weather

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Cente

2014 was the hottest year on record. That’s according to data released Friday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the Northwest, temperatures also rose above normal.

After a warm summer and winter, last year was the second hottest on record for Oregon and the fifth hottest on record for Washington.

The hottest year for both states is still 1934, when the Dust Bowl plagued the West.

Karin Bumbaco is the assistant state climatologist in Washington.

interstate guide

Northwest travelers should expect airports, roads, bus and train stations to be crowded this week. It’s projected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel season in seven years. Marie Dodds is with Triple-A Oregon. She says the improving economy has an influence.

Dodds: "Americans are more optimistic about the future. They're feeling better about their personal economic situations.  And when people feel like that they tend to spend more on things like travel.”

Heavy rain is falling in the Willamette Valley, and that means snow in the Cascades. That’s good news for skiers and snow boarders. Mount Bachelor opens Monday, with other resorts following soon.

Mount Bachelor will open one lift and the terrain park Monday. Resort spokesman Drew Jackson is optimistic this weekend’s forecasted snow will allow them to open more for the holiday:

Jackson: “Things are looking good for Thanksgiving weekend. We hope to have at least three lifts open, at least five kilometers in the Nordic Center.”

Tom Banse

An east wind is pushing arctic air from the central U.S. to the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures have plummeted in the last couple of days. 

The cold front is forecast to bring snow to the mountains and central Oregon and even into the Willamette Valley overnight and into Thursday. Laurel McCoy is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. She says the snow isn't likely to stick around in the South Willamette Valley. But it's good news for Oregon's ski areas.

www.noaa.gov

This Columbus Day weekend, those heading to the Oregon Coast should be extra cautious. There is a potential for deadly sneaker waves in the next few days.

Sneaker waves are sudden, unexpected waves that reach farther up the beach than normal. Mark Spilde is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says conditions exist for sporadic waves up to 18 feet high:

Hottest Summer on Record for Eugene

Sep 17, 2014
Schin Haakenson / Inciweb

Eugene experienced its hottest summer on record this year. The area saw 34 days of 90 degree temperatures or higher. The old record was set in 1958. On average, only about 12 days of 90 degree temperatures are expected, according to Clinton Rocky with the National Weather Service in Portland.

“We just lost our good classic onshore flow that brought us those morning clouds. This year not the case. So instead, we got the warm days plus we got all those obnoxious warm nights where the temperature sometimes had a hard time getting back down under 60 degrees.”

Inciweb

Hot, dry, windy weather is forecast for the next few days in Oregon. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for most of the state.

Matthew Cullin is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. He says the most of the state will be at risk for fires to spark and grow rapidly through Saturday.

Cullin: "Most notably it's hot and it's very dry. The relative humilities are going to be very low which promotes fire growth, if you were to have a spark, it would rapidly be able to start a fire. So, along with that, we have quite gusty winds."

Amanda Butt

Vendors at the Lane County Farmer’s Market say their crops are recovering after the snow and below zero temperatures that hit their fields this winter.

Booths are filled with kale, carrots, and potatoes at the Lane County Farmer’s Market. It’s hard to see that farmers suffered any losses after the winter’s harsh and unusual weather. But the farmers behind the tables and baskets of produce say the cold conditions came with a price.

Richardson: “We had some issues. The cold was harsh on us.”

Says Jack Richardson, the manager of Organic Redneck farm.

Storm Impacts Mt. Pisgah, OR Country Fair

Feb 26, 2014
Mt Pisgah Arboretum

The 1999 fire that burned Mt. Pisgah grasslands also benefited the site by eradicating poison oak. Similarly, the winter storm earlier this month both damaged and enhanced the Lane County arboretum.  Tom LoCascio, Mt. Pisgah site manager, says the deciduous forest got hit:

LoCascio:  “We saw a lot of tops breaking out of trees.  It seemed like the oaks in particular took it pretty hard, and some of the big leaf maples as well.”

In assessing damage, LoCascio says, sometimes we consider only the individual species, the single oak tree,

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Benton County has opened the barns at its Fairgrounds to animals in need of refuge from high water conditions.

Osborn: "We don’t know that it will get any worse, but we don't know that it won't."

Those words from Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn about the potential for high water over the next few days.  Osborn says melting snow and rain have caused some pastures in the county to flood and at least one barn collapsed under the recent snow.

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