Sunday, December 30, 2007

In With The New

Tuesday marks the first day of the New Year in the Gregorian calendar system, established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. It defined the yearly orbit of the Earth around the Sun as 365 days (366 days every 4th year, more or less), divided between 12 months. And it keeps consistent calendar time pretty darn well, with an occasional few seconds added or subtracted here and there to keep pace with the reality of changing orbital mechanics.

But it's not the only "New Years Day"'; there are a couple of dozen other days scattered around the year on which other cultures and calendars mark the start of yet another cycle of our planet around our star.

Regardless of how we humans mark the passage of time, the Earth quietly continues its majestic elliptical orbit around the Sun's mass, following the curve of gravity's warping of the fabric of space itself.

And to top it all off, we have the incredibly awesome privilege of being conscious beings, able to gaze out into this universe, and celebrate the wonder of it all.

Have a wonder-full New Year!

P.S. The following video is a time lapse movie of Earth from NASA's Messenger spacecraft (launched Aug 2004). The stunning hi-res video was recorded in Aug 2005, a year later, as the spacecraft swung by Earth again for a gravity assist slingshot towards Venus. Its ultimate goal is to achieve orbit around Mercury (the innermost planet to the sun) in 2009 - 2011.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice! From here on, the daylight hours get longer, slowly but surely, thanks to the axial tilt of our home planet. And not a moment too soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


2 inches of snow on the deck this Saturday morning. Very nice to wake up to, and on a non-work day at that. Life doesn't get a whole lot better than this.

And now it's 4 pm, 39 degrees, and the snow is pretty much gone after warming temperatures and drizzling rain do their thing.

It's been a good weather month here in the Hood. Lots of variety, none of the flooding and hurricane force winds that devastated the Oregon Coast, and only an occasional fog inversion that doesn't last more than a day or two. The low temperatures are staying moderate: 29 degrees in November, and 27 degrees so far in December. So mild that we are still able to harvest some lettuce, green onions, cilantro, and celery from the vege garden. And the seed catalogues for next season are starting to arrive...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Autumn Stats

Here are the numbers for this past autumn's weather (September through November). The temperature averaged 51.7 degrees. This was 0.6 degrees warmer than the long term average (1926 thru 2006), but 0.7 degrees cooler than the short term average (2000 thru 2006). Pretty much a draw.

Autumn precipitation was 9.97", wetter than the long term average of 8.14". The snowfall at our house in west Hood River was 5 inches. An average autumn in Hood River receives 2.3 inches of snow. The historical record for autumn snowfall is 32 inches (1973).

Wind speed averaged 2.3 mph, pretty close to the 2000 thru 2006 average of 2.5 mph.

My previous prediction for this autumn's weather was "warmer and drier". This further establishes my uncanny ability to make inaccurate weather predictions.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Want Data Points? You Got Data Points.

In the past few days, the WeatherUnderground map on the Hood River Weather site has dramatically increased the number of weather stations displayed, mostly by adding Agrimet, ODOT, and other government weather sites.

This is a major improvement in local weather data. The more data points, the better. And it doesn't bother me in the least that our home weather station data circle is now pretty much totally covered up with other stations' circles. Nope, doesn't bother me a bit. The more the merrier. *sniff*

Sunday, December 2, 2007

November Revisited

This November, the average temperature was 0.6 degrees warmer than long term averages, and 0.6 degrees above 2000-2006 averages. Rainfall was slightly above average. The first snow fell on November 18, and additional snow later in the month, for an unofficial total of 5 inches in Hood River. Much higher snow amounts were recorded in the middle and upper valleys. Wind speeds were lower than average, with west and east winds pretty much equally distributed. There was one extended high fog / low clouds inversion event around Thanksgiving.

There were no local records set in November.

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 66.0
Wind (mph) 35

Rainfall (in) 1.17

Barometric (in Hg) 30.56 29.63


Much less snow overnight than expected, at least for west Hood River. 4 inches on the deck and melting, as the rain starts to pick up. Major flood watch/warnings are posted for most of western Oregon as moisture-laden subtropical fronts blast in today and Monday, with a lot of snow on the ground to melt.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Again

High noon, and the aforementioned snow storm has started at our west Hood River location. Intermittant light flakes so far. 1 inch of previous snow is on our deck, and this storm could add 6 to 12 more. I've received reports of 12 inches of previous snow on the ground in upper Odell, and 17 inches in Parkdale. Add another foot or so on top of that today and tonight, and then rain tomorrow and Monday. Flooding is a distinct possibilty. Hopefully not, as we don't need a repeat of Nature's re-design of the Hood River port area last year by the movement of gazillions of tons of sand and silt from Mt Hood and the Hood River valley down to the Columbia River.

Not that we mere mortals have much of a say over such things.

Feel free to post your snow amounts here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Great Weather

And by "great weather", I mean weather that is dynamic, changes almost daily, and isn't an endless inversion fog pattern.

An inch of snow on the deck currently. More snow moves in later tomorrow, perhaps as much as 6 to 12 inches. Follow that up with warming west winds and heavy rain on Sunday and Monday. This is good stuff, except for the distinct possibility of major flooding...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snow. Just Snow.

It's snowing lightly here in west Hood River. 34 degrees at 7:15 pm. Looking at the weather satellites, there's not a whole lot of precipitation moving in tonight. And it's definitely just snow, not ice.

Feel free to post your snow amounts here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Snow? Freezing Rain? Sleet?

In any event, Something Very Slippery is most likely moving through the area tonight. With temperatures around 32 degrees in Hood River, the precipitation could fall as snow, or it could be rain that freezes into ice pellets before it hits the ground (sleet), or it could be rain that freezes onto the surfaces it falls upon (freezing rain).

