Friday, May 8, 2009

Our Endless Winters: What's the Real Story?

Why does winter linger in Central Oregon like a particularly stubborn case of toenail fungus? Meteorologist Adam Clark of KOHD has the answer - sort

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Why does winter linger in Central Oregon like a particularly stubborn case of toenail fungus? Meteorologist Adam Clark of KOHD has the answer - sort of.


As Clark describes it, it's all a matter of latitude and altitude. Bend is at a relatively high latitude (44 degrees) and a relatively high altitude (3,500 feet), which means that the winter sun hits us at a low angle. That allows things to get cold here in the winter, and it takes a while for the sun to warm us up in the spring.

Which neatly explains why it gets cold in Bend, but doesn't explain why it STAYS so cold for so damn long.

Other places get cold - very cold - in the winter but still manage to warm up nicely in the spring. For instance, the average daily high temperature in Minneapolis in May, according to The Weather Channel, is 70 degrees - five degrees warmer than Bend's average daily high for the month of 65. (Minneapolis is at the same latitude as Bend - 44 degrees.)

Denver, "the Mile-High City," is even balmier, with an average daily high in May of 72.

So what's the real explanation? In the absence of a better one, here's our own theory:

Every year in March, Spring timidly ventures north from California toward Bend and makes it as far as Chemult. But at that point it takes a look at the cold, bleak, dreary landscape of Central Oregon, becomes terrified, turns around and goes back. And it doesn't work up the nerve to try again until mid-June.

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