As April arrives, we can look back on a wild-and-crazy month of March. Truly it had just about everything – except warmth!
- Coastal storm (described by Steve Pierce)
Many residents along the coastline of Oregon awoke March 13 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 unusual 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.
- Mid-valley snow
An unusual late-season snow storm brought heavy snow to much of Oregon on March 21-22. The Corvallis daily observation for March 22, 4.3 inches, was an all-time record for March (the old record was 4.0 inches on 3/3/60). This was also the largest snow amount ever recorded this late in the year. Corvallis observations date back to 1889.
Steve Pierce reported that the storm brought record setting Willamette Valley snowfall from Vancouver, WA. south to Eugene. As much as 9″ of snow fell near Eugene. Both of these snow events challenged or broke all-time March snowfall records at several locations west of the Cascades, including the coast. Portland recorded its latest measurable snowfall in history at the airport on March 22nd. Records date back to 1940 at the Portland airport.
- Wind storms on the coast
There were several very potent wind storms, mostly affecting coastal sections. On the 15th peak gusts of 79 mph were recorded at Mt. Hebo and Cape Foulweather. On the 28th the anemometer on Mary’s Peak recorded a gust of 86 mph.
- Very wet month
With a little over an inch on the last day of the month, March precipitation (rain plus melted snow) totaled 11.47 inches, making this the second-wettest March ever in the mid-Valley. The all-time record for March, 11.70 inches, was set in 1904. Third highest was 10.81 inches in 1916. This month we had 5 days an inch or more, and rain on 25 out of the 31 days.
The good news: each of the 5 wettest Marches was followed by a drier than average April-June period. There’s hope for us!!
- Cool month
Yep, it was cool! The average monthly temperature, 43.4 degrees F, was nearly 3 degrees below the “normal” (1981-2010 average) and just barely warmer than an average February. Since 1976 only one March (2008) has been cooler.
Wow! What a month!!