Forecasts are for the precipitation to turn to rain by morning, but wintery conditions in Hood River are often underestimated in intensity and duration by forecast models.

Feel free to post your local observations here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank Full

Thanksgiving Eve, and all is well. There are just so many darn things to be thankful for. For example, the miracle of simply being alive. And not just being alive, but living in a relatively free country and with lifestyles and technologies that we mostly take for granted. Things that past kings and the richest folks did not have and could hardly have imagined. Not to mention our ability to instantly talk to far away friends and family (and maybe even see them live with webcams) when we can't be there in person. Truly amazing times that we live in.

So much for the "Thank" part. Now, on to the "Full"... more stuffing and gravy please...zzzzzzzzz

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Well now, this is rather unexpected. Sunday afternoon, 4 pm, 34 degrees, and it's snowing in Hood River. Not sticking currently at this elevation, but it's certainly accumulating higher up. How cool is this?! We haven't had a snowfall this early in a long time. It used to be we could count on a little snow by Thanksgiving, and here it is!

The forecast is for more precipitation through Monday, and then a drying trend through Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully sunny, but I wouldn't bet against a fog inversion...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Top Banner Question

Wow, 2 weeks since I last posted here. Time flies. I will try to post more often, if for no other reason than to exercise my writing muscles.

Typical Fall weather continues (whether I post about it or not). The autumn colors along I84 (my daily commute to The Dalles) are still spectacular but will pretty much be gone by Thanksgiving. The seasons move forward, and it's all good...

Speaking of Fall colors, the
Hood River Weather site top banner currently has a "Colorful Leaf" motif. It's fairly easy to change the Flash banner graphics, and I'm wondering if site visitors prefer a top banner that changes occasionally, or one that always stays the same. I will probably continue to change it every now and again, but I am interested in your opinions.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

October Revisited

This year, October was distinguished by cooler nights, comfortable sunny days, and calmer winds. Overall, a very pleasant month. The average temperature was 0.9 degrees cooler than long term averages, and 2.4 degrees below 2000-2006 averages. Global warming apparently took a break here in October. Rainfall was above average, due to heavy rain around Oct 3 and Oct 18. Wind speeds were considerably lower than average, with SW winds predominate. Cooler easterlies made an occasional appearance, and there were hardly any cloudy inversion events.

There were 2 records set during October, the daily rain total of 1.17 inches on Oct 18, and the high temperature of 77 on Oct 23.

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 77.2
Wind (mph) 27

Rainfall (in) 1.17

Barometric (in Hg) 30.52 29.49

Monday, October 29, 2007


Nope. No snow. Probably not any time soon, either. However, historically speaking, October 29 is the earliest date in Fall that measurable snow has fallen in Hood River. Back on Oct 29, 1935, Hood River received 2.2 inches of the white stuff.

Friday, October 26, 2007

First Frost

The average first frost in Hood River is Oct 20. We had our first frost this morning, with temperatures dipping down to 29 degrees. Only six days later than average. Last year, the earliest frost was Oct 10 (31 degrees), with a deep freeze of 20 degrees on 10/31 (Halloween!)

In an earlier post, I wondered out loud if global warming would extend the frost free season. Apparently not, at least for this year. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Record Temp

I'm starting to get a little paranoid. This year, more often than not, when I make an observation and/or prediction like "wow it sure is raining a lot", the weather almost immediately changes to the opposite.

From Sunday on, the weather went from constant rain to pretty nice and then to super nice and then to record warm temperature nice. Today's high of 77 blasted through the old record for the date of 74 (1928). Plus no wind... how great (and unusual) is that....

So, using a little reverse psychology, my prediction for the next week is rain, snow, ice, and hurricane force winds. That should ensure some great sunny calm weather ahead.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rain And Then Some

Ever since I made my prediction that this Fall would be drier than normal, it has been raining practically nonstop. Last Thursday's (Oct 18) rain of 1.17 inches drowned the previous record for the date of 0.39 inches set in 1996. As of right now, we are 2.61 inches above normal since October 1.

But I'm not complaining. The more rain (and mountain snow), the better. Especially since new reports indicate that Mt. Hood's glaciers
, like most of the planet's glaciers, have been shrinking rather dramatically. This can't be a good thing, especially for water supplies.

Friday, October 5, 2007

September Revisited

The average temperature in September was 2.0 degrees above long term averages, but 0.5 degrees cooler than 2000-2006 averages. Rainfall was below average. Wind speeds were higher than average, with WSW winds predominate.

There were 2 records set during September, the "high low" temperatures on 9/14 and 9/15. More warm nights...

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 92.7
62.5 60.5 2.0
Wind (mph) 35

4.1 3.3
Rainfall (in) 0.54
0.62 0.92 -0.30
Barometric (in Hg) 30.26 29.63 29.94

Monday, October 1, 2007

And So It Begins

Today (Oct 1) marks the start of another rain year. The one we just finished was rainier than normal, with 34.69 inches of precipitation in the yearly bucket ending yesterday. The average in Hood River is 30.03 inches. This year's excess was due to the record rains last November that continued into December. From then on, the rain was pretty much below average.

The record max year for precipitation was 1996, in which 53.69 inches were recorded. The record low amount was 15.75 inches in 1944.

And right on schedule, the rain returns. Yesterday, 0.53 inches of rain, today (so far) 0.18 inches.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shine On

The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest moon. There are several reasons why. The reason that is almost too obvious to mention (but I will), is that this is a peak harvest time of the year. Throughout history, farmers could continue harvesting well into the night.

