What’s Ahead?

The summer weather (July & August) that followed the 5 wettest Mays in PDX history.

So what happens after the 3rd wettest May in Portland’s history?  To be honest I don’t think anyone could really tell you; but I do think we can probably rule out one thing.  People have asked me if this means a cool and wet summer.  That appears unlikely based on past history here.  I looked up the June, July, and August weather that followed our 5 wettest Mays on record here at PDX.  Notice that only one was really a “bad” summer;  1993 was widely known as the “summer of green tomatoes” here.  Lots of cloud cover and marine air; plenty of rain as well.  Luckily that was the one summer in my adult life in which I wasn’t living west of the Cascades.  I was working for a private weather company in Hood River at the time…that was probably the sunniest summer I’ve ever experienced because they don’t get the low clouds over there east of Cascade Locks.

Notice also that two of those very wet Mays were followed by horrendous fire seasons over and east of the Cascades.  The Blue and Wallowa mountains were nailed by historic wildfires…likely due to lots of green growth in the last spring that dried out later in the summer heat.  The same thing is happening this year; well above-average rainfall in normally dry areas eastside.  I know the dryland wheat farmers are ecstatic over the regular dousings from either thunderstorms or stratiform precipitation this month.  And the chilly weather keeps the evaporation down too.  Should be the best weather conditions for those folks  in north-central Oregon in 10-12 years.

Not much weather on the way Tuesday, but what a system coming in Wednesday!  Looks like a (brief) wintertime pineapple express….high precipitable water, high freezing levels, strong southwest winds in the upper levels etc…  I don’t see any chance for river flooding since the rainfall is pretty much gone by late Wednesday afternoon.

The second system coming through late Thursday night and Friday morning is sure one to watch.  Latest models swing a deep low up the coastline with the usual strong southerly wind along the coast and more rain; hard to believe it’ll be June 4th!   We “laid low” on the 7 day forecast for any significant warming Sunday and Monday.   Earlier models have been very warm Monday and Tuesday, now I see the 00z GFS is cool, but the GEM is still real warm.  Seems to be a trend for some ridging along the West Coast, but when it takes hold is most definitely yet to be decided.  If we make it past next Wednesday with no 80 degrees it’ll be the latest ever here in PDX-town.  The “record” isn’t exactly something that will go down in history (who even knew that record existed?), but a good benchmark for a cool spring.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

59 Responses to What’s Ahead?

  1. cliff says:

    I questioning whether we’re going to have cold, wet summer like we’ve had in years past.

    Yesterday I celebrated my 50th birthday one day early and went up to timberline lodge in hopes of getting above the cloudline.

    no success. I ended up in the fog. But it was neat to see that they’ve still got around 6 feet of snow up there.

    and today everyone was talking about the raging rainstorm that was headed our way, so everyone was headed outside to do their yardwork beforehand.

    our temps here in sandy have been in the (40’s), and 50’s and 60’s the last couple of days.

    historically, may has always been a hot (95-105degs) month, and june goes back cold and wet (that’s where we got the phrases like the rose festival upper level low, and summer starts on the fifth of july).

    what’s more interesting, Alaska has warmer weather than we do. raging forestfires up there.

    they’ve got our weather and we’ve got theirs.

    central oregon hasn’t even been spared. I’ve got a sister that lives there and they’re having to dodge the rain bullets in order to get their lawn mowed and garden weeded.

    if anyone wants to take a stab at this question:

    it might be weather related – what causes sink-holes?

    like the one two weeks ago that swallowed that poor family whole while they were watching t.v. and the one just today in a town. a deep bottomless pit.

  2. cliff at 1,,100 ft. says:

    I’ll repeat the question everyone is asking:

    are we going to have a wet summer?

    I went up to timberline lodge yesterday hoping to get above the cloud line and ended up in the fog.

    also ended up in the six-foot snow depth they have up there.

    I’ve talked to friends, relatives, and listened to conversations on how hot parts of alaska is and their raging forest fires up there.

    We seem to have alaska’s weather and they’ve got ours.

