Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Aspect of the Suck: The Big Bend Chill

"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).


Jack Elliott said...

Bit o' historical climate data here:

It's for RDM, as NOAA doesn't track Bend. Looks like about 120 days with a daily mean maximum temp of 70F or higher (end of May to end of September). So I'll pick 120 days.

What's the prize?

H. Bruce Miller said...

"What's the prize?"


Anonymous said...

"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..."

Hours? Try minutes. From my office window I have direct view of a reader board that covers, the DOW Jones Ind. Avg. Time and TEMP! Even here in the W. Valley, those much touted Highs are about good fer' sh!t.

No sooner attained than they begin to WANE! Lingering High Temps are hardly our hallmark! To be honest w/ you, the PNW would be a HELL of a lot more tolerable if the overcast skies weren't hopelessly shackled to notoriously Low Temps as well.

When sationed in SoCal thru-out the 80's I can tell you Overcast doesn't necessarily = Total Misery. In fact, it seldom did.

Jack Elliott said...

Hmmm ... now that I think about it, Bend is, like, 500 feet higher in elevation than Redmond. Our daily mean max temp count may be fewer than Redmond's, so 120 might be a stretch. But I made my pick, so I'll stick with it.

I hope this will be more than just a two-man derby. Surely others will want to join in the competition. Plug this thing every few blog posts!

H. Bruce Miller said...

Yes, because of its elevation and its proximity to the mountains, Bend is the chilliest of the Central Oregon cities. Redmond typically is a little warmer, and Prineville and Madras are warmer yet.

I'll be determining the Bend daily high temperature using a minimum-maximum thermometer at home. For days when I'm away, I'll check the Redmond high as reported by the NWS.

FYI, yesterday's high (as determined by me) was 61.

Anonymous said...

"I'll be determining the Bend daily high temperature using a minimum-maximum thermometer at home."

And order some anti-depressants while you're at it? I admire your gumption. This will not end well.

I'm a player and all, so if Jack wants to play Over/Under put me down for Under. WAY under. Still, I think it's missing the point. A good many of us will be at the office/on-the-job ( or seeking therapy ) when these absurd, fleeting 'Highs' are attained.

It's a great experiment and I'll do my part. If you auger down tho' I think you can get 5-Min. Temp. increments, although perhaps not for your exact location.

Jack Elliott said...

YOUR thermometer? Unless that thing is calibrated, all bets are off. Many consumer-grade thermometers can be two or three degrees off, and that's enough to skew the results.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I'm a player and all, so if Jack wants to play Over/Under put me down for Under. WAY under."

Good. What's your number?

"If you auger down tho' I think you can get 5-Min. Temp. increments"

That'd take way more effort than I'm inclined to make.

Anonymous said...

"Good. What's your number?"

Jack's at a buck-twenty... give me a buck even! This is after the recent KATU Weather Blog Link Revelation that La Nina` is actually soon to be over!

Right, I think once they go past 30 or 90 days, the 5 min. increments drop off. Gets cumbersome.

Not that I find the Data totally uninteresting, it's just that we're so beyond that. Look at the way we in OR -relate- to one another? The way we know dozens and even hundreds of people, but we're all equally depressed ( on a relative basis to other areas ) whether we admit it or not?

Look how in the Economic Downturn all of a sudden everyone decides "the cause of their demise was b/c they were rubbing elbows w/ the "wrong people" and need a lifestyle/friend/assoc. makeover!"

Yeah! THAT'S the ticket! If I have all new friends then the NEXT time I throw my LIFE SAVINGS down a sh!t tube..., well, I'm SURE it will work out differently?

H. Bruce Miller said...

Jack: Chickening out already, eh?

Isn't my thermometer just as likely to be two or three degrees UNDER the correct temperature as over it? Where's your sporting blood?

And anyway, this isn't a bet -- I'm not asking entrants to put up any money.

BTW the official high in Redmond yesterday was 68. But I'm not going to use the Redmond readings unless I'm out of town and have no choice. This blog is called "Bend Sux," not "Redmond Sux," and the point is to find out how many 70-plus days Bend has.

Jack Elliott said...

Humph. Using instruments of unknown accuracy does not sit well with my engineer's temperament.

What make/model you got there?

H. Bruce Miller said...

I dunno, some cheap piece of shit made in China.

Jack Elliott said...

Unpatriotic, eh? Lazy, too.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Enough with the insults already -- are ya in or out?

Anonymous said...

This blog is called "Bend Sux," not "Redmond Sux,"

I see franchise potential! Hey, why not? At the end of the day, wouldn't we have to admit that only a very tiny fraction of SW OR qualifies as a bona fide banana-belt?

Applied elsewhere is really just a sales tool/cheer leading? Did we have a Banana Belt Bubble = to the size of our Housing Bubble? Lol

Jack Elliott said...

Grumble, grumble.

Fine. I'm in.