Also, just as the sun rises directly east and sets directly west on the first day of Fall, so does the moonrise and moonset around this time of the year. This puts the moon pretty much directly overhead in the night sky, rather than lower in the sky, which makes the lighting a little bit brighter than usual.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Summer Stats

I just finished crunching the numbers for this past summer (June through August). Surprisingly, it was warmer than average at 68.9 degrees. This is 3.7 degrees warmer than the long term (1926 thru 2006) average of 65.2 degrees. Looking at the shorter term average (2000 through 2006), it was only 0.3 degrees warmer. So, it was a warm summer historically speaking, but not much warmer than recent summers. The warmest summer since 2000 has been 70.1 degrees in 2004.

Summer rainfall was 1.28", pretty close to the long term average of 1.39".

Wind speed averaged 4.9 mph, with the long term average being 4.8.

This weeks web poll asks your opinion/wild guess as to what this Fall's weather will be. I'm guessing warmer and drier than average. We shall see. Oregon's official climate experts (Oregon Climate Service), are predicting slightly warmer temps with average rainfall through December.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the autumnal equinox, otherwise known as the first day of Autumn (the first day of Spring in the southern hemisphere). Discounting twilight, and the refraction of light through the atmosphere, and a couple of other minor discrepancies, the length of the day equals the length of the night.

The changing seasons are due to the 23 degree tilt of the earth relative to its orbital plane around the sun. Today, the sun's path is directly over the equator.

Also, today the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. Mark the spots with gigantic stone blocks and you'll always know exactly where east and west are.

Or you could use a compass. Or a GPS. We sure do have things a lot easier than our ancient ancestors did...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Two More Records

Two more record warm nights, which makes 11 such records for the year. The September 14 low of 60 degrees beat the previous record of 58 (1965), and the September 15 low of 60 broke the previous record of 59 (1942).

That's 11 "warmest night" records so far this year. This is getting interesting. So this week's web poll asks whether these records are likely due to global warming.

Yes, I know, it's a simplistic question with simplistic choices for answers. On such a complex global issue as climate change, local trends don't necessary mean much. Still, taken along with all the other worldwide evidence...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Everyone Knows ... It's Windy

The next time I make a statement like "this time of the year, the west wind dies down", you can safely ignore it.

The west wind this afternoon kicked in with a vengence. The high gust at our house today was 35 mph. I checked back through this year's data and the highest gust so far was 37 mph on January 7, when a minor "Columbus Day" type storm moved through.
As usual, with all the Hood River Weather site wind speeds, add 10 to 20 mph for on-river conditions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, close enough to perfect. Since Saturday, the highs have been 80 to 90 with light winds. The west wind picked up a bit yesterday and today, and the forecast is for slightly cooler days through the weekend. There is a lot to be said for September and October weather here. West wind dies down, warm days, cool nights....

Speaking of cooler nights, September 13 is the earliest day in the late summer that the temperature has dropped below freezing. On Sept 13, 1970, the low temp hit 30 degrees. There is no danger of this record being broken this year. The average first frost day in the town of Hood River is October 20, but is earlier the higher one goes up in elevation in the valley.

And speaking of temperature records, the low of 62 degrees this morning was 2 degrees warmer than the previous record high low of 60 in 1970. Chalk up another one for warmer nights...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

August Revisited

August was an above average month for both temperature and rainfall. The average temperature was 2.5 degrees above normal, mostly due to warmer nights. Wind speeds were average for the month, with west winds predominate.

There was one record set during August, the "high low" temperature of 64 on August 31.

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 101.7 45.2 69.2 66.7 2.5
Wind (mph) 31
4.4 4.4 0.0
Rainfall (in) 0.36
0.49 0.39 0.10
Barometric (in Hg) 30.11 29.71 29.91

Another Warm Morning

Yesterday's low of 63 degrees set another "high low" record for the date. The previous highest low temperature for September 4th was 59 degrees in 1992.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

August Weather Summary

I'm thinking it might be useful to do a monthly post summarizing the previous month's weather data. The easiest, quickest way for me to do that is to copy and paste from the Weather Underground site where our weather station data is archived. Let me know what you think of this idea; it might work better if I create a separate "history" link off of the Hood River weather site. Or maybe I will do both.

Putting it in this blog gives me the option of making interesting and insightful comments on what the weather was like. Or, more likely, boring, inane, and embarrassing comments. So here goes:

High: Low: Average:
Temperature: 101.7 °F 45.2 °F 69.2 °F
Dew Point: 62.4 °F 34.7 °F 52.1 °F
Humidity: 96.0% 12.0% 58.2%
Wind Speed: 28.0mph from the WSW - 4.4mph
Wind Gust: 31.0mph from the WSW - -
Wind: - - West
Pressure: 30.11in 29.71in
Precipitation: 0.49in

KORHOODR1 Weather Graph

Friday, August 31, 2007

Yet Again

This morning's low of 64 was 1 degree warmer than the previous record "high low" of 63 set in 1944. This is the 7th such record this year. I can't say for sure that this is a record year for numbers of record "high lows", but it sure seems impressive.

Although certainly not proof of global warming, it's pointing in that direction. As the climate warms, predications indicate that night time lows will trend warmer, but daytime highs won't be affected so much (at least initially).

So will this translate into later "first frost" dates in the Fall and earlier "last frost" dates in the Spring, thereby extending the growing season? I wouldn't really mind that, but I'm sure there are negative consequences also, such as less snowpack, less water supply, and more problems with insect pests.

It's always something....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Temperature Records

Now this is getting darn suspicious... Even though this summer has had cooler than normal high temperatures, we broke more "high low" temperature records yesterday and today. That makes 6 such records since June, and 8 this year. Yesterday's low of 62 surpassed the previous record of 61 (1978), and today's low of 61 broke the previous record of 60 (1977).

