Photo by Mark Gibson
A heavy fall of snow almost obscures signs in historic downtown The Dalles yet again Wednesday afternoon. This winter has seen the 38-year-old record for continuous days of snow on the ground more than doubled.
As of Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The Dalles has more than doubled the old, 38-year-old record for continuous days of snow on the ground.
Last Friday, Feb. 3, marked Day 58 of continuous days of snow. The old record, 29 straight days, set in 1979, now seems quaint.
And today, Wednesday Feb. 8, as we mark Day 63 of this relentless new record, we were greeted by yet more snow. This latest storm is dumping two to five new inches of snow, said Robert Cramp, a meteorologist with the Pendleton office of the National Weather Service.
The long stretch of continuous cold weather being experienced in the gorge is due to its topography, said Jim Smith, observation program leader at the National Weather Service’s Pendleton office.
The gorge is a low spot. Cold air is denser and “settles down in there and sits there, and the warmer air goes right over the top,” Smith said. It takes a good strong southerly wind to erode the cold layer out, he said.
Cramp said Wednesday’s winter storm warning starts with snow and ends with freezing rain, with a predicted ice accumulation of 1/10 inch.
The good news is after that, the temperature should warm into the 40s for highs, through next Tuesday, he said.
While The Dalles has not seen the snow go away since Dec. 8, other areas that got hit by snow, such as Pendleton, have had warming events that have completely melted the snow, Cramp said.
“We’ve had two months of winter weather, but some areas, snow has melted off frequently,” Cramp said. Cramp was farcically asked during the interview to make an official promise that winter could basically be considered over by Valentine’s Day.
“You can’t go there at all this winter. This winter’s been much colder. All I can tell you is it is going to warm up after Wednesday.”
While the long stretch of days of snow on the ground is a record smasher, it is still nowhere close to the most snowfall. That record, 85.5 inches, was set in 1949.
So far this winter, 53 inches of snow have been recorded, or four feet, five inches.
And while the onslaught of snow seems neverending at this point, Smith noted hopefully, “It’ll be 100 before you know it, so look at it that way. Short-term, no, it’s gonna continue to snow.”