  3. Garron says:


    Just pulled my tomatoes up under the house for the umteenth + 1 time this year, breaking the old record of umteenth and a half! Also, I noticed that the rain on the eastern side makes for wheat a golden, while the rain on the west side of the mtns. makes for wheat a MOLDEN! Wonder what records for rain and cold we will see by Saturday?

  4. Eternal Yamcha (SE Milwaukie) says:

    May –
    2000: 49.1 (+1.6) – 66.0 (-0.7) – 2.70 (+0.32)
    2001: 47.3 (-0.2) – 71.5 (+4.8) – 0.91 (-1.47)
    2002: 46.8 (-0.7) – 64.6 (-2.1) – 1.86 (-0.52)
    2003: 48.1 (+0.6) – 66.5 (-0.2) – 1.49 (-0.89)
    2004: 51.7 (+4.2) – 68.5 (+1.8) – 1.78 (-0.60)
    2005: 51.8 (+4.3) – 68.5 (+1.8) – 4.34 (+1.96)
    2006: 49.3 (+1.8) – 70.2 (+3.5) – 3.00 (+0.62)
    2007: 47.6 (+0.1) – 69.5 (+2.8) – 1.45 (-0.93)
    2008: 50.3 (+2.8) – 67.5 (+0.8) – 2.03 (-0.35)
    2009: 48.7 (+1.2) – 71.5 (+4.8) – 3.26 (+0.88)
    2010: 46.8 (-0.7) – 63.2 (-3.5) – 4.75 (+2.37)
    10-Year Average: 49.1 – 68.4 – 2.28 (2000 – 2009)
    10-Year Average: 48.8 – 68.2 – 2.49 (2001 – 2010)
    30-Year Average: 47.5 – 66.7 – 2.38

    Dropping 2000 and adding 2010 to that list shifts it a bit. We all know the stats and everything about this last May; how it was the 3rd wettest and the coldest in 11 years.

    What a wild ride, though, and it looks like we’re going to keep that wild ride going for a while longer at least.

  5. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    I measured 4.44″ for May 2010, my 3rd wettest May on record.

    Some highlights:

    Coolest average high ever for May: 62.7 (4.7 below normal)
    Coolest mean temp ever for May: 53.9 (2.6 below normal)

    Highest Wind Gust ever for May: SSW 32 on the 19th

    Most days ever with a trace or more of precip: 23
    Most days ever with thunder: 5

    Lowest monthly maximum ever: 75.5 (previously 80.1 in 2004)

    Only may to never reach 80 degrees.


  6. pgiorgio says:

    Thanks to Mark, Steve, Justin, Rob, and everyone else who brings in stats, interesting facts, comments, and opinions to the blog. I check in from time to time for fun and read everything quickly. Keep it up!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Thank you, Pgiorgio I appreciate that. We certainly have a good number of knowledgeable folks here and I’d say that rate seems to be progressively increasing.

  7. Karen in Camas says:

    How does June 11 look for an outdoor graduation in Vancouver???? Too far out yet? Stop the faucet already….

  8. El Donut says:

    June 11-13, GFS has PDX scheduled for a constant 48 degrees – day and night.


  9. muxpux says:

    as J-Kelso linked… The Daily News in Longview ran an article today declaring this the wettest May in Longviews History at 7.02″.

    that beats the old record of 6.18″ in 1984 easily. helped along by mondays total of .82″

    of course this is recorded at the water treatment plant, not the Airport in Kelso. but i dont believe the kelso airport is even a true “Official” station.

  10. Brief May stats:

    High: 77.1°
    Low: 32.6°
    Avg Temp: 51.9°
    Rainfall: 3.41″

  11. yevpolo1990 says:

    Cross section looks nice for some possible 45 mph gusts here in the valley. 50 knots down all the way to 950mb level, and 30-40 knots are at 1000mb.


    • Kyle says:

      That’s neat yevpolo. 🙂 And in June too.

    • YEVPOLO1990 says:

      oh yea for sure, just call me yev (yea i played water polo before so ikind of combined it)
      I wonder if we will see any large branches snap?

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      You’ll see trees starting to fall at around 50 mph.

