normal. Let’s take a look at the year one month at a time. All of the following monthly summaries are directly from the NWSFSO, Portland.
January: ...A rather uneventful month of weather. It started on a chilly note…with light snow and freezing rain…but only minor accumulations. Frequent fronts kept the region wet…with rain occurring on 25 days. Wettest period was from the 16th to 19th…when two strong fronts each brought 1.25 to 1.50 inches of rain. On the 16th…strong thunderstorms produced strong damaging winds…producing tree damage and spotty power outages. Mahlon Sweet Field reported a peak gust of 63 mph. Overall…temps were a tad above average…with several days in upper 50s to mid 60s later in the month. No records tied or set.
February: …was a very mild February…with average temperature 4.5 degrees above normal. Weather fronts were much weaker than usual…with Eugene area getting about 40 percent of the normal February rainfall. No records tied or set.
March: …March opened like a lion…with wind and rain. South winds peaked at 54 mph at the airport on the 1st. This was the second strongest wind speed for March on record at Eugene (Record is 57 mph from 1972). The strong winds brought down plenty of tree branches and some power lines…causing some damage and spotty power outages…mainly in the South Hills.
Trend of mild conditions that started in February continue with temperatures about 2 degrees above normal. While not an excessively wet month…did have 24 days with measurable rainfall (at least 0.10 inches) (normal is about 17 days, and record most was 28 days in 1904). March went out like a lamb with sunny weather and temperatures in the lower 70s. No records tied or set.
April: …Rather nice month of weather. Temperatures warmed in the 70s several times…with back to back days of lower 80s (18th and 19th). Cold front pushed across region on the 20th and 21st…bringing temperatures more typical of April. Also saw scattered showers and a few afternoon thunderstorms on the 21st and 22nd. Strongest of these were on the 22nd as a line of thunderstorms moved north over the region. Strong gusty winds and hail accompanied these thunderstorms…creating local tree damage just north of Eugene up to Junction City. Records: 7th tied daily high 80 set in 1934. 5th warmest April on record with average temperature of 55.1 degrees
May: …This was one of the more pleasant Mays in recent years great for gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. Many days were in the 70s…even well into the 80s at times. Cool showery weather brought temperatures back to the 60s for the14th to 27th. No records tied or set.
June: …June started rather warm and sunny under strong high pressure. Temperatures climbed well into the 80s and 90s. On the 5th…temperatures spiked at 95 degrees. After the 7th weather more typical of June returned…with fairly average temperatures and occasional rain. Weather turned dry and warmer after the 25th…with temperatures back in the 80s. No records tied or set.
July: …A rather average July…with no significant weather. For the most part…high temperatures near average…but overnight lows were slightly warmer than usual. No records tied or set.
August: …Similar to July…as had no significant weather. For the most part…high temperatures a bit above average. Warmest stretch of days were the 18th through the 20th…when the temperature peaked at 104 degrees (on the 19th). Temperatures reached the upper 90s several times in August. Records: 6th tied daily low temperature 42 set in 2002. 19th new daily high temperature 104 old record 101 in 2009. 20th new daily high temperature 100 old record 99 set in 1950 and tied in 1951. 25th tied daily high temperature 97 set in 2010. 26th new daily high temperature record 98 old record 96 2014.
September: …This was a very pleasant month with benign weather. Did have near normal rainfall…but temperatures trended a bit cooler than normal. Even so…did have several days in the 80s…with the warmest day on the 26th with high of 91 degrees. Record: 6th daily rainfall 0.70 inches old record 0.67 set in 1893.
October: …After a relatively dry month (September)…fall rains arrived in early October. In fact…measurable rain fell on record most of 26 days in October 2016 (previous record was 23 days set in October 1947). While there was a lot of rainy days…the total rainfall for October finished at 10.19 inches which was second most since 1890s (record wettest October for Eugene was 1950 with 12.66 inches). Also…the string of 6 days over half inch of rain (13th to 18th) tied the longest such string…which was 6 days set in 1962.
Strongest storm was the Ides of October storm. While the storm was not as strong as anticipated…it did produce plenty of gusty southerly winds across the region on the 15th. Reports of broken tree limbs and spotty power outages created some headaches for local residents. Winds gusted to 40 to 45 mph across the region…with over 3.00 inches of rain on the 16th through the 17th. Records: 13th new daily rainfall 1.45 inches old record 0.98 inches set in 1935. 16th new daily rainfall 1.25 inches old record 1.02 inches set in 1918. 17th new daily rainfall 1.38 inches old record 1.05 inches set in 2004. Most rainy days in October 26 days old record 23 days set in 1947. Tied the longest string of days with rainfall over half inch 6 days set in 1962.
November:…It was a rather benign month…though a bit on the mild side with so many cloudy days…temperatures rarely dropped below 40 degrees. even by close of November. ..Eugene had still not seen freezing temperatures. This was the first time since 1998 that Eugene has a freeze-free November…and first time since 1968 that both October and November were freeze-free. This said…it is likely that frost occurred in outlying areas away from Eugene…as temperatures did drop to the lower and middle 30s on the 17th and again on the 29th. It was the second warmest November on record…with average temperature of 50.7 degrees (5.8 degrees above normal). The record warmest November was in 1899 with average temperature 51.9 degrees. Records: Tied daily high temperature 67 degrees set in 1906. 9th new daily high temperature 67 old record 49 set in 1912 tied in 1955.
December:…Typical December with a mix of cool and mild days… Rain and some light snow…and chilly foggy nights. On the 4th…The first freeze of the 2016-2017 season occurred when overnight low dropped to 32 degrees. This ended the longest stretch between the last Spring and first Fall freeze…aka the growing season at 296 days…breaking old record of 265 days set in 1914 (average is 184 days). Snow and sleet occurred on the 14th and again on the 17th. But higher elevations saw an inch or two of snow at times on these dates.
Cold temperatures in the Willamette Valley were I’m place on the 14th. At the same time as heavy rain (1.00 to 1.5 inches) moved into the region…resulting in a major ice storm for the Eugene/Springfield area. Freezing rain accumulations grew to 0.50 to 1.00 of an inch thick…with widespread damage to trees and power lines. Tens of thousands were without power for days…with significant damage to trees. From the 14th through the 18th…temperatures remained mostly below freezing…though temperatures did rise above to 33 or 34 degrees for a very brief period in the afternoons. But this was not enough…as ice stayed on everything. On the 19th… warmer temperatures returned…and the ice quickly melted. It appears that this ice storm will rank in the top 5 most damaging for the region.
Mild more tranquil weather kept region under mild days and cool nights for the last half of December. Main weather was generally from foggy nights from time to time. No records tied or set.
Does all of this information give us an idea of what kind of weather will occur in our future? I say probably not, but we have begun 2017 with another ice storm. The best thing to do is be prepared for whatever is to come. Learn enough survival skills to be able to take care of yourself in any kind of situation knowing that help may not be coming to your neighborhood for quite a while.
Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.