Historic March Snowstorm Along Oregon Coastline

snow_oregon_coast_3-13-12

Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon. Newport got six inches of snow. Photo: Lori Tobias/The Oregonian

From Steve Pierce, President, Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

Vancouver, Washington (March 13th 2012) - “Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke Tuesday morning to no power, downed trees, closed roads and as much as 8″ of snow in a rare one-two punch. This storm will likely go down in the record books as one of the largest coastal snowstorms in the month of March ever recorded at some locations. Records date back to the late 1800′s along the Oregon coast. The last coastal snowstorm of this size in the month of March was in 1951 when between 4″ and 8″ inches of snow fell. What is even more rare about this storm is the fact that within 12 hours bewildered coastal residents went from 50 degrees with hurricane force wind gusts to 32 degrees and 6″ of snow. All of this taking place just a week before the official start of spring.”  

“A strong Pacific storm raced ashore Monday morning bringing wind gusts to nearly 90 mph along the Oregon coast line. By sunset Monday, near record setting snows were falling along nearly the entire coastline of Oregon including the the shoreline beaches. Areas that were hit especially hard included Pacific City, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport and Florence, Oregon. This area spans about 100 miles. Hwy 101 near Cape Foulweather (just north of Newport, OR) was closed in both directions due to downed trees and stranded cars as snow fell on freshly fallen timber overnight. Here is a look at the snow totals as of Tuesday morning.” Special thanks to the Portland office of the National Weather Service for this information —

OREGON COAST

 

TILLAMOOK, OR = 8.5″

NEWPORT, OR = 6.0″

FLORENCE, OR = 5.0″

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

LIVINGSTON MTN – CAMAS, WA = 5.5″

HAPPY VALLEY, OR = 5.0″

BORING, OR = 4.0″

CANBY, OR = 2.5″

HAPPY VALLEY, OR = 2.0″

LONGVIEW, WA = 2.0″

CAMAS, WA = 2.0″

WASHOUGAL, WA = 2.0″

MILWAUKIE, OR = 1.2″

WILSONVILLE, OR = 1.1″

SALEM, OR = 1.0″

GRESHAM, OR = 1.0″

CASCADE MOUNTAINS

 

JUNE LAKE, WA = 21.0″

SPENCER MEADOWS, WA = 19.0″

SHEEP CANYON, WA = 17.0″

SURPRISE LAKES, WA = 15.0″

BENNETT PASS, MT HOOD, OR = 9.0″

MT HOOD MEADOWS, OR = 7.0″

GOVERNMENT CAMP, OR = 7.0″

TIMBERLINE LODGE, OR = 6.0″

MCKENZIE, OR = 6.0″

ROARING RIVER, OR = 6.0″

WILLAMETTE PASS, OR = 6.0″

TOMBSTONE, OR. = 3.0″

###

Contact:

Steve Pierce

President, Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

Oregon AMS web site: http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/

E-mail: stevejpierce “at” comcast.net

Phone: 503-504-2075

Disclaimer: Permission granted to reuse with courtesy given to author and quoted directly.

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73 thoughts on “Historic March Snowstorm Along Oregon Coastline

  1. All MSNBC is talking about is the record high temperatures in New England. Can’t take time to mention snow in the Northwest.

  2. Hey Anthony…remember that pic you posted of Mt. Adams a few months ago? You ought to try to get a current picture, lol.

    Partly cloudy, 39 degrees, winds breezy and from the southwest. According to my “Native American” Weather Stone… It’s cold! But I think the Puget Sound dodged this one.

  3. OMG! All that anomalous heat dumped into the upper troposphere by the condensing and freezing DHMO; it’s gonna be runaway tip-top tipping points up there!

    Or SLT.
    / ;p

  4. The tail end of the the Oregon storm and the first of three storms forecast for us in Northern California isn’t looking too bad. We need the rain but don’t need the high winds or low snow levels. Too much damage results from that weather. Currently sprinkling, 47 F and the barometer is 29.93″ and rising here at 2500′ in central Calaveras County. No big winds either. All signs of a weakening storm. We’ll see what the next two bring.