  12. http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KORPORTL110


    Averages\Extremes for the month of May 2010


    Average temperature = 54.9°F

    Average humidity = 72%

    Average dewpoint = 44.9°F

    Average barometer = 30.108 in.

    Average windspeed = 2.3 mph

    Average gustspeed = 3.5 mph

    Average direction = 239° (WSW)

    Rainfall for month = 4.071 in.

    Rainfall for year = 20.197 in.

    Maximum temperature = 75.9°F on day 17 at time 15:52

    Minimum temperature = 39.6°F on day 09 at time 06:19

    Maximum humidity = 100% on day 31 at time 08:23

    Minimum humidity = 24% on day 13 at time 18:34

    Maximum dewpoint = 61.1°F on day 31 at time 11:34

    Minimum dewpoint = 30.9°F on day 03 at time 18:47

    Maximum pressure = 30.53 in. on day 04 at time 09:28

    Minimum pressure = 29.71 in. on day 19 at time 11:13

    Maximum windspeed = 12.7 mph from 180°( S ) on day 19 at time 16:33

    Maximum gust speed = 25.3 mph from 158°(SSE) on day 19 at time 14:49

    Maximum heat index = 79.1°F on day 24 at time 13:50 Avg daily max temp 55.4°F

    Avg daily max temp :65.4°F

    Avg daily min temp :46.2°F

    Total windrun = 1706.3miles

    Record low wind chill temperature = 34.0 on day 04 at time 03:00

    Record daily rain = 0.63” on day 22

    Warmest day (6am to 6pm) = 66.4 on day 17

    Coldest night (6pm to 6am) = 42.6 on day 04

    Coldest day (6am to 6pm) = 48.6 on day 04

    Warmest night (6pm to 6am) = 62.2 on day 17

    Record high dew point = 61.2 on day 31 at time 11:31

    Record low dew point = 31.1 on day 03 at time 18:43

    Record high solar = 179.4 wm2 on day 20


    Daily rain totals


    00.08 in. on day 3

    00.09 in. on day 4

    00.17 in. on day 10

    00.04 in. on day 16

    00.08 in. on day 17

    00.04 in. on day 18

    00.25 in. on day 19

    00.37 in. on day 20

    00.38 in. on day 21

    00.63 in. on day 22

    00.24 in. on day 23

    00.37 in. on day 25

    00.46 in. on day 26

    00.30 in. on day 28

    00.12 in. on day 29

    00.09 in. on day 30

    00.21 in. on day 31

  13. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    While others have noted that May’s rainfall at PDX is in the top three by total, but the weather has managed to do something at the end of May that it has not done since September-October of 2007, and that is to have two consecutive above average precipitation months at PDX. It has been the better part of three years since that has happened.

    All major reporting sites in the northwest part of the state were well above average this month. The following is a list of stations and there rainfall amounts:

    Station, Total, Diff, % of Avg
    PDX 4.75 2.37 200%
    HIO 3.28 1.38 173%
    VUO 3.94 1.30 149%
    AST 4.30 1.02 131%
    SLE 3.47 1.34 163%
    EUG 3.72 1.06 140%
    HSP 3.03 1.00 149% – Corvallis

  14. Steve Pierce (Vancouver, WA.) says:

    Windstorm Analogs? Interesting!

    To add a little more to what I just said below,,, do any of these look good to you??? These are the top 10 record highest June precip totals at PDX (1941-2009). I see windstorm years all over in here! 1981, 1984, 1950, 1995, 1958. Interesting!

    1984 4.06
    1954 3.58
    1981 3.23
    1958 3.04
    1969 2.99
    1947 2.93
    1997 2.83
    1943 2.80
    1995 2.62
    1950 2.50


    • W7ENK says:

      Hmm… Interesting, indeed! I do not, however, see 1962 on that list. 😕

    • Mike (Orchards 255') says:

      Very interesting indeed. I don’t wanna see Oct ’62 on that list though. The “other” years, no problem. 🙂


  15. Steve Pierce (Vancouver, WA.) says:

    Here are the top 10 wettest June’s on record at PDX (1941-2009) —

    1984 4.06
    1954 3.58
    1981 3.23
    1958 3.04
    1969 2.99
    1947 2.93
    1997 2.83
    1943 2.80
    1995 2.62
    1950 2.50


    • W7ENK says:

      Cool, thanks! So it seems we could conceivably reach half way to the record for wettest June at PDX on the 2nd day of the month. My goodness!