This puts another notch in the belt for possible global warming. As the climate warms, predications indicate that night time lows will trend warmer, but daytime highs won't be affected so much (at least initially). Of course, a few records here locally don't make a global trend. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Over 2 Million Served

2 million website "views" served, that is. Sometime this weekend the Hood River Weather site passed that particular cybermark. It has taken 9 years to reach 2 million views; the site currently gets about 1500 views daily, which would bring the next million views in about 2 years. Sooner if you tell 10 of your friends about the site...

I was thinking of having some sort of celebration, perhaps giving away 2 million dollars to the 2 millionth site viewer. But then, people would come to expect that sort of thing every time we hit another million mark. So I decided to pretty much ignore it. Except for this blog post.

Rain overnight! 0.13 inches at our house, enough to settle the summer dust and not have to water for a day or so. More typical summer weather returns this coming week (we can only hope).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Comet Dust, Dead Ahead

Right on schedule, the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on Monday morning, August 13th. The best viewing will be from midnight to 4 am, so a Sunday afternoon/evening nap is definitely justified. This year's cosmic fireworks show should be especially good, since the moon won't be in the sky at the time. You can expect to see 1 to 2 meteors a minute, especially if you are in an area away from city lights and you follow these suggestions.

The Perseid shower occurs every August as the Earth plows through the debris field left by comet Swift-Tuttle. Most of the material is the size of a grain of sand, and since it impacts the atmosphere at a brisk 37 miles per second, it burns up quickly.

Friday, August 10, 2007

No Rain Whatsoever

Here's one for all you Hood River weather trivia fans out there. What is the only day of the calendar year on which no measurable rainfall has ever been recorded?

That's right, it's August 10th. Lucky guess...

Granted, the official records for Hood River only go back to 1928. But still, having only one day out of the historical year that hasn't had any rain since before 1928 is kind of cool, especially if you are into weather records and such.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Fire In The Hood!

The west side of Hood River dodged a potentially major bullet yesterday afternoon. A brush fire, whipped along by winds averaging 20 to 25 mph, advanced quickly towards the subdivision bounded by 30th Street, May Street, Cascade Ave, and Rand Road. This also happens to be the neighborhood in which we (and our weather station) live.

Firefighters were able to stop the blaze just short of the houses, but not before somewhere around 50 homes were evacuated. We are about 2 streets south of the evacuation zone, but with smoke and ash flying all around, we had started the process of moving some items into our vehicles just in case.

Way too much excitment (tinged with uncertainty, adrenaline, and a touch of fear) for a Saturday afternoon.

Many thanks go out to all the firefighters and other personnel involved in containing this fire.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Totally Out of It

"It" being Hood River, that is. We're out of town for a week visiting friends and relatives in California. I don't have handy access to a high speed internet connection, so the web poll might not be changed until Wednesday Aug 1 or later. Thankfully, the Hood River Weather web site seems to be holding up ok on auto-pilot (so far).

And now, back to the vacation...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's Not a Dry Heat

12:45 pm, Sunday, 83 degrees and 48% humidity. Muggy. Certainly nowhere near as humid as other parts of the country, but unusual for here. A weak weather front is skimming the Coast and Willamette Valley, and clouds are visible to the west of Hood River, but no rain is expected here today or tomorrow. Calm earlier this morning but west wind is just now starting up. And next week... summer returns.

The garden corn (Bon Appettit Tablesweet variety
) is doing great this year. The silks have emerged in the past week and have these really cool burgundy and yellow colors:

In a couple of weeks, fresh corn on the cob roasted on the grill.... yum

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The slight chance of rain mentioned earlier this week has become an absolute certainty of rain today. I woke up this morning about 2 am to the gentle sound of raindrops on the plants outside the open bedroom window. Rain is very unusual here for midsummer and also very welcome, especially since there doesn't seem to be thunderstorms involved (yet). One can almost hear the garden sighing in relief as it soaks up the moisture. Not to mention the human sighs of relief from those of us who are getting really tired of watering.

0.55 inches so far today. The record for this date is 0.70 inches in 1987. There is a lot of moisture streaming our way in the satellite maps, so we shall see if the record holds.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Midsummer Musings

After last week's heat wave, the high temperatures have moderated into the 80's with a relatively steady but not overwhelming west wind; perfect for wind sports and a lot of other outdoor activities. Forecasts are calling for more of the same with a slight chance of showers midweek.

This week's web poll asks what people think is the most likely "actual" reason that the Bush administration pursued what a lot of people are now seeing as an ill-conceived invasion of Iraq. I have previously posted some of my thoughts on the issue.

The poll lists 4 choices: To dispose of Saddam Hussein and WMDs, to spread democracy, to fight terrorism, and to attempt to stabilize the Middle East politics and culture (and therefore the area's oil supply which the global economy now firmly depends on).

I assumed even before the invasion started that the last reason (global oil supply security) was the most likely, at least in the decision-maker's minds. The first 3 reasons didn't fit the known information: Saddam was the only power that held the various factions in Iraq together, and pre-war inspectors had said he had no WMD's. There was little tradition of democracy in the area, and besides, democracy is probably best when people decide they want it themselves and work from within to achieve it themselves. Last, invading Iraq wouldn't help against terrorism and would squander our resources in the process.

So, that left the fact that we have or are about to reach peak oil globally (it's mostly all downhill from here), and the neo-cons figured that we would establish a foothold in the Middle East and that would solve that. Seems like a much better approach would have been to create a far-sighted energy policy that actively encouraged alternate energy sources, conservation, and increased energy independence.

In a humorous comment to the post directly before this one,
dbradway mentions that I left out one choice in the web poll. After reading it and laughing, I had to agree, since I've also thought that no president other than G.W. Bush would have seriously entertained the notion of an Iraq invasion being an appropriate action. Not even Bush's dad...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Like a Broken Record

Yesterday's high of 105 easily exceeded the previous July 12 record of 100 degrees (2002). And, as if that wasn't enough breaking of records, the low this morning only got down to 69 degrees, surpassing the previous "hi low" of 65 in 1940.