But I'm gonna get me a proper thermometer and keep my own records. Not to dispute yours, but for my own edification.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Good, that will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

"*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,..."

Duly noted. Jumping thru the hoops of selling your home, packing up and moving should at least yield a bounty of 70 Degree + Days. If not, it simply isn't worth the effort.

I must admit, I've been on a particular LOW this Spring. The eCONomy refuses to cooperate as much as the weather. As a result, virtually -all- of the young people in our lives are in dire straits. Which in turn places undue stress on us parents.

Throw in all the backstabbing and buddyf@cking that comes tack & tile w/ OR's economic downturns.., and let's just say, many of us will be lucky to pull out of this FUNK at all!

It's the confluence of numerous factors and the longer this thing ( and cr@ppy weather ) drag on, the fewer of us will survive intact. When you reflect on it, the scenarios you can play out in your mind where you'd walk away without a scratch get narrower and more fanciful by the day.

Let's see.., I'm a State worker and my WIFE is a State/Fed/City worker ( neither of whom was RIF'd ) and... we sold our house at the Peak of the market and then..? There doesn't appear to be an age or station in life left unaffected. At least if we were in Vegas, we'd have a tan to show for it?

Anonymous said...

Something of a landmark day here in Silverton. For the first time since October of last year I walked back to the office after lunch without a full winter coat.

Ain't that something? Put a vest on just in case it turns to sh!t but if it holds for another hour and a half ( I'm golden! )

Can't speak for others but this is usually a time of year when I pull the plug on running the heater. After 7-8 months + of Winter power/gas bills, I draw a line in the sand. I tell myself, 'you' chose, 'you' SUFFER! Seriously, at some point you -have- to or you'll be running it thru mid-june. ( No caps necessary )

Anonymous said...


Had a great conversation w/ a client I don't talk to nearly as often as I should. He's a SoCal guy ( grew up in Chicago ) but who's wife is from Burlingame, CA.

He mentioned that much of the area that follows the Russian River in NorCal has -decimated- RE prices. He attended a wedding there last Sept. and was really taken by the area. ( It's 85 there today btw )

He mentioned prices "below a quarter" but when I looked at local RE sites ( there's ample selection below $200k actually? )

Here's the kicker, unlike far-flung communities that really only benefitted from the ripple effect ( I prefer Rolling Bubble ) this is an area that's an hour and half drive from San Fran! Our guess was that (when) gas reaches $7 a gal. Reno, Tahoe and a lot of other fave destinations of Bay Aryans ( ha! ) will simply cease to EXIST and fall off their radar completely!

So.., it's affordable. It's GREAT weather and... unlike most of the country, it's within 90 minutes of a major metro area w/ real potential going forward! I only mention this as it's an area none of us have entertained before and 'I' know would have never've considered had it not been for a personal rec? Curious to get your take.

H. Bruce Miller said...

It's a beautiful area and, as you say, has a great climate. During my NoCal era (1980s) it was a very popular vacation spot for gays. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

"Not that there's anything wrong with that" Lol

Yeah my friend mentioned that was the reputation. He honestly said, he really didn't notice there... were any more than, just about any place 'else' you go?

Truthfully, couldn't matter LESS to me even if it were the case. So much of that sense of utter despair comes from the realization no matter -where- we decide to plop down roots for our ret. home ( the prospects for any actual appreciation looked BLEAK, at best? )

Makes a guy feel like "Kowalski" in Vanishing Point. Yeah baby, bring those bulldozers ON! My only point is, when it comes time for me or the wife to get put in a home, will the kids be able to sell at the drop of a hat ( and God forbid at a reasonable profit? ) Or will this be just another case of a home -sitting- on the mkt. forever and a DAY adding up to nothing more than a BURDEN to the kids?

Lord, if I play my cards right ( at least let me have that? )

Anonymous said...

We had [a] decent day yesterday here in the Valley. So nice in fact we all decided it would make for a nice family run. Grandkids, dog, the whole fam damily.

It quickly became... well, FRANTIC! The high school was having a track meet so we opted for the soccer fields. Lumpy as hell. Jumped in our cars and bolted for daughter #2's place. Or Plan C.

ANOTHER thing I've tired of from Oregon. Frantic Nice Weather Days. All of a sudden everyone wants to be outside. Saw a guy texting on a UNICYCLE! WTF, there's no handlebars and he'll probably get killed anyway?

Guess what I'm... doing ( in heaven? )

Nope, no matter how nice the local news says it's going to be ( and it seldom is ) it's going to be frantic! And with short days and throngs of fellow Morlocks out and about, it doesn't take much to throw a monkey wrench in your machine?

H. Bruce Miller said...

Lovely day here in Bend, I must say. For once Cinco de Mayo feels like Cinco de Mayo. Usually it feels like either Cinco de Julio or (more likely) Cinco de Febrero.

Anonymous said...

Well then Congrats all the way around! Here in Silverton it's back to drab and maybe 58.

Certainly don't have any plans.