  5. ‘“Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke Tuesday morning ‘

    What is it with you Americans – forgotten about prepositions like ‘on’? Reading that statement literally suggests that the residents woke up the morning – was it sleeping before that? I only ask because our journalists in the UK are copying this horrible mauling of the language … AND IT DRIVES ME MAD!

  6. About 20 inches fell just west of Traverse City, the National Weather Service in Gaylord said. In the Upper Peninsula, 25 inches fell near Ishpeming in Marquette County.

    The storm’s high winds and heavy snows downed tree limbs, cutting power to more than 200,000 residents and businesses throughout Lower Michigan.

    As you can read above from a Michigan newspaper we just finished our big storm last weekend. Where I live we get about 8 inches of very wet heavy snow.

  7. I have been a meteorologist for 50 years and I have never seen a pattern like this one in the month of March here in the US. The trough on the west coast is really pumping up the ridge to the east with 500 millibar heights forecast to exceed 582 decameters all the way up into southern Michigan, where I live. Heights are frequently lower than that in mid summer.

    The high in Grand Rapids tomorrow may hit 75 degrees F. There have only been 7 times since 1954 when the temperature has exceeded 70 prior to March 14. It never happened prior to 1954. The earliest 80 degree reading is March 22 back in 1938, but we may hit that early next week.

    The warmth should hold through the end of the month and from experience I would say the odds are well over 50-50 that we get a hard freeze in April that will do severe damage to fruit trees, flowering trees and shrubs. This pattern is great for golf but terrible for agriculture.

  8. Well, I wonder if Gary Braasch will be updating us with an addition to his collection of Mt. Hood “glacier” photos? If you recall, he took some in Aug (before the hottest months) of 84′ after two years of higher than average parcipitation and then again in “late summer” of 02′ after two years of LOWER than average parcipitation AND almost 20 years of massive growth West of Mt. Hood. All as part of his business of selling photos to the AGW believers as proof of GW (oops, sorry – Climate Change) causing accelerated glacier melt.
    If I knew how, I’d post the two pictures here with all the proper copyright notations, of course. And the picture I had my brother take a couple of years ago, (in Aug.) showing that glaciers were all back.

  9. I don’t recall any heavy winds reaching the greater Seattle area. Precip was rain in an amount that is typical for winter. It is a little past noon, the sun is out and it is 40F now. The coast was pounded and both the Olympics and Cascades got big dumps of snow. Very interesting, no?

  10. I woke up the morning (sorry, me go skool Merica) to the radio announcing that Winter and Spring never came to Chicago and it is Summer. Now me believe warm on globe. Education requiring I believe.

  11. Amazing how there was no post at this website regarding the incredibly warm winter experienced throughout the continental United States this year, but you find time to post this.

    [REPLY: Quit trying to jinx things. Never heard of the Watts Effect? Only my oil delivery guy is complaining about the warm winter. -REP]

  12. Whether it is Texas wild fires, Dakotas floods, New England snow storms, I always chime in on the fact that it is the worst in 50-60 years. My simplistic forecast model is to look at 60 years ago or so to see what to expect for the present.

    “The last coastal snowstorm of this size in the month of March was in 1951 when between 4″ and 8″ inches of snow fell.”

    Anthony: Lets have some fun with a post in which commenters make predictions of what extreme weather to expect in given regions by looking back 50 to 60 years (we would have predicted Texas droughts and wildfires, the floods, etc. using a model with better skill than the exalted GCMs. Now that would be a powerful statement from skeptics.

  13. Not quite 20″, but I have about 1″ of snow in my back yard right now! Up in the other Vancouver, in BC. Certainly most unusual for mid-March.

  14. More news from Canada. Not only are natural ice rinks being converted to artificial refrigeration: Pogo has moved north. Yes folks , our favorite warm weather marsupial has left the Okeefenokee and moved to Toronto. Wildlife biologists figure Toronto has now armed up enough for these heat seeking critters to survive.

    Next up Albert?

  15. Eat your heart out, west coasters! In Southern Ontario I was out golfing today in a tee shirt and shorts.

  16. Phil C says:
    March 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    “Amazing how there was no post at this website regarding the incredibly warm winter experienced throughout the continental United States this year, but you find time to post this.’

