March ties a record- what will April bring?
April should usher in a respectable climb of warming temperatures. There is a nine-degree difference in mean temperatures from March (41.1°F) into April (50.1°F). Mean precipitation is the same at 0.82 inches. The record differences are separated by nearly a half inch (March’s 2.64 inches vs. April’s 2.19 inches ). We could see some white stuff in April. In 1955 we had an inch of snowfall. Have you switched your winter tires yet?
Well, how about that, March 2012 tied our all-time wettest March record (1983) at 2.64 inches of precipitation (as measured at my home weather station). We recorded 4.0 inches of new snow for the month and had a little dusting on the last day of the month, as well. Here at the home weather station we recorded a high temperature of 64.1°F on March 25 and a low of 21.2°F on the 7th. Our mean temperature was 40.7°F; about one degree off the normal monthly mean. Because we are heading into spring, it may be safe to share my final snowfall for the winter of 2011-12; it was 17.1 inches.
Speaking of spring, more specifically April, there have been two notable and devastating wind storms in April. On April 14, 1957, a major low pressure system tracked up the coast from Northern California into Oregon and Washington states. Winds near hurricane force were recorded. Portland got hit hard. Power outages occurred in all states and a major dust storm, driven by the wind, swept across Washington east of the Cascades. On April 27, 1962, again a rare storm struck with high, damaging winds. One site I use to research historic storms states, “The April 27, 1962 cyclone is a winter storm that happened in the spring.”
With the amount of rainfall we’ve been experiencing and snow melt occurring, the risk of localized flooding is real. If you travel into areas that experience flooding, please be mindful of the warning signs and advisories that are posted.
I hope you caught a glimpse of the planets that shown brightly through most of March. Venus and Jupiter will continue to shine in the western sky, though. Saturn and Mars will be visible most of the month in the eastern sky. With an aided eye, one should get a good glimpse of the Saturn rings as they are at their widest in five years.
Bob Valen is a local weather watcher who records his observations at his blog: http://wxnw.blogspot.com/