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Oregon, Lower Columbia Basin of Oregon

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 9:45 AM PST on March 05, 2015


... February 2015 month in review for northeast Oregon and southeast
Washington...
... Numerous record warm temperatures set...

I. Temperature and precipitation overview

February average temperatures were above normal to record
setting warm across the region for the calendar month. Total
precipitation was near to above normal along the east slopes of the
Cascades, the John Day Highlands and the Blue Mountains. Total
precipitation was near to slightly below normal in the lower
Columbia Basin. Despite the near normal precipitation amounts,
total snowfall for the month was significantly below normal for many
locations.

February 2015 data and departure from normal for selected cities:

                   Max dep min dep Ave dep pcpn dep
                  temp norm temp norm temp norm totl norm
Yakima 55.5 +9.2 31.6 +5.7 43.6 +7.5 0.99 +0.21
Kennewick 54.1 +6.1 35.1 +4.4 44.6 +5.3 0.66 -0.12
Walla Walla 54.5 +8.5 37.4 +5.2 46.0 +6.9 1.62 -0.14
The Dalles 55.6 +7.0 36.8 +5.0 46.2 +6.3 1.67 -0.10
Redmond 53.1 +6.3 28.0 +4.3 40.6 +5.3 0.70 +0.05
Pendleton Airport 53.6 +6.8 34.4 +4.1 44.0 +5.5 0.83 -0.28
La Grande 53.0 +10.1 30.9 +5.0 42.0 +7.6 0.80 -0.34

Ii. Selected records

The period of February 5th to the 7th was characterized by a
strong low pressure system coming ashore along the coast of British
Columbia, with strong southerly pressure gradients present over
southern Washington state and central to northeast Oregon. This
provided for a strong downslope wind event which, much like a
similar event in early December 2014, brought a significant rise in
temperatures due to descent and compressional warming. After this
system passed, subsequent weather systems through February 11th
brought an atmospheric river event to the area with the airmass
source region coming from the central subtropical Pacific Ocean. A
ridge of high pressure would follow the systems on February 12th
through the 14th and aid in the continued warm air advection into
the region. The combination of these events resulted in several top
10 February record high temperatures to be set in southern
Washington state and central to northeast Oregon. The following
table lists the weather station, February rank of the 1-day record
high, the record temperature with date of occurrence, and the
current record temperature for the month of February or the previous
record in cases where the 2015 temperature was the new record. A
(t) indicates that the temperature tied the record with other
dates.

City rank Feb 2015 Max T warmest Feb Max T
Long Creek, or #1 51 on 2/6 47 on 2/8/1996
Hermiston, or #1(t) 68 on 2/7 68 on 2/12/2011
Meacham, or #1(t) 61 on 2/12 61 on 2/28/1968
Walla Walla, WA #3(t) 70 on 2/6 75 on 2/20/1995
Whitman mission, WA #4(t) 70 on 2/7 76 on 2/25/1986
Yakima, WA #4(t) 57 on 2/14 69 on 2/23/1947
La Grande, or #6(t) 63 on 2/8 & 2/9 66 on 2/25/1986
Satus Pass, WA #8(t) 59 on 2/13 64 on 2/24/1995
Dayton, WA #10 67 on 2/6 74 on 2/21/1995

The wind event of February 5th to the 7th also contributed to
numerous top 10 warmest overnight low temperatures for the month of
February being set. The mixing of the atmosphere due to the winds,
the cloudy conditions that prevented radiational cooling, and the
compressional warming due to downslope winds were the main factors
for these elevated overnight low temperatures. The following table
lists the weather station, February rank of the 1-day record warm
low temperature, the record temperature with date of occurrence, and
the current record temperature for the month of February or the
previous record in cases where the 2015 temperature was the new
record. A (t) indicates that the temperature tied the record with
other dates.

