A powerful storm barged into Baker County Sunday night, March 28, rapidly replacing the summer preview that prevailed earlier in the day with chilly wind gusts more typical of winter.
The temperature plummeted 13 degrees in 10 minutes at the Baker City Airport as a cold front moved through, dropping from 52 degrees at 10 p.m. to 39 degrees at 10:10 p.m.
The temperature dropped from 62 degrees at 8 p.m. to 38 degrees at 10:12 p.m.
A peak wind gust of 59 mph happened at 10:24 p.m., according to National Weather Service records.
Light snow was falling at the airport at that time.
The temperature plunge happened several hours after southwest winds brought balmy air into the area. The high temperature of 75 degrees at the airport tied the record for March 28, set in 1966. The average high temperature for the date is 52.
Sunday was the warmest day at the airport in almost half a year. The high temperature on Oct. 9, 2020, was 81 degrees.
Tom Fisk, operations supervisor for the Baker City Public Works Department, said the city received one call about wind damage from the Baker City/County 911 Dispatch Center Sunday evening about 10:30.
A mature fir tree fell across Campbell Street between 11th and 12th streets, blocking the street.
Fisk said Justin Plumbtree, a public works employee, used a backhoe to push the tree out of the street.
A no-parking sign was topped at Washington Avenue and Resort Street, Fisk said.
A tree limb that fell across a power line cut electricity to about 1,025 Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative customers from about 3:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, March 29, said Joseph Hathaway, communications manager for OTEC. The outage affected residents mainly in the downtown and east parts of town, from Hughes Lane south to Elm Street and Indiana Avenue.
There were four other wind-caused outages during the night, each affecting fewer than a dozen OTEC members, Hathaway said.
In the wake of the cold front, the weather will be dry but cooler than usual through Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
After Sunday’s record-tying warmth, low temperatures Tuesday could approach records in some areas. Baker City’s record low for March 30 is 16 degrees, set in 1954.