PORTLAND -- The Portland Metro area is on track to see the driest first quarter ever in a year since rain tallies started getting recorded back in the 1890s.

So far, 5.14 inches of rain fell in the Hillsboro area from January through March 25, 2013. Vancouver has seen 6.11 inches and 5.19 in Salem, to name a few key locations. Portland has received 6.21 inches of rain so far this quarter.

If the metro area fails to get any more rain before the end of March, or even gets only a trace, new records will be set. Rain totals currently put Portland in its 3rd driest year ever for the first quarter of 2013. The record for Portland was set back in 1985, when only 4.93 inches of rain were recorded from January through the end of March. (See chart below.)

Meantime, the promising, mostly dry and near-60-degree spring break for Portland this week will be a welcome sight when compared to one year ago.

The photo below, taken April 3rd of 2012, shows a wet and muddy field at Alpenrose Dairy. Days of heavy rain forced the cancellation of the Alpenrose Easter Egg Hunt for the first time in 50 years.

In contrast, the weather for this year's treasure hunt should be bright and sunny this coming Saturday.

Last year: Mud cancels 50th Alpenrose Easter egg hunt

March of 2012 saw a record rain total of 7.89 inches. It was the wettest March in the record book at PDX. And Portland's spring break saw at least some rainfall each day, with more than an inch Thursday and more than two total inches for the week. There was measurable rainfall for 22 days that month. The graphic above shows 7 days with .50 inches of rain or more in March of 2012, compared to one day this month. Warm days, meaning 60 degree temperatures occurred three times last March. So far this month, the temperature has reached 60 degrees six times.

Reflecting back on a year ago will likely make you appreciate this years spring weather. On the heels of the 4th-driest February at PDX, this March has only seen about 50 percent of normal rainfall so far. Just six days have seen measurable rain and the month has not seen more than two rainy days in a row.

Well-above normal rainfall October through December has switched to well-below normal precipitation since then. We could actually be talking about needing moisture as the summer months approach.

KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill

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