Record high low temperature

The warm to cold temperature swings and wild wind over the past week caused surprisingly little damage, but managed to break one record.

Winds out of the south, which reached speeds up to 51 mph in Ashwood on Friday, and up to 40 mph at the Madras Municipal Airport on Saturday, broke no records, according to Dennis Hull, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

The weather service received only three reports from local weather watchers. Around 6:30 a.m. Jan. 11, strong winds downed a large tree and caused a power outage at the lodge at Suttle Lake. At the same time, the Oregon Department of Transportation weather station on U.S. Highway 97, near Shaniko, reported winds of 50 mph, gusting to 58 mph, for over an hour.

On Jan. 10, the Ashwood area reported winds of 28 mph, gusting to 51 mph, but no damage was reported.

So far this month, even though temperatures have been in the upper 40s or 50s nearly every day, most January record highs are in the 60s.

The record, which occurred on Saturday, was for the low temperature. With the strong winds out of the south, the temperature only dropped from 55 during the day to 41 overnight. The 41 degree low temperature broke the previous low for that day, set in 1953, by 2 degrees.

Tom Jaca, assistant chief at the Jefferson County Fire District, was surprised that there was only one call reporting damage.

"We had one call related to the wind, early Sunday morning, on Polk Street, for a powerline," he said. "It turned out to be a cable TV line that was identified as a nonhazard."

The temperature swings caused more problems for motorists. From Thursday through Sunday, there were four single-vehicle rollover accidents — all of which occurred on black ice.

"Three of them were within a one-mile stretch of Highway 361 in the vicinity of Hildebrand's corner, the other one on Highway 97 at Bear Drive, due to ice," he said. "All were late night or early morning." (See fire and police logs on page 8 for additional information.)

Predicting weather for the rest of the month, Hull said, "I don't see any really cold snaps. The temperatures will probably be above normal for the next two weeks; the clear skies at night will allow temperatures to cool off."

So far, Madras weather records show 0.72 inches of precipitation, which is close to half the normal amount of 1.56 inches for January, but he is not expecting much more.

"There's not much in the way of precipitation for the next 10 days to two weeks," he said. "Our best chance for precipitation might be around the latter part of next week."

As for snow, Hull commented, "I wouldn't get my hopes up for that."

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