CORVALLIS, Ore. - The strong El Niño pattern that has persisted for several months produced the warmest mean temperatures in January that Medford has ever seen, according to the Oregon Climate Services office at Oregon State University.
The average mean temperature in Medford this January was 45.7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 45.13 set in 1995, said OSU's Kathie Dello, a research assistant with Oregon Climate Services.
Several other Oregon cities narrowly missed record temperatures.
Astoria experienced the second warmest January since records were kept, with a mean January temperature of 48.2 degrees, just missing the record of 48.39 set in 2003.
Salem also had the second warmest January in its history at 46.2 degrees, just off the record of 46.94 set in 1953.
Eugene's mean temperature of 45.6 was the third highest on record, falling short of the all-time high of 46.8 degrees set in 1953. Corvallis, at 44.75, experienced the fifth warmest January in its history. The record of 46.26 also was set in 1953.
The warm temperatures have created low snowpack levels throughout much of the state, according to Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute based at Oregon State University and an OSU atmospheric scientist. That may bode poorly for farmers and others dependent upon summer stream flows, he added.
"From past experience, we know the chances of rebounding from early snowpack deficits during an El Niño year are pretty small," Mote said.
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Philip Mote, 541-737-5694