February Brought Record High, Low Temperatures & Freeway Wreckage

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A wet snow storm resulted in around 100 accidents on Interstate 84 on Feb. 21. (OSP photo)

February of 2022 had a variety of conditions that resulted in record lows in many cases and a massive pileup on Interstate 84.

A monthly report by the National Weather Service (NWS) out of Pendleton highlighted the highs and lows of February.

The month began as dry, which continued beyond the middle of the month, with most locations having no precipitation under a strong high-pressure system aloft. There were several days during this period when there were record high temperatures set.

Things changed near the end of the month when there were several days of below-normal temperatures, with many new record lows recorded, as an arctic air mass moved into the area. During this time there was heavy snow in many mountain and high plateau locations. However, most of it preceded the arrival of the arctic cold air, according to the NWS.

Most of the heavy snow reports were in the northeast Oregon and southeast Washington mountains.

The most impactful snowfall occurred on Feb. 21 when there was a massive freeway pileup due to heavy wet snow on Interstate 84 over the Blue Mountains, causing numerous accidents.

There were two distinct periods of record temperature reports during February. The first was a period of record high temperatures from Feb. 5-13 during a period in which a strong high-pressure system existed. This contrasted with Feb. 22-25 when there were many record low temperatures that occurred as a result of an arctic outbreak, which also brought heavy snow.

Hermiston recorded a record low for Feb. 23 with 7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 10 degrees set in 2018. Pendleton recorded a record low of 4 degrees for Feb. 23, breaking the previous record of 7 degrees set all the way back in 1894.

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