A Cold Coastal Summer

Have you been to the Coast this summer?   Sure, it’s normal for it to be chilly in the summer along the Pacific Northwest coastline.  That’s due to the almost constant northwest wind blowing across the cold ocean water.  But this year has been cooler than average with a very persistent onshore flow.  For example, Astoria has only seen 4 daytime highs at/above average in an entire month!  The first week of August has seen no high temperatures above 65 degrees.  The “normal” high in Astoria in July/August is 67/68 degrees.

Obviously that has affected inland areas a bit as well, with those spots exposed to the onshore flow most affected.  Seems to me that Kelso/Longview have been a bit cooler relative to Portland than what we normally see.  That’s because it’s basically an “open door” to the Pacific down the Columbia River.  Farther removed from that influence, Salem’s July high temp was 3 degrees higher than PDX’s.  Last year PDX had slightly warmer highs for July.

The image above shows why it’s been cooler at the beaches…a large cold anomaly all along the west North America coastline.  Click on the image for a much larger view.  Also notice the huge warm anomaly in the rest of the Eastern Pacific.  Temps at our latitude way offshore (between Alaska & Hawaii) are between 65-70 degrees!

10pm Weather Update:  I’ve never actually been on a mechanical bull, or a real one, but the long-range model ride the last 36 hours has been almost as wild…my neck is even a bit sore.  Although that’s more likely from working on that chicken coop digging post holes and lining up big beams.  But I digress, here’s the latest:

Big change is that the upper level low is not going to slide down the Coast, but instead move down across Central Washington and into southern Idaho the next two days.  That spells a tremendous change for our weather (the forecast at least) west of the Cascades.  Gone is the chance for easterly upper level flow and thunderstorms.  Almost gone is the chance for showers too.  If we get anything it’ll be tomorrow, and even then just a few sprinkles possible here or there.  What do we add to the forecast?  A much quicker warming trend as the low heads off to the east starts Wednesday too. 

A strong upper-level ridge then builds from offshore and flops over into the Pacific Northwest.  This causes surface pressure to rise to our north and east, giving us our first offshore (easterly) wind flow event in over a month.  A thermal trough develops west of the Cascades and appears to stay there from Friday morning through late Sunday.  Some models show the easterly flow reaching the Coast on Saturday.  850mb temps on both the ECMWF and GFS are around +22 to +23 degrees all three days.  My chart shows 95-100 degrees.  We’ve only seen it that hot one other time this summer, and the likelihood of that happening after mid-August (this weekend) really falls off.  So that means this may be the big hot spell for the summer.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

109 Responses to A Cold Coastal Summer

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

    00z GFS is very hot!!! 😦


    • HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

      Looking at this in more detail I’m not sure the 850mb temps support 100 degree highs.

  2. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Clearing from the north tonight.

  3. warm model whiplash
    GFS winter pain woe
    invest in back brace

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

    Wooooo! Don’t get too excited, but there was at least ONE lightning strike recently over western Klickitat County near Trout Lake.

  5. Runrain says:

    Yes, I predict by Monday afternoon we will be getting first reports from weather bloggers of red tomatoes, particularly the cherry variety.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Got some for the past month. But as seasoned native, we plant early under plastic frames. Even at that, this year is pretty poor. We planted Walla Walla sweets three times.
      On a side note, last fall we had lots of root crops (beets, carrots, etc.) and some greens doing really well in the ground. Then came the December freeze. Lost em all. And we didn’t even get a big snow from it!

  6. Karl Bonner says:

    I too noticed the really sharp temperature disparities from coast to valley this year, and Eugene was quite a bit warmer than Portland. Kind of seems like the California East Bay at times…

    Upper 90s unlikely after mid-August? I seem to recall that we’ve gotten quite a few mid 90s into the first couple weeks of September, so I find this remark a bit puzzling.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I wasn’t as clear as I should have been with that comment. The likelihood of many days 90+ in a row drops dramatically after mid-August. We just tend to see more and more up and down after that time as we slowly head into Fall. Notice that when we hit 90 in September it’s always for just a day or two (maybe 3?).