City rank Feb 2015 min T warmest Feb min T
Long Creek, or #1 51 on 2/6 47 on 2/8/1996
Meacham, or #1 46 on 2/6 43 on 2/4/1963
La Grande, or #2(t) 46 on 2/7 49 on 2/27/1980
Prineville, or #3 50 on 2/6 52 on 2/19/1995
Hermiston, or #3(t) 44 on 2/26 52 on 2/24/1999
Dayton, WA #4(t) 52 on 2/6 55 on 2/26/1932
Bend, or #4(t) 44 on 2/6 47 on 2/8/1996
Heppner, or #6(t) 52 on 2/7 56 on 2/26/1932
Ellensburg, WA #6(t) 40 on 2/7 44 on 2/13/1971
Walla Walla, WA #9(t) 51 on 2/7 55 on 2/24/1986
Sisters, or #10 42 on 2/6 49 on 2/19/1995

Meacham, Oregon experienced three consecutive days, from February
5th to the 7th, of record warm low temperatures. These records were
41 on February 5th (tied for the 4th warmest February low), 46 on
February 6th (new all-time warmest February low), and 42 on February
7th (3rd warmest February low on record).

        The mean synoptic pattern for the month of February 2015 was
characterized with a ridge pattern that was centered off the
Washington and Oregon coast. This kept the area dry by deflecting
the main storm track well north and east of our area for the
majority of the month, with very little intrusion of Arctic air.
When assessing pressure patterns over a long term mean, this pattern
would be considered significantly above average for the month of
February. Numerous top 10 average high temperatures were set
throughout southern Washington and central to northeast Oregon. The
following table lists the location, the rank, the average February
high temperature, and the record warmest average February high
temperature or the previous record in cases where the 2015
temperature was the new record.

City rank Feb 2015 avg Max T warmest Feb avg Max T
The Dalles, or #1 55.6 55.4 in 1967
Yakima, WA #1 55.5 54.5 in 1967
Hermiston, or #1 54.6 53.1 in 1999
Walla Walla, WA #1 54.5 54.0 in 1991
La Grande, or #1 53.0 49.6 in 1995
Meacham, or #1 47.6 46.2 in 1963
Ellensburg, WA #2 51.8 53.5 in 1934
Condon, or #2 51.1 51.3 in 1963
Moro, or #2 51.0 51.1 in 1991
Pendleton, or #3 53.6 57.1 in 1934
Dayton, WA #3 52.9 55.6 in 1958
Redmond, or #3 35.1 55.9 in 1991
Prineville, or #4 55.0 59.7 in 1898
Sisters, or #4 51.2 53.0 in 1963
Long Creek, or #5 51.1 51.6 in 1991
Goldendale, WA #5 51.0 52.6 in 2005
Bickleton, WA #5 45.8 49.9 in 1963
Kennewick, WA #6 54.1 55.6 in 1967
Antelope, or #6 52.0 53.3 in 1963
Arlington, or #7 53.6 55.3 in 1967
Heppner, or #7 53.4 56.0 in 1991
Bend, or #7 51.6 53.2 in 1991
Pelton dam, or #8 55.7 61.9 in 1991
John Day, or #8 51.8 57.7 in 1954

        numerous top 10 warmest February average low temperature
records were set throughout the area, but none broke any of the
prior records set. Overnight low temperatures were still quite warm
across the region, though the drier than usual airmass and the brief
late month Arctic intrusion towards the latter end of the month did
keep the numbers down slightly. The following table lists the
location, the rank, the average February low temperature, and the
record warmest February low temperature or the previous record in
cases where the 2015 temperature was the new record.

City rank Feb 2015 avg min T warmest Feb avg min T
Hermiston, or #2 31.7 32.6 in 1999
Bickleton, WA #3 32.4 32.8 in 1958
The Dalles, or #4 36.8 38.3 in 1958
Walla Walla, WA #4 37.4 39.1 in 1958
Condon, or #4 32.4 33.4 in 1958
Yakima, WA #4 31.6 33.4 in 1958
La Grande, or #4 30.9 32.1 in 1983
Ellensburg, WA #4 29.5 33.1 in 1958
Bend, or #5 29.4 30.9 in 1958
Long Creek, or #5 29.4 32.9 in 1958
Heppner, or #6 33.9 37.5 in 1958
Pelton dam, or #6 32.6 34.5 in 1961
Goldendale, WA #6 31.8 35.0 in 1958
Meacham, or #6 27.8 32.0 in 1963
Kennewick, WA #7 35.1 39.7 in 1961
Pendleton, or #8 34.4 38.6 in 1958
Moro, or #9 32.2 35.4 in 1958
Redmond, or #10 28.0 33.5 in 1958
John Day, or #10 27.8 31.9 in 1958
Sisters, or #10 25.4 30.0 in 1961

Given the prevalence of warm temperatures across the region, with
warmer than average high and low temperatures, it is no surprise
that a significant number of top 10 warmest February average
temperatures on record were set throughout the area. The following
table lists the location, the rank, the average February
temperature, and the record warmest February average temperature or
the previous record in cases where the 2015 temperature was the new
record.

