Weather Blog

How cold did it get? Check out the Arctic Outbreak Scorecard

How cold did it get? Check out the Arctic Outbreak Scorecard
Photo: Elain Carroll, Olympia

While most areas ended up blank in the lowland snow department -- no small feat, considering how cold it got and for how long it stayed -- many did put up some impressive low temperatures -- including some single digits in Western Washington and below-zero temperatures elsewhere in the Northwest.

Seattle (at Sea-Tac Airport) bottomed out at 19 degrees on Dec. 7 while Arlington dropped to 9 degrees on Dec. 7 and Shelton made it down to 8 on Dec. 8. In Eastern Washington, Pullman dropped below zero for five consecutive days reaching -11 on Dec. 8.

The numbers, at least for Seattle, weren't all that close to a record. Without a layer of snow on the ground to help chill the air, the readings were a lot warmer than they might have been. We had 7 consecutive days at or below 32 degrees and the record is 24 set in 1947. We had 5 consecutive days at or below 24 degrees which was well short of the record 11. (Seven days would have got us into the Top 5.)

As for cold high temperatures, Seattle had one day with a high at freezing. As you can imagine, that is nowhere near a record. But just in case you were curious, the record is 10, set in January of 1969.

Here is a chart showing the low temperatures of several cities from the period of Dec. 4-9.

City Dec. 4 Dec. 5 Dec. 6 Dec. 7 Dec. 8 Dec. 9
Bellingham 28 20 21 19 12 17
Friday Harbor 27 19 23 19 15 21
Oak Harbor 25 23 25 16 15 20
Pt. Angeles 22 24 27 18 16 20
Sequim 29 24 25 21 18 23
Anacortes 23 22 24 16 17 21
Arlington 18 18 12 9 16 19
Everett 25 25 21 18 18 21
Boeing Field 26 22 28 24 20 21
Renton 24 23 27 15 18 20
Seattle (Sea-Tac) 28 23 24 19 20 23
Bellevue 27 24 27 18 18 N/A
Gig Harbor 25 26 26 24 20 23
Tacoma 17 15 21 24 10 12
Olympia 17 14 25 20 11 15
Bremerton 18 14 25 21 18 12
Shelton 16 14 24 22 8 11
Vancouver, WA 19 15 24 22 9 12
Forks 24 21 29 24 15 23
Hoquiam 24 21 27 21 16 22
Astoria, OR 24 22 26 20 13 26
Portland, OR 22 19 24 21 12 15
Salem, OR 21 17 26 18 8 11
Eugene, OR 18 14 24 4 -10 -2
Walla Walla, 15 7 9 10 3 6
Moses Lake 13 4 10 2 -5 3
Yakima 12 5 12 9 -2 3
Ellensburg 11 8 11 1 1 5
Spokane 12 10 7 3 -2 7
Pullman -4 -3 -3 -3 -11 0
Wenatchee 13 12 16 6 3 6


Long range models don't show any abnormally cold weather for the next 10-14 days so looks like we're done with the big chill for a while. I suppose that's OK -- check out what the extended cold did in Plano, Texas!