Saturday, February 12, 2011

January 2011 Revisited

Compared to historical averages, January in Hood River was sunnier, warmer, drier, and average in wind.

"Sunnier"? WTF? Where did that additional adjective in my summary sentence come from? Well, as an indication of just how crazy I am, I've starting to track "solar radiation" for Hood River, as measured at the HOXO station. Solar radiation can function as a gauge of the relative amount of sunshine vs clouds, and is measured in Langley units (Ly) And since I sometimes wonder if any particular month was cloudier than average, this is a way to put some data behind it. So, I can wonder about other things instead, like: why do I even bother? :)

For January, the solar radiation averaged 96 Ly/day, compared to an average January of 84 Ly/day. By comparison, January of last year was considerably lower at 72 Ly, which was due to a LOT of inversion clouds that month. We were quite fortunate this January, as cloudy inversions didn't happen very frequently, and when they did, the sun managed to mostly burn through by afternoons.

Temperature-wise, the average temperature of 38.7° was way warmer than long term averages (33.5°), and also warmer than the more recent (2001-2010) average of 36.7°.

January precipitation (3.69") was below average (5.13"). The month started out dry, and pretty much stayed dry. Except for a week in the middle of the month, when arctic air moved in, it snowed, then freezing rain, then a Pineapple Express moved through, it rained, the snow melted, and the rivers rose. For details, refer to the "Flood On The Hood" post below.

It wasn't an especially snowy January. We had 5" of snow for the month, less than the long term average of 14.6".

The 24 hour average wind speed for January was 1.7 mph, compared to a historical average of... wow... exactly 1.7 mph! The high wind gust at my station was 38 mph on Jan 17th.

The high heat index for the month was 57°, and the low wind chill was 18°. Barometric pressure peaked at 30.67", with a low of 29.81".

There were 2 local weather records set in February. On 1/14, the "high low" of 46° broke the old record of 42 (1982). And then, as the Pineapple Express roared through, HOXO received 1.12" of rain, which broke the old record of 1.07" (1953).

The tabular data below is from my home weather station.
To view its January 2011 monthly summary and graphs at Weather Underground, click here.

The "historical average" numbers for temperature and rainfall are from the Hood River MCAREC data. Historical wind average is from my station's 2001 to 2010 data. Note that average wind speeds include all 24 hours of the day and night, which is why they are way lower than daytime peak winds. In addition, the wind speed at this station is considerably lower than on the Columbia River.

HighLowAverageHistorical Average
Temperature (F) 57
Wind (mph)38

Rainfall (in)1.01

3.69 (total)

Valentine's Day and American Heart Month, both in February. Coincidence? I think not.