What’s the Climate really like?

Joseph Oregon Climate

Q: Generally, what’s the weather like in Joseph Oregon and the Wallowa Valley?

This article provides a general seasonal description and the most asked about statistical data from the National Weather Service; like most statistics, it gives you an accurate idea of of the weather averages, but almost always leaves out the odd extremes.

And there are extremes; in the last 20 years, snow has fallen on the Forth of July -twice! 

In the last 50 years, winter snow has covered the tops of fencepost’s. There’s the odd storm that brings winds of over 90 mph and lightning that lasts for hours. These are the weather events that people love to talk about, but are hard to find in the data.

In the last ten years the area, like much of the world, has been warming up. Old timers will tell you that we haven’t had a ‘real winter” for a long time.
Springs are also wetter. Other Links of interest:

Today’s NOAA Joseph Oregon Forecast

Current Road Conditions, N.E. Oregon

General Description of Joseph and the surrounding Wallowa Valley’s
seasons

WinterWinter-
Long and Cold with many bright, dry, sunny days to enjoy the winter snow.
The effect of a ‘dry cold’ and feeling more comfortable then you might think
is experienced by most. Snow comes around November and lasts through April,
with one or two good storms that might dump 10″ or more. Snow packed roads
might last a few months but usually only about three weeks. A warm wind, or
‘Chinook,’ occasionally comes and thaws the entire valley in a day. Ground
snow normally consolidates to well under a foot. For a week or two, very
cold weather will grip the area with nighttime temperatures dropping below
zero.

springSpring-
Cold to mild and usually wet. Spring rains vary widely depending on the
location in the valley, with proximity to the mountains being the
influencing factor. Rainfall can double in just a six mile stretch.

SummerSummer-
Beautiful warm sunny days and mild to cold nights. A few weeks of hot
weather and the occasional thunderstorm, sometimes severe. High mountain
passes in the wilderness usually thaw in the first or second week of July.

FallFall-
Warm to mild with cool to cold nights, normally dry. A long Indian Summer is
common. This time of year is favored by most of the locals, with many warm
days even in the high country.

WindWind-
Generally the area is calm but whenever
storms approach and the pressure changes, the mountains funnel air through
the canyons in a rough and gusty manner. All the mountain canyons around
Joseph behave this way, although simultaneously one may be windy while
another is calm.

Monthly Weather Averages, 1971 to 2000, Joseph Oregon

Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec TL
High Temp Normal Monthly Maximum Temp 37 40 46 53 60 67 79 80 69 57 44 35 56° F
Low Temp Normal Monthly Minimum Temp 18 20 24 29 36 42 47 46 40 31 25 17 31° F
High Temp Extreme Monthly High Temp 57 59 69 76 82 87 95 94 94 82 70 54
Low Temp Extreme Monthly Low Temp -22 -25 2 11 18 26 31 33 20 11 7 -17
Rain Normal Precipitation Totals 1.16 .97 1.31 1.59 2.71 1.64 1.29 .74 1.68 1.37 1.56 1.03 17.05″
Winter Snowfall Avg. Ground Snow Depth 2.6 2.6 1.3 .3 .4 .7 0.7″
Winter Snowfall Extreme Ground Snow Depth 18 11 10 6 2 3 6 7
Winter Snowfall Normal Snowfall Totals 11.5 6.1 9.5 5.5 .4 1.5 5.6 5.8 45.9″

Records, for all years since 1893, Joseph Ranger Station

High Temp Record High Temps
100°
 on 7/8/1919,
7/10/1917
99° on
7/12/2002, 7/9/1919,7/14 ~16/1917
98° on
7/13/2002, 7/14/1935
Low Temp Record Low Temps 34° on
12/18/1924

-32°
 on 12/17/1924

-30°
 on 12/19/1924
Winter Snowfall Record Snowfall Days 16″ on
1/21/1894
14″ on
3/12/1906
13″ on
1/23/1943
Rain Record Rainfall Days
2.50″
 on 9/23/1917

2.00″
 on 8/3/1953

1.93″
 on 5/16/1921
Rain Annual Precipitation Totals, 1948 to 2006
Wettest:
 1998 –22.6″

Driest:
 1949 – 12.1″

Snowiest:
 1996 –63.9″


Get Today’s NOAA Joseph Oregon Forecast

Current Road Conditions, N.E. Oregon

Local saying: ‘Only fools and newcomers try to predict the weather in Wallowa County.’

 

 

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