    “[REPLY: Quit trying to jinx things. Never heard of the Watts Effect? Only my oil delivery guy is complaining about the warm winter. -REP]”

    Amen! Saved big time on the heating bills this winter. Only had to fire up the snow blower 3 times so far. Went for lots of pleasant strolls on ice free sidewalks. If this is the result of AGW, let’s keep pumping out that CO2!

  17. Gary Pearse says: March 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Whether it is Texas wild fires, Dakotas floods, New England snow storms, I always chime in on the fact that it is the worst in 50-60 years. My simplistic forecast model is to look at 60 years ago or so to see what to expect for the present.

    ————————————————-
    OMG!! please say it isn’t so!! 60years ago (just before I was born) here in PDX we broke our all time low temperature, in the month of January there wasn’t a day which didn’t get at least an inch of snow and most of the month there was at least 15" of snow on the ground. My father said that there were parts of the city where they were snowed in for two weeks (the West Hills which always gets more snow.) And 60 years ago this time in the month of March we received half a foot of snow!
    If your ‘forecast’ is pans out it’ll be "The Ice Age is coming!!!"

  18. Tell you what, Ian E.

    Americans will stop saying things like “awoke Tuesday morning” when Brits stop saying things like “The union agreed the contract.”

    Tit for tat, preposition for preposition.

    Seriously, both constructions are perfectly fine, because both are perfectly understandable to the people who read them. That’s the only requirement for good grammar. Comprehensible and non-ambiguous.

  19. This is global warming (ehhh…Climate Change) at work here. When the world warms up it will snow more and it gets colder.
    That’s why animals in the Eocene Optimum were adapted to polar conditions.

  20. @ Ian E says:
    March 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Have to say that when I read: “He was drink driving” – I am as compelled to wonder – what was he drinking?
    ;)

    Anyway we’re really enjoying a sunny warm day – highly unusual for our area but not unheard of – just east of Ottawa.
    Have been seeing the birds migrate in early this year. Large flocks of geese heading west, north west even heard them at night last week. Red wing black birds, Blue Heron, Ducks everywhere and many others.
    Earth day will be celebrated by cleaning up the BBQ instead of the overn, since it’s already in use.

  21. Phil C says:
    March 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Amazing how there was no post at this website regarding the incredibly warm winter experienced throughout the continental United States this year, but you find time to post this.

    They were predicting colder than average due to the La Nina but most of Canada was warmer. This led to a rather interesting exchange. Perhaps even the warmists wish it were colder in Canada this winter. From:

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Climate+change+tale+cities/6154948/story.html

    Op Ed: Climate change and a tale of two cities

    When it comes to the science of global warming, attitudes vary wildly in Vancouver and Calgary

    By Mike Robinson, Edmonton Journal

    Here is a small part of the article:

    “During the opening pleasantries I told the story of Clague’s lecture, and the impending five-metre sea level rise.

    Immediately, one of my colleagues took blunt issue. “Those are the same guys who said this would be one of the coldest winters on record!” I countered, “Dr. Clague is a member of the Royal Society, a scientist who has over 500 peer-reviewed research papers to his credit.”

    “I’m a scientist, too!” came the rejoinder. “The world’s climate has always been changing ….”

    I stopped short. It would be pointless to continue, and I valued my colleague’s friendship. But I was deeply struck by the rapidity of the denial, the lack of any quarter and the certainty of opinion.”

  22. Climate crazed Canadians carp again! Lack of ice on the Great lakes. As any weatherperson knows, the ice melted because global warming stopped in 1998.
    Pogo rules!.

  23. I moved from Boston to Iowa City, Iowa a month after the Blizzard of ’78. Iowa was having a fine spring until we had 6 inches of snow on May 5th. ????? The following winter we had a month with 25 days that were -25 deg F or colder at night and not above 0 deg F during the day. We have that to look forward to now.

  24. [REPLY: Quit trying to jinx things. Never heard of the Watts Effect? Only my oil delivery guy is complaining about the warm winter. -REP]

    Over here, in the UK use of heating oil in the USA takes some of the blame for the high cost of diesel. Along with tax and a poor exchange rate. Perhaps your oil delivery guy could talk to suppliers here (please)?