  16. Rookie says:

    Little league tournament starts tomorrow evening. Thinking we might just be rained out….. again.

    • CBC-Tech (100ft) Washougal says:

      We have more make up games left this season than what our schedule shows for regular games… This weather has played havoc with our little league teams this year.

  17. W7ENK says:

    TV Met just said that we could get 1 to 3 inches of rain in the Valley overnight tonight and tomorrow… what’s the average June precip at PDX? Might we top that in one shot right off the bat? Wouldn’t that be incredible! 😮

  18. Steve Pierce (Vancouver, WA.) says:

    May Sets Weather Records

    May 2010 went down in record fashion when it comes to local weather. A quick glance of the record books reveals the following:

    * The maximum May temperature at the Portland International Airport reached no higher than 76 degrees. This is our coldest maximum May high temperature at that location since 1991 (nearly 20 yrs) and ranks as the 4th coldest May maximum high temperature on record. It tied 1977’s 76 degrees, trailed 1991’s 75 degrees and 1962’s 70 degrees. Only 12 years on record (17% of the 70 yrs worth of records) have failed to reach 80 degrees at least once in the month of May. Period of record for this data is 1941-2010 at the Portland International Airport.

    * Portland received 4.75″ of rainfall for the month of May. This is exactly 200% of normal (average) for the month of May. May’s total rainfall is the 3rd highest on record for the month of May, trailing only 1996’s 4.88″ and 1998’s 5.55″ of rainfall. This is also the first two back-to-back wetter than normal months at both Portland & Vancouver since fall of 2007 (nearly 3 yrs ago). May also saw 22 days with measurable precipitation of at least 0.01″ or more.

    * May’s average temperature at the Portland International Airport was 55.0 degrees. This is a full 2 degrees below normal and thus the coldest May since 1991’s 54.7 degree average temperature. May also set records for the coldest individual daytime highs on record on more than one occasion. May 4th saw a high temperature only 50 degrees at the Portland Airport. This was just one degree shy of the all-time coldest May high temperature ever recorded at the Portland Airport (1941-2010).

    * If Portland can make it to June 10th without a single 80 degree temperature, we will have reached the latest in the year without seeing an 80 degree temperature. June 9th 1991 holds the current record for the latest in the year to finally reach 80 degrees. At the pace we are currently on I think we have a good chance to break that record. Long range data continues to show no 80 degree temperatures in sight.

    It looks like the infamous “Rose Festival Low” will be with us for a while. The current pattern of cool and wet weather will continue with an unseasonably strong system due in this week that could dump record setting rainfall across the area.

    Steve Pierce
    Vice President – Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
    360-695-7172 (Vancouver)
    503-504-2075 (Portland)
    e-mail: stevejpierce@comcast.net

  19. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    3.28″ of precip in the month of May. Highest temperature was 77F, not very warm compared to most Mays.

  20. Dave J. says:

    When is the big system arriving for tomorrow? I’ve got an early a.m. flight out of PDX tomorrow (6/2), and am stressed about rough weather.

  21. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:


    Today is an auspicious day, and probably not in a good way. Today is the start of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane season. The season is forecast to be active and with the blown out oil well likely to be still flowing, we may all witness one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of human kind and a very evil science experiment.

    The following are the 2010 names:

    IGOR, E GOR-

    • pappoose in scaappoose says:

      Could be morbidly interesting.

    • Gidrons says:

      I don’t think the predictions for hurricane seasons have been all that accurate.

      As for the oil spill, that’s already an environmental disaster.

      There was a far bigger oil well explosion(so far) in 1979 in terms of crude dumped into the gulf, around 140 million gallons I think. Anyone remember what hurricane season was like that year?

  22. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    9 in the morning and check out the storms going up over Nebraska and South Dakota!


  23. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Of my 3 wettest May’s (1996, 1998 and 2005), only one of the summer months during those years (June 2005) had precipitation well over normal (2.42″, normal is 1.67″).

