Photo by Mark Gibson
A man using an umbrella to ward off a heavy fall of snow crosses Third Street downtown The Dalles early Wednesday morning.
As of Wednesday, January 11, 2017
If it has seemed like an epically, endlessly snowy winter — one for the record books — you’re right.
As of today, Wednesday, Jan. 11, there has been snow on the ground for 34 consecutive days, beating the old record set 38 years ago, when there were 29 consecutive days of snow.
The snow hasn’t gone away since Dec. 8, said Jim Smith, observation program leader at the Pendleton office of the National Weather Service. In 1979, there was snow on the ground from Jan. 10 through Feb. 7.
And with more snow in the forecast for the next several days, the record is certain to be extended even further.
The Dalles is unusual in having continuous weather data going back 124 years, to 1893, said Smith, and this winter’s snow accumulation is the third highest on record through Jan. 10.
As of Jan. 10, The Dalles has received 31.5 inches of snow (just over two and a half feet), said Smith.
That lags far behind the 85.5 inches logged in the entire season in 1949 (that’s seven feet, one inch) and the 50.9 inches in the 1951 season (that’s four feet, two inches.)
Even if not one more snowflake falls — ha! — the 31.5 inches so far is already the ninth highest snow accumulation in a season since 1893, Smith said.
And that number was clearly going to change even from the time Smith talked to the Chronicle Tuesday afternoon, since four more inches of snow were forecast overnight, and more snow is expected in the days ahead.
“You’re already guaranteed the top 10. If people are feeling like there’s been a lot of snow, there certainly has,” Smith said.
He did say that next week it was looking like more “normal” temperatures, in the 30s and 40s.
Recordkeeping over the last 100-plus years has changed location, but the data-gatherer now is Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue, Smith said, where they daily gather information on high and low temperatures and snow depth totals.
As for the low temperature, the record low was minus 30 on Dec. 13 in 1919, he said.
Nothing has come close to that this winter, although Smith said it was expected to get to zero Tuesday night.
And for kicks, the highest temperature recorded in the winter season was 74 degrees on Dec. 10, 1933.
The “meteorological winter” is the season extending from Dec. 1 to March 1, Smith said.