Friday, June 10, 2011

May 2011 Revisited

Compared to historical averages, May 2011 in Hood River was way colder, way cloudier, and way wetter, with above average winds.

May continued the increasingly annoying pattern of disappointing, disgusting, and downright despicable weather this Spring. Day after day, week after week, month after month of cold, cloudy, wet, hope-destroying weather. Am I bitter? Yes, but I'll get over it, and then I'll be complaining about the way too hot, way too dry, and way too windy Summer weather.

Anyway, the average temperature this May of 52.9° was colder than long term averages (56.2°), and even more colder than the recent (2001-2010)
average of 57.4°. We can, however, take a small amount of perverse satisfaction in that it wasn't quite as cold as last May. And we can only hope this isn't some sort of diabolical pattern emerging for Spring in the NW.

Speaking of cold, here's Mark Nelsen, from Portland's Ch12, with his May summary. Note that the darkest blue areas, setting more local records in the US than any other area, are right in our area!

Here in Hood River, the maximum temperature was 74°, and the minimum was 32°.
The high heat index for the month was 72°, and the low wind chill was 32°.

Going along with the continued cloudy trend this Spring, solar radiation averaged only 487 Ly/day, which was pretty dimly lit compared to an average April solar radiation of 546 Ly/day.

Official precipitation totaled 3.12", compared to an average May of 1.15". My station recorded 3.41". The all time record for May rainfall in Hood River is 3.34" (2005), which means I had a record monthly rainfall at my house, but alas, not an official record for HR. Sigh... the story of my life...

It rained on 11 of the 30 days in the month, which is, if you're counting, a third of the time. The maximum daily rainfall (1.55") occurred on May 15th.

The 24 hour average wind speed for May at my somewhat sheltered weather station was 3.9 mph, compared to the historical average of 3.6 mph. The peak wind gust was 35 mph on May 14th. Wind speeds at other less sheltered locations, such as the Columbia River, were undoubtedly higher.
Barometric pressure peaked at 30.47", with a low of 29.53".

There were 3 local weather records in May. On May 15th, MCAREC received 1.55" of rain, blasting by the old record of 0.64 set in 2001. On May 28th, the high temperature only reached 56°, breaking the old "low high" record of 57° in 2006. And, on May 31st, 0.95" of rain, which surpassed the old record of 0.75" in 1993.

These monthly summaries use the official NOAA data from MCAREC when available. Here's their data for May 2011. Some data isn't available there, so that comes from my station located near May and Rand Streets in Hood River. To view my weather station's data for May 2011, click here.

Luckily (or unluckily, depending on one's beliefs), the Rapture didn't occur on May 21 as predicted. Not to worry though, the next ETA is October 21.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


On June 5th, as the first heat wave of the year (80+ degrees for 2 days) was winding down, an upper level low off the California coast began spinning moisture up in our direction.

And then, against all normal odds, at approximately 7:30 pm, a thunderstorm of epic proportions (for Hood River) moved in overhead, and remained parked here for an amazing 90 minutes of awesome lightning, a number of almost instantaneous thunderclaps, and torrential downpours.

My weather station recorded 1.01 inches during the event, most of it happening in the first 30 minutes or so. At one point, I recorded a rainfall rate of 5.76"/hour, which is the highest rate I've seen since I've been paying attention to such stuff. It remains to be seen what MCAREC, the official NOAA station in Hood River received, but their automated station nearby registered 0.98". The previous record rainfall for June 5th in HR was 0.48" in 1993.

Ok, so this was probably just a 3 or so on a scale of 1-10 for typical Midwest t-storms, but still... for Hood River, which has this uncanny ability to divert thunderstorms around so they don't happen here, it was totally awesome.

Gary Boggs captured a couple of videos here and here, and below is a video from the Hood River News on the event. If I find more photos/videos, I'll post 'em.