    Also, during those years, I averaged 4 thunderstorms over the summer months (June, July, August).

  24. Sifton says:

    Great, in 4 & 1/2 months we’re back to this kind of weather (& worse) no matter how you slice it.

  25. Karl Bonner says:

    I wonder what the latest date is for the first 60F day? First 70 day? First 90 day?

    Has PDX ever made it through an entire calendar year without ever breaking 90, and if not, what’s the lowest yearlong high temp it’s ever gotten?

    • Karl Bonner says:

      Also wanted to say that I visited The Dalles this weekend and I don’t think I ever remember seeing distinctly green hillsides this late in the spring before. At least not when I lived there…generally by now the only green left is under the canopy of a scrub white oak or some other relatively cool and shady microclimate or nanoclimate. However it is possible to encounter green at the very start of June if you go slightly west of town, but even that is nowhere near guaranteed.

      I think that right now the East Gorge looks about like it does in the second week of May (e.g. Mother’s Week) in an average year. With all the rain forecast next week, it might be yet another 10 or 15 days before the brown summer look really starts to settle in, even in the semiarid spots from The Dalles eastward. But once they get a few days with no rain and at least somewhat warm temps (80F or so), the green will probably experience a very abrupt disappearance.

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      Karl, the NWS actually has all that tabulated.

      Click to access pg57.pdf

      Click to access pg56.pdf

      The latest first 70 is May 5 for PDX and May 21 for downtown

      The latest first 80 is June 9 for PDX and June 16 for downtown

      In 1954 no station in Portland recorded 90 degrees, and as recently as 1976 certain stations around the metro area have failed to record a 90+ day.

  26. W7ENK says:

    I found my first ripe strawberry today… there is a glimmer of hope! 🙂

    71.1°F High
    55.9°F Low
    W 16.8 mph at 5:26p

    Temps fall in line with KORMILWA3, just a 1/2 mile from me. I’ll reference that station if my numbers look fishy from now on.

    WHOA!!! I just heard two TREMENDOUS rumbles from from the sky to the SW, so loud I felt it in the air inside my living room… I stepped outside thinking it was a train derailing, but there’s no train. Every dog in the neighborhood is going off, and there was a persistent yet fading rumble coming from the sky to the SW that lasted/faded for about 2 minutes or so…

    Anyone else just hear that???

    • W7ENK says:

      Okay, I’m guessing not…

      Several friends on Facebook heard/felt it, from Mount Scott, Milwaukie, Clackamas, Gladstone, Lake Oswego and Tigard. Kinda creepy!

  27. TV Weather Producer says:

    Mark is a good guy.

  28. Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

    1998 was probably the best summer out of those, although it had a cool June there was a really nice heatwave in July to make up for it.

    1996 was also a great summer, set the record for 95+ days at PDX and had a few deep troughs with one big subtropical rain storm in September.

  29. TVWeatherProducer says:

    In Central Oregon for vacation. The mets over here are saying close to an inch of rain Wednesday and Thursday. Should be interesting. It was good to see Detroit Lake at capacity !!!

  30. Battle Ground Brian says:

    May 2010 Climate Summary — Battle Ground Lake

    Rainfall: 6.06″ (23 days with measurable rain)
    2010 Precip total so far: 29.07″

    High Temp: 77.2 on 14th
    Low Temp: 36.8 on 7th

    Average High: 62.2
    Average Low: 44.0

  31. Kyle says:

    Actually FT Yukon isn’t that bad because it cools off FAST at night. 🙂 *I don’t exactly know how much* but they are continental like execpt no sticky humidity!

  32. Dave in Buckman says:

    Radar is back up! w00t!

  33. Jesse-Orchards says:

    Anyway, who cares about wheat farmers? It’s not like any of our food supply contains what products. I want HOT and SUNNY spring weather EVERY year so I can get my BBQ and tan on. Get your priorities straight, Mark. 😉

  34. Jesse-Orchards says:

    First? Go 1993!

  35. Momto4inOR says:

    Thanks for the update! This has been a horrible spring for little league! Will they get the games in tomorrow night at 6 in the south burbs?

  36. Annoyed says:


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