This should be the end of the record breaking for now; the west wind returned last night.

Speaking of "sounding like a broken record", I suppose that particular phrase dates me hopelessly. Digital music doesn't skip. Only ancient vinyl records skip...records skip... records skip...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Record Shattered

Yes indeed; yesterday's high of 101 broke the previous record high for the date of 94 degrees set in 1994. Today the bar is raised considerably; 100 degrees in 2002. Forecasts are calling for 100 degrees, so it's going to be close, especially if the clouds go away. It also depends on the barometric pressure differential through the Gorge, and therefore wind direction. Right now, it's 29.88 in Portland, 29.90 in Hood River, and 29.94 in The Dalles. Since winds flow from high pressure to low pressure, we have a slight east wind currently. This will likely shift to a west wind sometime this afternoon or evening, and bring cooler temperatures with it.

Very interesting animated cloud pattern over the Western US this morning. Moisture originating from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific equatorial area is streaming north and west over Oregon and California. If this continues, we could be in for some pretty dramatic thunderstorm activity.

Monday, July 9, 2007


I just noticed that the record high for tomorrow (July 10) is 94 degrees set in 1999. With the current heat wave settling in nicely, it looks like we have an excellent shot at breaking the record with plenty of room to spare.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


And the living is easy ... especially if your definition of "easy" is: first, a lot of wind. Then, a mostly windless heat wave this week. Then, cooler temps and a lot of wind after that. Not being a windsurfer or kite boarder, I have mixed feelings about the "lot of wind" part, but I definitely enjoy the occasional heat waves here. For one thing, the wind usually dies down or becomes slightly easterly. Plus, I really like extreme and changeable weather. Plus, we have air conditioning.

Fortunately, for those who
don't have air conditioning, heat waves here don't last very long (seldom more than 3 consecutive days) before they break and the west wind comes roaring back.

This week's poll asks whether you check the online gas price websites to find the least expensive gas stations in your area. The site I've found to be the most accurate and mostly up to date is Microsoft's MSN Auto site. When prices are changing rapidly, these sites can lag several days behind, but otherwise are pretty good at showing the lower price stations. Capitalism has its drawbacks, but open information and competition are two of its stronger points. And the Internet has brought both of those aspects front and center.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hi Low

Well darn if it didn't happen again... another record "high low" temperature this morning. The low only got down to 64 degrees, which broke the old record of 61 degrees set in 1992. That's THREE "high low" records set this June. Global warming? Nah... merely "natural cycles"... stay tuned...

Anyway, most of the forecast models call for a warming trend next week, which might just bring about something that we haven't seen for a few years: a hot dry 4th of July.

The golden zucchini are kicking into high gear; time to get the neighbors and co-workers involved in sharing the harvest.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2 Days of Summer

We get summer-like weather today and tomorrow, and then... summer actually begins Thursday June 21 at 11:06 am. Longest day of the year! Yeehaw...

Unfortunately, the weather then takes a un-summer-like downturn on Thursday thru the weekend (who'd have guessed?). For the most part, weekend downturns have been the rule this Spring (see previous posts). But still.... it's all good... it's all weather.

Lots of great local events happening this summer; check 'em out at the Hood River Chamber site.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

And Again

Another "high low" record set today. This morning's low of 65 shattered the old record of 60 degrees set in 1986.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Temperature Record

The past 4 week pattern of cool, cloudy weekend weather followed by sunny warm weekday weather has finally changed. In fact, it was so warm overnight that we set a new record today for the "highest low" temperature for June 2. This morning's low of 62 degrees surpassed the previous "high low" of 59 degrees set in 1968. For folks interested in such things, Hood River's official daily records are here.

The past week presented a classical heat wave event for this area. More often than not, the warm temps move west to east beginning on the Coast, then to the Willamette Valley, then the Mid-Columbia around Hood River, then east to The Dalles, followed by eastern Oregon. And as the heat moves east, the calm to easterly winds change to westerlies and moderate the heat.

Possible thunderstorms Sunday and then the week turns cool, cloudy, and hopefully rainy.

Hood River (specifically our wind sports and housing) made the New York Times...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Third Time's The Charm

That is, if you consider rainfall on a weekend charming. Not a lot of rain, about .30 inches so far at our house, but if the weekend has to be cool and cloudy, at least we got some rain out of it.

And we needed some rain. We've had about 10 inches of precip since Jan 1, which is about 4 inches less than normal. Doesn't seem like a huge deficit, but I can't remember the last time I had to start watering the lawn and yard in late April rather than early June. The soil is very dry, as I learned last week when I had to dig a post hole in the lawn (for a clothes line). Bone dry all the way down to 12 inches, which is as far as I got before encountering a rock the size of.... the size of something I didn't want to explore any further.

This is the 3rd weekend in a row where the weather took a downturn while the weekday weather turns great. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and we shall see if the pattern holds.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Weekend Weather Effect Part 2

Although this is only the second weekend in a row with cool, cloudy, windy weather that turns sunny and warm on Monday and Tuesday, this pattern is getting old. Either it changes, or I start taking Mondays and Tuesdays off.

Wind sports on the Columbia River have been great the past week, so that's a plus.

The HR Weather Poll this week asks about the situation in Iraq. Specifically, what should our exit strategy be? I present some choices based on my own perspective; there are certainly other options but I am limited to just a few in a poll.