  25. @Gail Combs says:12:25 pm

    “By two African countries” do you mean one African country and one European country? Or were you just making a point that the US education system can’t teach world geography? ;)

  26. I’m sitting here north of Seattle, puzzled by the Pacific Northwest storm warnings posted here for the past two days– high winds, huge snow, etc.–despite NOAA’s local forecasts which were far milder. Anyway, it never happened. Unremarkable rain, a little gusty wind, and this morning the sun came out. WUWT?

  27. That storm is heading for California next with snow levels forecast to drop down to 2,500 feet over the weekend. Then it’ll head out and probably spawn more tornadoes in the Midwest.

    At least it’s going to bring some decent precip to California, we sure need it this year!

  28. Diogenes says:
    March 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm
    What did they name this Hurricane?

    The term used by the NWS was “Southwest Sucker, as I recall.

  29. I live in the Sandy river valley, Oregon, and work at Timberline Lodge, as the person in charge of snow removal in the parking lots at Timberline. I didn’t work today, but did go snowboarding there. While the telemetry says 6″ of new snow, it was more like ten to twelve inches at 9am this morning. And still snowing heavily at 1pm when I left.

    http://www.nwac.us/weatherdata/timberlinebase/now/

  30. Sixty years ago is a great comparison because the PDO is a 60-year cycle. Here in Oregon It’s almost always like it was 60 years, no matter what year it is.

  31. Higley7, wow, do I remember that! Moved from Hartford to St. Louis a day or two after it hit. Two hundred miles on a sheet of ice, thousands of tractor trailers on the shoulder.

  32. I think people have very much underestimated the “global warming ” story and santorum is the only one that has said its basically crap and thats why he will probably win. Both Gingrich and Romney have missed this big time.. my view anyway……

  33. wouldn’t u know?

    14 March: SMH: Ben Cubby: Carbon emissions hit a new record
    GREENHOUSE gases have risen to their highest level since modern humans evolved, and Australian temperatures are now about a degree warmer than they were a century ago, a major review by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has found.
    The national climate report, to be released today, said Australia’s current climate ”cannot be explained by natural variability alone” and that emissions resulting from human activity were playing an increasingly direct role in shaping temperatures…
    ”We saw a dip in carbon dioxide emissions during the global financial crisis, but that period is now over,” said the chief executive of the CSIRO, Megan Clark. ”Levels are now rising steadily again, in line with the trend.”
    The carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 390 parts per million in 2011, the highest level in 800,000 years.
    The average day and night-time temperatures in Australia are now about a degree higher than they were a century ago, the State of the Climate 2012 report said.
    ”Multiple lines of evidence show that global warming continues and that human activities are mainly responsible,” it said…
    Data gathered from gauges around the coast showed sea levels continuing to rise off Sydney and much of the NSW coast at a rate of about 5 millimetres per year, while some areas of the tropics, including Darwin, are seeing rises of up to 1 centimetre per year. Most of the rise is attributed to thermal expansion, or warmer water temperatures meaning that H20 molecules take up more space…
    On average, global sea levels are about 21 centimetres higher today than they were in 1880, when reliable records began to be kept. The report also noted increases in heavy rainfall events across most of eastern Australia, but also more bushfires. The trend for Sydney is towards more monsoonal rains.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/carbon-emissions-hit-a-new-record-20120313-1uyk8.html#ixzz1p1Y7uDE1” title=”here”>here</a

    Plus Video: CO2 levels on the increase
    Dr Paul Fraser discusses the CSIRO changing atmosphere research group's latest findings on the increase of CO2 levels into the atmosphere.

  34. gopher says:
    March 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    @Gail Combs says:12:25 pm

    “By two African countries” do you mean one African country and one European country? Or were you just making a point that the US education system can’t teach world geography? ;)

    The Republic of Cyprus is a Eurasian island nation in the East Mediterranean Sea so it is more or less in the middle east. Kinda splits the difference.

    And no they did not teach us world geography either. At least not when I was in school. That was not even a course that was offered.

