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Mild Winter in the Pacific Northwest

3/10/2015  By Tyler Edwards
 
We've been having a very mild weather here in the Pacific Northwest. The table below represents degree-day numbers for the last 3 years using 41 degrees as the base low temperature. These numbers are used to calculate the number of heat units per day, and compare them to years past. This is very useful in determining how far along certain crops are. See chart below:

Station Location 2015 2014 2013
Year-to-date Year-to-date Year-to-date
Abbotsford, B.C. 321 135 117
Aurora , OR 473 265 227
Bellingham, WA 356 232 170
Mount Vernon, WA 374 221 174
Corvallis, OR 417 254 238
Grandview, WA 225 171 125
Kelso-Longview, WA 437 203 200
Prosser, WA 235 179 191
Salem, OR 455 276 276

Every location is reporting at least 50 more heat units this year compared to last year. 50 units represents a 3-5 day difference, so for locations like Aurora, OR with a 208 unit differential, we are looking at the crops to be 12-20 days ahead of last year. Eastern Washington numbers aren't nearly as drastic due to colder low temperatures, but they are still 3-5 days ahead of 2014.

Since today is only March 10th, the biggest issue with early season crops will be frost danger. This will definitely be something to keep a close eye on moving forward, and the closer we get to bloom, the more vulnerable the plants and trees will be to cold weather. The early bearing fruit crops will be the most susceptible (peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, berries, cherries).