I, along with many others, thought before the war started that the whole concept of invading Iraq to help "safeguard our nation against terrorism" was a huge strategic error. It ignored the cultural and religious history of the area. Iraq was/is a nation of 3 distinct religious groups that were only held together by the power of a dictator. In the words of General Colin Powell, "if we break it, we own it". At the time, we (along with the world community) had Saddam Hussein completely contained. We had control of his airspace. Many teams of inspectors had determined that he did not have WMDs. Protecting us against terrorism could be done much more effectively through covert intelligence actions, encouraging moderate Islamic positions worldwide, and strengthening the security of our ports, borders, and infrastructure. Not to mention, way less expensively, both in terms of money and loss of human life.

But, since it was clear that this Administration had already decided upon an invasion, evidence was presented that "supported" their position. It's an age-old situation: if the boss is obviously dead set on something, the people that work for him tend to provide him with the information that supports his position. Or. you might possibly lose your job. And the proper heroic fighting words were presented to the public: "You're either with us or against us" "We'll fight the terrorists in Iraq and that will keep them too busy to come over here and fight" "Freedom is on the march" and other such simple feel-good phrases.

And we, as a nation, bought into it. Those of us who didn't were labeled unpatriotic, freedom-haters, and appeasers. I had hoped that our experiences with Vietnam had made us understand that going into preemptive and/or optional wars is not such a great idea. Diplomacy, negotiation, and coercion trump going to war far more often than not (WW1 and 2 being exceptions).

And yes, I do support our troops. Some of the best ways to support them are: 1) don't send them into optional wars, 2) get them out of ill-conceived wars sooner than later, and 3) provide them with all the material, armor, and future support (as veterans) that they need.

Enough of my opinions already. What do you think (other than I should keep my opinions to myself)?

By the way, I planted my cucumber starts too soon, as usual. They have since withered and collapsed, and will have to be replanted next week.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Weekend Weather Effect

I've had a 4 day weekend off (Thur-Sun), and the weather has been cool, partly cloudy, and windy. And the forecast for this Monday and Tuesday (the "back to work" days)? 80 degrees, clear, and calm. Doesn't that just figure...

But it's been a great weekend for planting in the vege garden. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn, and pole beans are now safely tucked away in the soil. At least I hope they're safe. I live in the Hood River city limits, and frosts after May 1 are unusual at this elevation.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Site Maintenance

Real-time weather station information on the Hood River Weather site will be intermittant this evening as I re-install the station software. Hopefully this will eliminate the occasional temperature and rainfall spikes that have been occuring for the past few weeks.

Some historical graphs will be zeroed out initially, so it will take a while for the data to fill back in. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taxing Times

As usual, this week's Hood River Weather poll (on taxes) has absolutely nothing to do with the weather in Hood River. Unless you count weather in with death and taxes as things that are certain to occur in life. Benjamin Franklin probably meant to include "weather" in his quote, but just didn't have the room.

Typical spring weather continues in Hood River, with some sunny days, some rainy days, and most everything in between. We still haven't had a warm spell into the upper 70's or 80's, but those won't be too far off.

I've received several emails regarding Apple computers vs Windows based computers (see previous blog). Apple clearly has led the way for years with their innovative graphical interface, ease of use, and being less prone to malware and computer glitches. Since they have almost totally controlled what hardware and software runs on the OS, there are far fewer system conflicts. Windows machines, on the other hand, are less expensive, available in far more configurations, and have been opened up to many thousands of hardware and software developers. Which, of course, makes them potentially more unstable.

Anyway, here's a cute Mac vs PC ad that is making the rounds:

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Thanks Again, Microsoft

I finally broke down this weekend and did a clean reinstall of Windows XP on the desktop computer (the one that also runs the weather station software). Seems like Windows machines inevitably slow down over time, and this machine was getting intolerably slow.

So, after backing up data, reformatting, reinstalling XP, and reinstalling all the programs, we're back in business. Except that now the weather station software is introducing these occasional weird spiky things into the data. I'm gonna watch this for a day or so and if it doesn't improve on it's own I'll resort to stronger measures.

I can't help but wonder if Apple computers slow down over time and need to have the operating system re-installed?

Friday, April 6, 2007

From Brrrrrr To ... Nice ...

Mid-70's and sunny this afternoon. The record high for this date, 79 degrees, will probably hold. A slight east wind. This pattern in Spring thru early Fall typically brings warming temperatures. A great afternoon to be outside.

And possible thunderstorms this weekend! Hood River's thunderstorm season is April thru June (with the occasional stray event in July and August). We seldom have more than 5 thunderstorms per year, and mostly less.

What a shame. There are few things more awesome in life than a good thunderstorm (those in which you and your belongings survive).

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Not quite a record low temp this morning (29 degrees versus a record of 26 in 1972), but cold enough. And I take some responsibility for causing it, since I pushed the vegetable garden season a bit by planting artichoke, lettuce, onion, and broccoli starts last weekend. They're all pretty hardy though, and hopefully they will live long and prosper (at least long enough for me to eat them).

It's not unusual to have below freezing temperatures here in April; the historic average "last freeze date" for Hood River is April 20th. That's for the city elevation of roughly 500 feet above sea level. Higher elevations can have frost well into May or even early June.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Religion and Politics

In anticipation of Easter, this week's Hood River Weather poll dives head first into one of the two taboo subjects that must never be discussed in polite company. Since the poll has already violated the politics part, religion is next. So much for polite company...

I have always found the study of the world's religions fascinating. We are (mostly) all trained as we grow up to think that belief in a supernatural Deity or Creator (that can't be proved or disproved and is to be accepted on faith) is a primary virtue. (We especially are trained to always capitalize Deity or Creator).

I myself prefer to find (and try to practice) the common threads that run through religions. For me, some of those common threads are: There is something much bigger than ourselves, and we are all a part of that, as is everything around us. One should strive to live a moral and ethical life. Our beliefs should make us kinder and more empathetic, rather than divide us. And if our beliefs help us face our own and other's mortality, so much the better.