    …For 10 years, William Schmidt, a statistics professor at Michigan State University, has looked at how U.S. students stack up against students in other countries in math and science. “In fourth-grade, we start out pretty well, near the top of the distribution among countries; by eighth-grade, we’re around average, and by 12th-grade, we’re at the bottom of the heap, outperforming only two countries, Cyprus and South Afrrica… http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0804/0804textbooks.htm

  35. The local weather guessers are whispering about a chance of snow in the Texas Panhandle next week. We are due – each year a storm flattens the daffodils and zaps the flowering trees just before Easter. Otherwise it is rather warm for this time of year, but not excessively so. And looking back 60 years produces . . . the great drought of the 1950s. Greeaaaattt.

  36. AHA! Everyone knows that more snow is proof of CAGW. Or is that no snow? No, I’m pretty sure it’s more snow. Although I think I did read something about no snow proving it. Anyways, whichever it is, this snowstorm proves man made global warming is REAL.

    Just keep in mind when It stops snowing, that also proves man made global warming is REAL.

    Deniers!

  37. TXRed, you’ve noticed the probability of snow, in proximity to Easter as well? It doesn’t matter if Easter comes early or late, there’s always a good chance, here in the Lubbock area at least. Awesome for track meets and baseball games!

  38. Ian E says: March 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm
    ‘“Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke Tuesday morning ‘
    What is it with you Americans – forgotten about prepositions like ‘on
    ———–
    Most of the time when I wake up (rarely is it still morning), I wake up on my bed.

  39. Here in South Western Canada another dustihng of global warming is forcast for Thursday. The ski hills are already talking about the ski season extending into June! Enough Global Warming already!

  40. What does this mean: “All of this taking place just a week before the official start of spring”?

    When did spring, or any season, get an official start date?

    Surely spring arrives when it’s good and ready to. Sometimes it’s early, sometimes late. Same goes for summer, winter and autumn.

    Weathermen trying to put seasons into neat little parcels annoy me almost as much as warmists.

  41. We had light snow in South King County, WA, off and on all night.
    Contra Paddy @12:54, the wife reports that the wind started blowing hard in Seattle this morning, and then it started snowing like nobody’s business. I can attest that it was nearly white-out conditions in the vicinity of Boeing Field at about 4 PM; when I got to her office, it had stopped snowing, but the power was still out.

  42. People living in these cold snowy areas shouldn’t worry. According to the settled Green House Effect science, they can warm their homes for free.
    Just shovel lots of that cold snow on to your living room floors, shut the doors and windows and watch the radiation + back radiation increase the temperature of your room to well aboce 15DegC.

    I mean, we see this happen with a -18DegC surface warming to 15DegC due to back radiation don’t we?

  43. Widely ignored in the general news is that this indicates more rapid heat flow off of the planet.

    The deeper “Loopy jet stream” with ‘way cold’ dips down the west coast and warm protrusions up the east coast indicate that is is darned cold at the pole (where the bulk of the heat leaves) despite more rapid heat delivery (those warm north going lobes….)

    In short, while there was added heat into the oceans before, it is now heat leaving. Takes a few years to finish, but we’re one our way. Next ‘low cycle’ of the 11 year sunspots is going to be a significant cold turn (given that this is supposed to be the ‘warm’ part…).

  44. Americans need some new terms in general use for this unusual snow event. In Australia we have Professor Tim Flannery or as we call him Tom Foolery. He has been predicting permanent Global warming drought in Australia and our dumb governments spent billions on desalination plants. The only problem is that every time he visits some where or predicts droughts we get floods. Thus even tho’ we have been using the metric system for forty years an inch of rain is now referred to as a Flannery. ” We have had over four flanneries of rain in the last 24 hours” is now in our lexicon.

    I would believe it is time for America to start using Mannians and Gorians as measures of rain and snow, whether inches or feet is irrelevant, for it is satire of buffoonery that will hurt them the deepest. They deserve no less.

  45. … within 12 hours bewildered coastal residents went from 50 degrees with hurricane force wind gusts to 32 degrees and 6″ of snow.

    That’s a typical March here on Long Island. But, we’re hardly having a typical winter. Less than 6″ of snow in total.

  46. So there have been two posts now on an unusually strong, though not record-breaking, snowfall in the Northwest, and not a single word about record high temperatures throughout the Midwest and Northeast. We are probably witnessing the warmest month of March on record in half of the country. That’s not interesting? I guess weather is only news here if its cold weather.

  47. wayne Job says:
    March 14, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I wonder what a Huhne could be in the UK!

    DaveE.

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