City rank Feb 2015 avg T warmest Feb avg T
The Dalles, or #1 46.2 45.9 in 1958
Yakima, WA #1 43.5 42.7 in 1958
Hermiston, or #1 43.1 42.9 in 1999
La Grande, or #1 42.0 39.6 in 1983
Walla Walla, WA #2 46.0 46.3 in 1958
Condon, or #2 41.7 41.8 in 1958
Goldendale, WA #2 41.4 43.3 in 1958
Meacham, or #2 37.7 39.1 in 1963
Ellensburg, WA #3 40.6 41.3 in 1934
Long Creek, or #3 40.3 42.0 in 1958
Moro, or #4 41.6 42.6 in 1961
Redmond, or #4 40.6 42.7 in 1958
Bend, or #4 40.5 41.3 in 1930
Pelton dam, or #5 44.1 47.2 in 1991
Pendleton, or #5 44.0 46.8 in 1958
Bickleton, WA #5 39.1 40.7 in 1963
Kennewick, WA #6 44.6 47.5 in 1961
Heppner, or #6 43.6 46.0 in 1958
Sisters, or #6 38.3 41.4 in 1963
Dayton, WA #7 43.2 47.0 in 1958
Prineville, or #7 41.3 43.8 in 1898
Arlington, or #8 44.2 45.9 in 1925
John Day, or #8 39.6 43.7 in 1991
Antelope, or #9 40.2 43.7 in 1958

Precipitation totals for the month were near average despite the
atmospheric river event during the first half of the month. Only a
handful of 1-day record precipitation amounts were set, and these
did not rank in the top 10 for the month of February.
Unfortunately, the significant story of the month is the continued
lackluster snowfall amounts that are critical to the region.
Numerous stations recorded no snowfall for the month of February,
which is not all that unusual. It is unusual, though, to consider
how little snow has fallen since December 2014. Listed below are
the locations, the rank, the accumulated snowfall since December
2014, and the record lowest accumulation for the Dec-Feb time frame
or the previous record if the Dec 2014 Feb 2015 broke the prior
record. The year noted in prior records is for when the period
ends. For example, the year 1963 would include the December 1962 to
February 1963 period. The stations included are only FAA sites due
to the quality control process still ongoing with all remaining
sites.

City rank Dec-feb2015 snow lowest Dec-Feb snow
Yakima, WA #1 1.6 inches 1.7 inches in 1958
Meacham, or #1 30.2 inches 35.4 inches in 1963
Walla Walla, WA #4 0.5 inches none in 2005
Pendleton, or #7 2.6 inches none in 1931
Redmond, or #10 5.3 inches 1.2 inches in 1961

Iii. Significant weather

An active weather pattern during the first half of February brought
a series of low pressure systems near or over the region with strong
southerly pressure gradients during the period of February 5th to
the 9th. The successive wave of systems brought two significant
periods of strong winds to the region that mainly favored the
leeside or downslope areas of central to northeast Oregon. The
following table lists selected peak wind gusts from each County
affected across the area:

Location time and date peak wind gusts in mph
3 N Joseph, or 06:08 am on the 6th 86
Mitchell, or 04:30 am on the 6th 74
Grass Valley, or 10:48 am on the 6th 71
Kooskooskie, or 09:18 am on the 6th 66
Shaniko, or 03:02 am on the 6th 63
Bend, or 01:30 am on the 6th 60
Hardman, or 03:00 am on the 6th 60
Mikkalo, or 02:35 PM on the 6th 60
NWS Pendleton, or 02:35 PM on the 6th 59
Walla Walla, WA 03:02 am on the 6th 58




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