New Regional Weather "Normal" Is Warmer, Less Snowy


The official definition for what we consider "normal" weather around here is changing. A division of the science agency NOAA has calculated new averages for U.S. weather stations. Despite our cool and wet spring, the new normal is warmer and less snowy.

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hide captionImage courtesy National Climatic Data Center

When a weather report refers to the normal high and low for the day or the average rainfall, your forecaster draws on the National Climatic Data Center. That federal agency has now updated its 30-year averages to include the most recent decade.

The bottom line is the "normal" January temperature in most Northwest cities becomes more than one degree Fahrenheit warmer. Consequently, you can expect a bit less snow in the lowlands. A normal July is now also nearly a degree hotter.

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hide captionImage courtesy National Climatic Data Center

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"Broadly these changes are in line with what we expect as humans increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. "But we can't definitively say that the magnitude of the change is exactly what we'd expect from that."

The National Climatic Data Center is also unwilling to make a definitive link between global warming and the higher temperature normals it calculated.

On the Web:

1981-2010 climate normals:

1971-2000 climate normals:



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