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By Bob Valen 

How 2019 looked weather-wise

Weather Watcher


Last updated 1/22/2020 at 10:01am

Happy New Year to each of you, and welcome to the new Roaring Twenties! I’ll start off by gazing into the crystal ball of long-range weather prediction. The dedicated public servants with the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) at the National Weather Service have done well with the prediction for these past months. We’ve seen higher-than-average temperatures and less-than-average precipitation. So, what are their predictions for the next three months — January, February and March 2020? For the next three months we are just on the edge of above-normal temperatures as we head into the new year. For precipitation, we are in the “equal chance of above or below normal” precipitation for the first three months of 2020. As spring approaches, I’ll have another update in a later column from the CPD.

It’s important to look at the Tropical Pacific occurrences of both El Niño and La Niña, which affect our (indeed the world’s) weather. Forecasters who work in that field of prediction continue to show a neutral status and give high odds — 70% chance — of that continuing through the winter of 2019-20. 

Snowpack provides measurements of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). Our region — the Upper Columbia — is showing just under 99% of a 30-year (1981-2010) average. As we progress into winter, the number will likely grow; to what extent is unknown.

Let’s browse the weather data for the 2019 Calendar Year. All data is from my home weather station. Temperatures first: the high reached 103.1˚F on Aug. 6, and our low for the year was 0.3˚F on Feb 3. Our highest mean temperature was 74.2˚F in August; our lowest was 23.4˚F in February. Now, for precipitation: Total precipitation for 2019 calendar year was 10.86 inches, including our total snowfall of 28.8 inches with a Snow Water Equivalent of 2.94 inches. I’ll pass on providing maximum wind speeds as it varies greatly, plus I’m in a bit of a protected area, making my reading relevant only to me.

Our friends at tell us what planets will be visible here on Earth this month: “In January 2020, dazzling Venus lights up the early evening sky. Moderately bright red Mars comes up before dawn. Late in the month, you might catch elusive Mercury at dusk and giant Jupiter at dawn. Ringed Saturn hides in the sun’s glare all month.” A full Moon will occur Jan 10. Often called the Wolf Moon, the January Full Moon has been called other names, as well — Old Moon, Ice Moon, and Snow Moon.

This column is going into its 10th year. I was surprised when I looked back at the digitally stored annual folders I have. Glad I’m not using a typewriter or handwriting this, which wouldn’t be in cursive. I hope you enjoy reading this monthly effort and that it brings some new knowledge and understanding your way. I have to thank Scott Hunter for letting me exercise and grow my research and data gathering skills too.


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