The Oregonian posted this news story below of a new high temperature of 108 being set in Brookings, OR under “breaking news”. The town newspaper, the Curry Coastal Pilot, had this breathless front page story along with a picture of the bank thermometer, even though they have their own weather station downtown.
Only one problem; the temperature is measured at the airport. The official USHCN station closer to the coast read differently. I called the Medford NWS Forecast Office and inquired. These are the numbers for high temperatures on July 8th, 2008:
Brookings Airport ASOS 108°F
Brookings USHCN COOP station 90°F
Curry Coastal Newspaper Office 108°F
Agrimet station 107°F
Crescent City, CA 68°F (28 miles south)
Now compare the location of the USHCN station with that of the airport ASOS station, the newspaper office, and with the wind direction that day:
Click for a larger image
As they say in real estate, “location is everything”. In this case the USHCN station appeared to be away from the “Brookings Effect” that is often seen when a north wind blows from the mountains through town.
UPDATE: Here is the data from the Brookings ASOS at the airport:
Click for full sized image
I wonder which temperature will be used for the new “official” high for the town in the NCDC records? The USHCN station, or the airport?
Brookings hits 108 record high Tuesday, hits 102 today
by Stuart Tomlinson and Helen Jung, The Oregonian July 09, 2008 18:15PM
With temperatures in the southern coastal town of Brookings breaking 100 degrees for the second day in a row, the calls were coming into the Portside Suites hotel with the same desperate inquiry.
Do you have air conditioning?
The 3-year-old hotel is one of the few lodgings in the area that could say the magic word: yes.
Brookings, just north of the California border and along the Oregon coast, is known for its sometimes very un-coastal weather that has come to be called the “Brookings effect.”
But the same forces that normally send balmy breezes downslope into the area have gone into overdrive this week, baking the town with an all-time record of 108 degrees on Tuesday, as measured at the airport, and turning the town and its homes into shelters of swelter.
Brookings hasn’t been the only hot spot in Oregon the last few days. The Portland area hit 89 on Tuesday and 89 again on Wednesday. That drove residents into pools and away from at least one area golf course.
But Brookings was in a class by itself. It’s record is five degrees hotter than the previous high of 103 degrees in 1973. And on Wednesday, the high had reached 102 by 5 p.m.
At least in the morning, the heat did not keep folks off the links.
At the Salmon Run public golf course, the pro shop was “packed” by 8 a.m, said Joel Vanwesterhuyzen.
“Who says there’s no global warming?” joked Vanwesterhuyzen. “It was 113 here on the deck yesterday.”
Even at 8 a.m., Vanwesterhuyzen said the temperature at the golf course – which is east of town – was 76 degrees.
While some parts of town were reporting significantly cooler temperatures – even a mile can make a difference in Brookings – the heat, forecasters said, will keep on coming, lasting well into the weekend.
“A lot of people say they want to sleep here and hang out,” said Justin Crocker, manager of Ray’s Food Store, which has air conditioning. “They’re going up to the river and down to the beach after work … doing anything they can do to beat the heat.”
The air conditioning at Beachfront Gifts was also drawing people into the store, said clerk Krissi Hunter.
“Every time (customers) come in, they take a deep breath and say ‘it’s hot out there,'” she said.
Meanwhile, people in the Portland suburbs were reacting similarly.
The fountain behind Lakeview Village in downtown Lake Oswego teemed with little ones screeching with delight. Lisa McKinney takes her two daughters to fountains around the metro area on hot days. She chose this spot, hoping it would be less crowded.
“We headed down here when we heard it was going to be a really hot day,” she said. “It keeps them happy and cool.”
Were her daughters happy and cool? “Yeah, because I’m running through the fountain,” trumpeted little Cameron, blonde wet streaks plastered to her forehead.
Farther west, kids took to the pool in Somerset West Park. A lot of kids.
“We hit capacity today for the first time this summer,” laughed Carter Haag, who staffed the front desk at the pool. “It’s crazy.”
Suzy Valentine took her son and daughter here this morning for swimming lessons. Feeling the rising temperatures, she decided to come back for an afternoon session with her neighbor.
Their kids, who are good friends, frolicked in the water while their mothers sat on the edge of the pool, straw hats shading their faces, feet dipped into the wet.
At the Lake Oswego Municipal golf course, Suzi Beer stocked up on – well — beer. The 24-year-old college student drives a cart around the course, offering refreshments for sale. Wednesday, she picked the super-sized beer cooler and filled it to the brim.
But she needn’t have bothered.
The course was virtually empty. She didn’t make a single sale. Most of the golfers scattered about were well below drinking age.
“The course is just empty,” she said incredulously. “This is the first time I haven’t sold anything.”
The reason for the meager attendance? “Definitely the heat,” she said.
Not everyone thought it was too hot to swing a club, though.
Pat Webb was having lunch in the clubhouse with his father, Ed. The elder Webb is about to tee off at 2:10 p.m. with his buddies. Just like every Wednesday.
Ed Webb is 91.
A transplant from North Carolina, he’s not impressed by 92 degrees.
“I brought my jacket this morning,” he chuckled. “It might rain any second.” Clearly he’s caught on to Oregon weather patterns.
He and his friends only let cold, wet conditions keep them off the course. “We haven’t been heated out yet. The warmer the weather, the better the golf.”
Back in Brookings, as some guests checked out of the Portside Suites Wednesday morning, others were calling to reserve a room, said Stacie Lee, the manager. The hotel, which had had four openings Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m., was booked solid just an hour and a half later, as some locals finished up work and decided to pay the $130-$160 average room rate instead of stay home.
“When we were putting (air conditioning) in, people thought I was nuts,” said Virginia Byrtus, who owns the hotel with her husband Ken. “Boy, it’s paid off.”