Wednesday blows away record high in Walla Walla

The day was nearly the warmest on record for the month and was 9 degrees above the previous Jan. 4 mark set in 2008.

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Silhouetted against the upper rim of Bennington Lake on Wednesday afternoon, two men walk from open sky into the fire-hued clouds of a blazing, winter sunset. The day's temperature of 69 degrees easily topping the previous high of 60 degrees set on Jan. 4, 2008.

WALLA WALLA -- Winter? What winter?

Warm air pushing through the area caused temperatures to soar to a record 69 degrees Wednesday, easily topping the previous high of 60 degrees set on Jan. 4, 2008.

The very mild winter day nearly tied the overall record high of 70 degrees for January as recorded at Walla Walla Regional Airport, according to National Weather Service records.

Another candidate highest temperature in January, 71 degrees, was recorded by a weather station in the city of Walla Walla in 2005. But that station only listed data from 2001 to 2008, according to NWS records.

Temperature records were also set in Pendleton, where the high also hit 69 degrees, and in Redmond, Ore., at 65 degrees.

Ann Adams, assistant forecaster at the Weather Service office in Pendleton, said the warm air was being pushed by a cold front now moving into the area. "Ahead of the front there's a southwest flow (of air) which tend to be on the warmer side," she said.

The abnormal high drove this month's average temperatures to more than eight degrees above normal, according to NWS records. But cooler weather is expected to return starting today as a cold front arrives along with breezy conditions across the basin and foothills this afternoon.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Record highs around the area

Below are the record highs for January as recorded at different local weather stations:

Walla Walla Regional Airport (1949-2012)

  1. 70 degrees -- Jan. 20, 1968
  2. 69 degrees -- Jan. 4, 2012; Jan. 19, 2005
  3. 67 degrees -- Jan. 31, 1995; Jan. 31, 1992
  4. 66 degrees -- Jan. 31, 1971
  5. 65 degrees -- Jan. 26, 2003; Jan. 15, 1974; Jan. 11, 1953; Jan. 8, 1953

Walla Walla city (2001-2008)

  1. 71 degrees -- Jan. 20, 2005
  2. 66 degrees -- Jan. 27, 2003; Jan. 8, 2002
  3. 65 degrees -- Jan. 19, 2005
  4. 64 degrees -- Jan. 7, 2002
  5. 62 degrees -- Jan. 26, 2003; Jan. 4, 2003; Jan. 3, 2003
  6. 61 degrees -- Jan. 10, 2007; Jan. 3, 2007

Whitman Mission (1962-2012)

  1. 70 degrees -- Jan. 21, 1968
  2. 69 degrees -- Jan. 31, 1971
  3. 68 degrees -- Jan. 20, 2005
  4. 67 degrees -- Jan 27, 2003; Jan. 16, 1974; Jan. 15, 1974; Jan. 20, 1968
  5. 66 degrees -- Jan. 31, 1992; Jan. 19, 1990; Jan. 30, 1971
(Source; National Weather Service)

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