Other than that, I just don't know. I'm not so sure that we humans can ever really know (with our wonderfully complex but finite minds) what is spiritually "true". We can absolutely feel and insist that we do, but that could very well be wishful thinking. Plus, one can never prove a generalized negative, such as "there is no God". Given that, agnosticism feels right to me (and is, at least for me, an honest and humbling position). But I certainly could be wrong. I do know for sure that being alive and part of this Universe is an awesome blessing and absolutely amazing (with hardly ever a dull moment). Not to mention that, at least physically speaking, we are indeed Stardust.

Oh, the weather in Hood River? Great, if you like rain and cool temps with occasionally warm sunny days, which I do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's Baaaaack....

The Hood River Weather site is back after 3 frustrating days trying to get the web space restored. To make a long story short, I called my web hosting company Saturday to report that whereas they thought I had reached my web space quota of 20 MB, I could only see about 2 MB of files in there. So, they suggested, what the heck, let's just delete the whole webspace and then I could simply re-upload the files to a newly created space. Sounded really simple in theory. 72 hours later, lots of emails back and forth, and... the site returns.

Anyway, the far more important thing that has returned today is "Spring". The vernal equinox (more or less equal day and night) officially arrived at 5:07 pm, and not a moment too soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Technical Difficulties

The Hood River Weather site is currently off line for anywhere from several hours to a day or so. Technical difficulties at the company that hosts the site should be cleared up by Monday or sooner. Sorry about the downtime.

Meanwhile, our weather station is still working, and you can access the station's current (and historical) data at Weather Underground.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

70 Degrees

The high today reached 70 degrees, tying the record high for the date set in 1965. The forecast calls for cooler temps and possible rain Monday and Tuesday, then warmer and drier through next weekend.

And the sun, for some reason, is setting about an hour later. Gotta love these longer evenings!

The current web poll asks how you access the internet. Hopefully most people visiting the HR Weather site are using broadband; it is definitely not dial-up friendly.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday Monday

A beautiful sunny day today, the high almost made 60 degrees. No wind, and it was a bit hazy. It figures this would happen on a Monday, the past weekend was generally cool, with high fog that just barely burnt off late in the afternoon. But we still got some yard stuff done this weekend: shrub trimming, the first lawn mowing, and the first plantings in the vegetable garden (snow peas and radishes).

Looks like another nice day tomorrow and then rain returns Wednesday thru...

The web poll this week is regarding phone services; specifically, do you have a land line only, cell phone only, or both. I guess I should have included VOIP (voice over internet protocol), but if you have that, just answer "Neither", as it's hard to imagine that anyone has absolutely no phone service of any kind in this day and age. Although that does sound appealing sometimes.

We have both types of phones currently, but I've been watching our usage pattern vs pricing, and right now "land line plus 1 cell phone" is almost exactly equal to "2 cell phones and no land line". It's interesting that some developing countries are skipping land line development entirely and going straight to cellular.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Web Poll Feb 26

Cool, rainy and possibly snowy during the coming week. This morning, though, we are enjoying partly sunny skies (In the winter, I much prefer that phrase to "partly cloudy skies").

(Picture from our house in Hood River looking at Underwood Mt across the River in WA)

A new web poll this week regarding political leanings, suggested by Rick H. I myself am sitting on the fence at "neutral". In fiscal areas I am pretty conservative, and in social areas and foreign affairs more liberal. Currently it sort of balances out to neutral. Unfortunately, both major political parties aren't all that different anymore and neither of them are particularly fiscally responsible or seemingly even capable of dealing with long term issues that don't appear to require urgent immediate action but actually really do. Like climate change, energy policies, budget deficits, health care reform, social security and medicare funding...

I think it's human nature to allow big, slowly developing problems to just kinda sort themselves out, especially if the immediate choices are painful, difficult, or involve sacrifices. It's easier to put them off. Unfortunately, we might not be very happy with the future results of putting things off.

Regarding past web site polls, I am somewhat relieved that 88% of site viewers are either happy with the HR Weather Site layout, or have no opinion. I do plan on creating a more state of the art site design at some point. "After retirement" sounds like a reasonable plan. (See? It's only human nature, or least mine, to procrastinate...)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Snow In Town

It's been snowing at the mid and upper valley elevations off and on for a couple of days now, but this morning it's snowing all the way down to Hood River city levels. Nice big fat wet flakes, since the temperature is a little above freezing (33 degrees at 9 am).

2 inches on the ground so far at our house, about 1 mile south of Wal-Mart.

It's predicted to turn to rain later today, but forecasts for the Hood River area often underestimate snow events and amounts.

Feel free to post your snowfall amounts in comments below.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mountain Locator Units

This week's poll question asks whether Mt Hood climbers should be required to carry Mountain Locator Units (MLU). The Oregon legislature is considering a law requiring that climbers planning on going over 10,000 feet be required to carry a MLU. Mt Hood is 11,249 feet high, give or take.

My personal opinion? I think MLU's should be required. They can be rented, and are inexpensive. I understand that some climbers feel that an MLU takes the thrill out of the climb, but a mountain rescue (or body recovery) takes a lot of the thrill out of the climb also. Not to mention the cost of the rescue effort and the risks to the rescuers.

Any comments on this issue?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Temp Record Part 2

We broke not one, but two "high low" temperature records in the past 2 days. On Feb 16, the old record was 47, and we set a new "warmest low" record of 48 degrees. Yesterday, Feb 17, the old record was 45, and we broke that record with a low of 46.

And to top off this warm spell, yesterday the high temp tied the record of 62 for the date.

I should note that the most official station of Hood River climate data and records is the OSU Mid-Columbia Ag Research and Extension Center. However, their published data is usually about a week behind. I'm not sure why. It's always struck me as odd that Hood River doesn't have an official NWS reporting station. For now, for up to date information, your choices are the Hood River Weather site, or the IPM site (only the Agrimet sites there are current).

