River Temps

River temperatures have warmed up quite a bit over the last month.

River temperatures have warmed up quite a bit over the last month.

Drew made this graphic Monday, and I personally experienced it yesterday.  We had a healthy snow pack this past winter/spring, but the peak of the spring melt has now passed and rivers are receding.  My 8 year old son and I took a little kayak trip on the Columbia River around Sand Island at Rooster Rock SP yesterday.  Looks like the river has dropped 3-5 feet since the peak a week or so back.  The highlight of the trip (other than a buck-naked couple lounging on the beach…don’t stare Andrew!) was finding a pair of high-quality sunglasses just barely poking out of the sand.  Someone must have lost them in the last few weeks because they were unscratched with no rust.  What a deal!  I did notice the water temp was chilly, but not ice cold, so real summer weather can’t be far away!

The Summer Solstice is Saturday evening here in Portland, and just in time a large upper-level trough once again settles over the Pacific Northwest.  This one has colder air than any we’ve seen this month, so a few days in the 60s (for highs) are likely.  I notice that there is still no dramatic change towards higher 500mb heights as we wrap up June.  Lots of clouds this month (so far), so daytime highs have been a bit cool at times, but the very warm nights have given us an unusually warm month.

Mark Nelsen

30 Responses to River Temps

  1. Karl Bonner says:

    Shucks! I was hoping for some solstice astronomy this weekend, and instead we are expected to get the most un-summery weather since early May.

  2. Tetra says:

    Will having an above average rainfall summer help the fields not be so brown?

    That would be neat to see the fields green in the late summer instead of that pultred brown.

    What does Pultred mean anyways?

    • PeteyJ - Uptown Village Vancouver says:


      They will always turn brown in the summer, especially in the late summer.

  3. Punxsutawney (aka HIO Phil at work by Sunset High) says:

    Thanks to Steve P!

    According to the CPC data, in 1954 Hillsboro had no days above 89 degrees. If the PDX data I have is accurate, Portland did not get above 86 that year. Talk about a cool summer.

    Precip was pretty close to average that year, though June-Sept was a bit above average with June being the well above month.

  4. muxpux says:

    ive only had a problem with seasonal allergies the last couple years (im 27) and this season has been absolutely miserable for me.

    as for the river temps…bonneville caps the columbia river temp around 70 at the peak of summer. this is because the fish around here dont survive well in warmer waters.

    and as for that tornado vid…wow. billy mays chases tornados!!!

    and is this weekend supposed to be kinda like last week? not too bad, but maybe some afternoon showers popping up? or is it gonna be like sitting at Long Beach and its just gonna be chilly and cloudy all day?

  5. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Hey Sean… Yeah I absolutely would. Tomorrow’s projected ‘moderate risk’ area is one of the largest I’ve ever seen.


    • Sean (Lebanon, IN) says:

      Probably going to be a late night tonight, and then tomorrow also.. Hopefully this might be the time, just as long as it’s not over my house..

    • Sean (Lebanon, IN) says:

      It’s a sultry evening outside, dewpoint is up to 72F now and temps are in the mid 80s. Overcast sky at the moment, looks like the warm front is moving through. Looking at Iowa, it’s an absolute powder keg setup. Which that activity will eventually arrive here, probably as a bow echo or derecho.

  6. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Hey everyone

    Mark, thanks for the update. I hope that naked couple wasn’t ummm visually displeasing to look at or else you could have nightmares for awhile.

    Snowy, I think that was the tornado near Aurora, Nebraska, but not 100% sure. He was extremely stupid because if that tornado had shifted he was a goner.

    Well I wasn’t expecting to be 71.5F before noon today, so looks like upper 70’s today and with this refreshing ocean breeze it is about as perfect as you could ask for outside.

    • Sean (Lebanon, IN) says:

      Rob you would have an absolute field day over the next two days. Back to back MDT risk here’s, I don’t think I’m gonna chase around here today. But tomorrow afternoon might be a different story..

  7. Ryepie (Orchards) says:

    I was on the Columbia River yesterday, just east of the Interstate Bride. Water temp measured 63.5

  8. podunk says:

    Clearly we can blame all the cool temperatures on global warming.

    • Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

      Well overnight lows have been well above normal with all of the clouds.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Last night I was up late cleaning the house (insane amount of energy for 10pm!) and was sweating like crazy. The nights have been exceptionally warm.

  9. Punxsutawney (aka HIO Phil at work by Sunset High) says:

    Today marks the latest my station has gone into the year since I started keeping records in 2001 without a 90° recorded temp. The previous latest being June 17th, 2004. Hillsboro airport has not recorded a 90° or above temp either in 2009.

    Looking at the 00z & 06z GFS, I don’t see any 90° temps through July 4th. I’m not sure what the record is for the latest date in the year when the first 90° temp has been recorded, or if there has been a year in modern history where we never had one in Hillsboro, but if we get well into July, I’m pretty sure that we will be pushing into record territory. When I have more time, I’ll try to analyze my CPC data and see what I can find.

    PDX somehow did manage 90° on June 3rd so they are out of the running.


    Oh – My garden is going great at this point. I even have green tomatoes on some of the vines and a few peppers forming. I think it’s a combination of the late May early June warm spell and the very warm nights plus some timely rains.

    The last 30 days seem to have been very humid also. Finally, this is the worst allergy season that I can remember in a long time.

    • ….i second that allergy season thought…..

    • Allergies were really bad down here in California as well, though they peaked much earlier than they did in Oregon. Grass was extremely bad in April and I was a complete mess. I was hiking in the hills two days ago and the grass is now all dry, but it seems much fuller, thicker, and taller than it was last year.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      My allergy shots must really be working. I’ve had 2 stretches covering a few days that my allergies got really bad. Other wise the combo of allergy shots and Zyrtec has largely kept my allergies at bay. The 80 degree mark seems to be the point were things get bad for me allergy wise.

  10. Tetra says:

    59.7 for my low in this mid July I mean June morning.

  11. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    River temps are rising! Good news. I remember the temps at the Columbia being cold at this time of year many times.

  12. I’m amazed at the change in temperature of the Columbia. I had somehow come to expect that the dams held enough water as heat-sinks that the temperatures wouldn’t change quickly throughout the year.

  13. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    My garden sure has been loving this weather. Looking forward to heading out to the rivers this summer!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Mine is well ahead of last year too due to the big warm spell at the end of May and the warm nights I think. Corn looks really sad and slow growing…probably because it would like much warmer highs.

    • Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

      Weeds seem extra happy this year. My gardening books say that is an indication of a good growing season. We went camping for 6 days the end of May and a friend watered my garden. Wow, did the weeds grow! It looks hours and hours of hard labor to take my garden back!

  14. Jesse-Orchards says:

    00Z GFS goes out to the 4th of July today.

    Looks partly sunny, highs in the 70s.

  15. Mback says:

    Hopefully we will experience some luck and have a nice 4th. I will be heading to Lincoln City for their annual fireworks show so make sure and have some nice weather for me please Mr. Nelsen.

  16. Farmer Steve says:


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