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Rain Continues to Stay Away

by Dan De Carbonel
Salem Statesman Journal - February 5, 2005

Pineapple Express helped to reach record temperatures

The typical Oregon winter rains appear to have gone south this year, in more ways than one.

For the third consecutive month, rainfall well below normal was recorded at McNary Field, and weather professionals do not expect a spring surge to make up the difference.

"Right now, it looks like we're on the short end of the stick," said Dan Keirns of the National Weather Service. "When the dust settles, I think we will be short of normal rainfall; I just hope it isn't as short as it is right now."

January's miniscule total of 1.43 inches was one-quarter of the normal amount of 5.84 inches and the sixth-driest January on record.

Since Oct. 1, the total rainfall of 10.76 inches is less than half of the normal to-date amount of 21.72 inches. More than half of Salem's annual rainfall typically falls in November, December and January.

"We would need 170 percent of normal rainfall over the remaining months to get even," Keirns said. "I think we have the possibility to get some fairly strong storms, but we're past the point of no return in terms of reaching normal rainfall totals."

A weather condition from the South Pacific, known as a Pineapple Express, helped establish new marks for the warmest minimum temperature of 57 degrees on Jan. 18 and a daily high of 63 degrees on Jan. 19. Keirns said that another express is possible before spring.

The lower precipitation is expected to be combined with higher-than-normal temperatures. The springlike weather should continue until Oregon's typical summer pattern begins in April.

Keirns said a modified El Niņo condition has caused the jet stream to split, sending winter storms normally destined for Oregon to move south into California and north into Washington and British Columbia.

"I don't see a major change in the system happening," Keirns said. "We'll have mostly springlike weather with a few returns to winter."

Dan De Carbonel, Staff
Rain Continues to Stay Away
Salem Statesman Journal, February 5, 2005

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