Weather Eye: Northwest may not be the Mediterranean, but we love it

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 

I was reading a description of the climate for our local area on a weather website the other day. It was described as "Mediterranean." I guess I never thought of it that way. I picture azure waters, clay-colored cliffs and white dwellings dotting the hillsides. And warm temperatures.

Basically, our climate yields dry and warm summers and mild winters. That's why we love it here, as we usually enjoy temperatures over a year's course between 32 and 85 degrees. Only on occasion does it get above the low 90s and into the low 20s or lower.

Our warm season lasts from July into September, with average highs above 74 degrees. The "cold" season begins around the middle of November and lingers into mid-February, with an average daily high of 51 degrees.

Looking through climate statistics, I found that our hottest day of the year is usually July 30 and the coldest day is December 29.

Some folks complain about the long hours of darkness in wintertime and it is true that our shortest day of daylight has only 8.5 hours. In contrast, we enjoy seven hours more when the middle of June rolls around.

Rainfall, on the other hand, gets a bit tricky because it can rain anytime here in the Pacific Northwest. But, August 5 is the least likely day of the year to receive measurable precipitation. You can almost count on rain or snow on December 15, with more than a 75 percent occurrence.

So I can save you some big bucks. If you get that urge for a Mediterranean cruise, just book a cruise up the Willamette or Columbia. Throw in a dinner, too.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. http://weathersystems.com.