Rain jackets and galoshes are always fashionable in rainy Oregon, but residents likely have been wearing those garments more than usual in recent months.
Since Oct. 1, the mid-Willamette Valley has received 51 inches of precipitation, and that’s good for the third-wettest start to the “water year” on record, said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.
The water year begins in October, when rains typically return to Oregon.
"(The) average for the water year would be around 32 inches. Most of our annual rain falls in these six months, but usually not 50 inches plus," Dello said.
The wettest start to the local water year was in 1973-74, when 61.36 inches of precipitation fell through March at OSU’s Hyslop Research Farm. That site sits halfway between Albany and Corvallis on Highway 20.
More than a foot of precipitation fell in both last October and this February at Hyslop, and March also was damp and rainy.
The mid-Willamette Valley received 8.11 inches of rain last month, which ties for the seventh-wettest March on record, Dello said.
That figure is almost double the average March precipitation of 4.43 inches at Hyslop. The record of 11.70 inches was set in 1904.
Dello said that the mid-Willamette Valley only had four days without rain in March. The average temperature of 46.7 degrees this month was slightly higher than the historical average of 46.2 degrees.
The mountain snowpack also looks strong for this time of year, Dello said.