"This year, April took a chill pill" says the headline on this morning's daily Bend newspaper. "April 2011 will go into the books as one of the coldest Aprils in Central Oregon and around the Northwest in years," said the story under it.
The average daily high in Bend in April was a truly sucktacular 40.1 degrees, which was 3.6 degrees below the long-term average (1971 to 2000) of 43.7.
Last month was, indeed, chillier than usual for Bend and the Northwest. But Bend takes a chill pill every year.
Long-term data from the Oregon Climate Service shows that the average daily high in Bend surpasses 70 degrees in only four months: June, July, August and September. It surpasses 60 degrees in two more months -- May and (barely) October.
Bear in mind also that a high in the 70s or 60s does not mean the temperature is in the 70s or 60s for all, or even most, of the day. It might climb into the 60s or 70s for only a couple of hours before dropping back into the 50s, 40s or 30s. And of course it's notorious that after sunset, the temperature in Bend goes down faster than a $20 hooker.
(As an aside, Bend's climate is not exactly hospitable to baseball, especially night games. When Bend had a minor league team back in the day, locals joked about attending "30-30" games -- 30 people in the stands, 30 degrees on the field.)
Last year I examined Bend's "300 days of sunshine" claim and proved through rigorous scientific investigation that it is pure double-distilled 200-proof bullshit. This year I intend to focus on a different aspect of Bend's suckiness: the temperature. I'm going to track the daily high temperature and score each day as comfortable* (high of 70 or above), marginal (high of 60 or above) or sucky (high below 60). I'm starting with today's reading (May 1) and will go through April 2012.
To add interest, I'm also starting a contest to guess how many comfortable (above 70) days Bend will experience over the coming year. Whoever comes closest to the exact number will receive an appropriate prize.
I'm betting the total will be 102.
*NOTE: I define 70 and above as "comfortable" because it is the temperature range in which I can feel comfortable outdoors without wearing a sweater, jacket, coat, parka, anorak or similar extra insulation (unless the wind is blowing, which it usually is in Bend).