Our station is located about 4 miles from the MCAREC station, so we probably don't differ by all that much.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Temp Record Part 1

For the most part, we know when local daily high or low temperature records have been broken, and new records set. It's either extremely hot or extremely cold at the time, and it usually makes the news or newspaper. However, there are a couple of other daily temperature records that get very little recognition.

Those are the Low Maximums and the High Minimums, or, as I like to call them, the low highs and the high lows.

For yesterday's date, Feb 15, the record high low temperature is 45. We had a low of 44, one degree away from matching the record. Today, Feb 16, the record high low is 47, and so far this morning the temp has only dropped to 48. So, assuming the temperature for the rest of the day stays above 47, we've set a new high low record for this date. Cool stuff. No, make that "warm" stuff... anyway, this is quite a contrast to what the folks in the Northeast are dealing with currently.

Many thanks to Gary Boggs, local soaring enthusiast and instructor, for pointing out these lesser known temperature records.

So... high low, high low, it's off to work we... sorry, never mind.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Surf's Up

The westerly winds returned in force this afternoon. The high gust at our weather station so far today has been 28 mph, but I would estimate winds on the Columbia River to be closer to 40. Driving home from work in The Dalles, the whitecaps in the Rowena Corridor stretch were awesome, looking to be about 3 feet high. A preview of winds to come.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nice Day

A very nice day indeed. Sunny and 57 degrees, only 4 degrees away from the record high of 61 degrees in 1971. I had the day off from work, so I spent some time outside working on house and garden things. Spring is coming. Life is good.

The web poll this week is regarding the Hood River Weather site, and your thoughts on the layout. I've thought for a while that it is perhaps becoming a little stale, outdated, and definitely not "Web 2.0" style. But, on the other hand, so what. I still like the concept of having all the weather info on one page. Scrolling is good exercise (or so I rationalize).

I've also considered having two sites, one the current style, one a more up to date style. Viewers could choose between the two. But, that would involve some time and work on my part, not to mention venturing into web site design areas that I am clueless about. So, I'm curious as to what you like about the site, and what you don't.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Rain, Finally

Rain has returned after a month's hiatus. Not much (less than 1/2 inch in the past 3 days), but a nice change. Computer models are predicting occasional light showers over the next week. Or maybe not. There doesn't seem to be any big rain events in the near future. A typical El Nino pattern continues, superimposed on whatever other natural climate cycles are happening. And don't get me started again about global warming...

Monday, February 5, 2007

Web Site Poll

No rain yet, but the computer models are leaning more and more towards a rainy pattern starting sometime this week. We need some precipitation. The big rain year surplus built up by November's record rains has been steadily eroded by the scarcity of rain since early January.

I've been doing this blog for about a month. I wasn't sure about a blog initially, but I've found that writing one is strangely enjoyable. I'm now wondering if anybody else finds this blog the least bit enjoyable, interesting, or useful. To help find out, this week's poll question at the Hood River Weather site asks if you have visited this blog and whether you will visit it in the future.

The polls have been fun to do, and I appreciate all the suggestions viewers have sent. One drawback of the polls is the limited scope of the answer choices. One potential advantage of this blog is that you can elaborate here on your poll answers if you so desire. So, feel free to comment here on this or any other poll. Comments don't necessary have to relate to any particular post that I make.

In addition, if anyone would like to be able to create actual posts here in addition to commenting, let me know. I'm open to multiple authors as long as posts are at least vaguely related to Hood River or weather. Or perhaps other stuff. How's that for open?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

It Used to Be Colder

Westerly winds this morning! We haven't had west winds for over a week. Luckily, there hasn't been much of an fog inversion layer for the past couple of days, and it has been mostly sunny and cool.

Speaking of cool, today marks the 57th anniversary of the coldest temperature in Hood River's official records. On Feb 3rd 1950, the low temp dropped to -21 degrees. Granted, the temperature has almost certainly been colder than that, since official records only go back to 1928. It was probably colder, say, in the last ice age, perhaps around the time of the Missoula Floods, which did a lot towards carving out the Columbia River Gorge as we know it today. There was an excellent PBS special a while back on the subject. Awesome stuff.

And speaking of awesome stuff, the IPCC's report on upcoming climate change has been released. There is now official international scientific agreement that:

  • Increased levels of greenhouse gases in a planet's atmosphere tend to increase temperatures (duh).
  • By rapidly releasing the geologic store of carbon (fossil fuels that took millions of years to accumulate) into the atmosphere over a relatively short time period (100 years or so now), humans have been directly responsible for most of the increase in greenhouse gases.
  • If we want to do anything about this, we best be taking global action pretty soon.

My personal opinion is that, given human nature (and my own skeptical nature):
  • Our species has a poor record of working together on issues of global magnitude.
  • Our global economy (and our spectacular growth in population, infrastructure, and technology over the past 100 years) has been possible mostly due to the era of inexpensive fossil fuels, which is now drawing to a close.
  • Since the biggest step in reducing fossil fuel use is to actually use less of it, and since that could severely impact the global economy's "need to continually grow", it seems unlikely that meaningful change is going to happen in a timely fashion. Such change is more likely to happen if fossil fuel prices stay high or go higher, but then again... the economy...
But I could be wrong. Maybe mankind will undertake substantial changes rapidly enough. And even though the science is pretty clear on the warming effect of increasing greenhouse gases, we don't know for sure the impact of all the positive and negative feedback mechanisms in the biosphere, and probably won't know until they happen. Not to mention climate tipping points.

In any event, if it were me (which it is), I wouldn't own or buy land less than 50 feet above sea level, and I would try my best to think globally and act locally. For better or worse, we are all in this together. We are indeed living in very interesting times.