Friday, March 30, 2012

Record Wet March

 NEWS FLASH: 7.71 inches in Portland (KPDX) at 10 AM, with 15 hours remaining in March 2012, makes this the wettest March in the historical record going back 73 years to 1940. The previous wettest March had been 1957 with 7.52 inches.

The complaints have become a crescendo.  Our Gortex jackets are hopelessly saturated and basements are getting sodden.  For many, it's just too much.   After a relatively dry February, March has been very wet month, and record breaking in some locations.
Probably the most anomalous precipitation has been over eastern Washington, where a some locations have received their  RECORD March precipitation.   Take Spokane, where they established a new  monthly record (4.26")...and they are not done yet.  This record is particularly noteworthy since observations there go back to 1881! But wait, more March monthly record's were also broken throughout eastern WA and Idaho, at locations such as Pullman, WA; Cour D'Alene, ID; and many more (see graphic, courtesy of the Spokane, NWS Office)



Yesterday, a number of western Washington observing sites experienced record rainfall for the date.  Here are some examples listed by the Seattle NWS office:
A RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.08 INCHES WAS SET AT SEATTLE-TACOMA WA
AIRPORT YESTERDAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 0.92 SET IN 2010.
 
A RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.04 INCHES WAS SET AT SEATTLE WA WFO
YESTERDAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 0.66 SET IN 2010.

A RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.98 INCHES WAS SET AT OLYMPIA WA AIRPORT
YESTERDAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 1.38 SET IN 2010.
 
A RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.8 INCHES WAS SET AT QUILLAYUTE WA AIRPORT
YESTERDAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 1.37 SET IN 2011.
So far this month Quillayute, on the Washington coast, has received 20 inches of rain (19.93 inches to be exact).  Most western Washington locations have received roughly double their normal amounts for March.

Another way to look at the current situation is this map of the percentage of normal of precipitation over the past 30 days.  Much of eastern Washington is amazing with totals of 200-300% of normal.
Well, what about the future?   Well, if you want dry weather, don't read any further.
Here is the predicted precipitation over the next 72 h.  Much of the coast will get 2-3 inches, with the Olympics and SW BC mountains getting 3-6 inches.  Best bet for dry weather?  Eastern Washington around the Columbia River in the vicinity of the Tri-Cities. 
Later Monday and early Tuesday should be particularly wet as a well-defined atmospheric river of moisture from the subtropics heads right for us.  Here is the water vapor integrated through the vertical column for late Monday morning---the river of moisture is heading straight for us!

Let me remind all of you about supporting public radio and particularly the radio station I do the weather on: KPLU.  KPLU has been a wonderful new home for my weekly weather segment--far better than a past radio station I won't mention--the one with an ENDLESS pledge break.  Please support KPLU if you listen to their excellent programming.
 
Finally, in many parts of the country folks love to tell jokes about why the chicken crossed the road.....

In our part of the country, because of our unique meteorological conditions, our humor is somewhat different, with the chicken replaced by something else:


9 comments:

Sweetpea said...

Cliff, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing legitimate reasons for my extreme crankiness. I cross-posted to my f'book page so that my friends can place the proper blame ;>]]

Jeff said...

Here in Sammamish my CoCoRaHS rain gauge has collected 7.34" with heavy rain forcasted for this last day of the month. I thought last March was wet with a 6.43" total. Yes Cliff, supporting KPLU is a very worth while thing to do and becoming a CoCoRaHS member is a really great way to become involved in the weather community.

J said...

Cliff, I can't tell what is crossing the road in the photo. I can hardly believe it would be a salmon--?! If so, that's a true classic!

Unknown said...

^ That used to happen very frequently along Hwy 101 north of Shelton, WA. Not so much now, since the highway has been raised a few feet, so the Skokomish River doesn't flood it as much.

Adrian said...

Check out this great visualization of wind direction and speed:
http://hint.fm/wind/index.html

C&A said...

Make it stop.

mig said...

Keep it coming! Great powder this month.

Scott said...

Swing and a miss on that wet Monday.

Michael DeMarco said...

Late Monday was wet here in Sequim and today is the most steady rain I've seen in three years. The forecast was right on.