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      And when we get that hot in Sept it feels worse because the sun angle is slamming more sunshine on your side.

  7. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Rob, did you catch any fish?

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      We’re probably doing a lower Deschutes float next week. I say probably because if it gets really hot and the White Glacier on Mt Hood dumps too much silt it kinda screws up the fishing. But hey, the rafting and swimming would still be OK!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      My Dad caught 1 wild Rainbow which he released. As for my Brother and I we didn’t even get a bite which is very unusual. The last time I went to Harriet I caught a 14″ Brown. Sadly though Monday Fishing was extremely slow likely because we’re into August and most of the Fish retreat to deeper waters much earlier in the day as compared to May, June, and early July. We did see one guy in a boat catch a nice 22″ Rainbow. We also stopped by Frog Lake Reservoir which is connected by pipeline to Harriet. This little known Reservoir is not too far from Ripplebrook Ranger Station and the Timber Lake area. Nothing there either. Unfortunately it looks to be too hot to fish next Monday, so the following Monday we’ll go to either Lost Lake or Clear Lake(Assuming the Lake isn’t drawn down too much for irrigation purposes.)

    • as a former camp host at Harriet…August ain’t no time to be fishing for more than stockers there…..

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      It really appears the Lake has been “fished out” due to the heavy pressure Harriet receives as no one I had spoke to had caught any of the legal sized stockers the previous weekend. August 30th they are stocking Harriet with 2,000 Legals and 667 trophies.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Thanks for the info Rob, might go up to Harriet and catch some of those stockers. This time of year I fish off the bottom with a slip sinker, floating bait and 1.5lb leader. I’m like a big kid, have a great time yarding in a mess of those stockers. Love fishing the high lakes.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      ODFW always reports the stocking date on the Monday of the week during which it will be stocked. It’s usually Thursday or Friday when the fish are actually dumped in (go fishing 9/3 for those stockers).

  8. W7ENK says:

    Sun! But’s it’s chilly…

    :mixed feelings:

  9. WEATHERDAN says:

    IPS Meteostar gfs forecast for Salem Wed 11th 82, Thur 12th 90, Fri 13th 100, Sat 14 103, Sun 15th 100, Mon 16th 93, Tue 17th 84. Ironic that about 12 days ago this was forecast by gfs meteogram. I posted about it and others posted that it was la la land. La la la la la.

    • Timmy-scappoose says:

      Yeah, but then the next run probably showed showers and 60 degrees. Just because it shows snow all winter, and it happens 1 or 2 of those times, doesn’t mean it is accurate

  10. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    The 12z Euro actually tones down the heat some.


    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yep some and you have to like that ULL moving toward SW Oregon!

    • Jim inN. Tabor says:

      Does anybody see anything suggesting T-storms starting on Thursday like inAccu Weather is saying ? I am skeptical of their predictions sometimes. Whatcha think Rob ?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      But have you noticed the 12z EURO often for whatever reason has cooler 850mb temps than the 00z run? I noticed this yesterday too. The undercutting ULL though could perhaps cause slight cooling, but I suspect 00z is hotter.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I notice that too during the summer, it’s because you only see the afternoon (00z) temps on the overnight run and only the morning (12z) temps on the midday run. I see both on our Vortex WSI site for both runs. Today the 12z is still just as warm as the 00z for each afternoon Friday-Sunday.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Jim, unfortunately as of yet no models really shows an ideal setup for t-storms. It doesn’t appear a ULL sets up in the right position nor is its track very favorable. It is still worth keeping an eye on. After all we are due for some kind of electric fun.

      Mark, thanks for the explanation that makes sense not to mention your fancier tools.

  11. Garron near washington square says:

    Alas, a ray of sunshine, we’re breaking up a little later here. I am BBQing right now, and the 1st sun rays from our death ridge are finally emerging!

  12. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Got a Trace this morning with drizzle, then all of a sudden its mostly sunny here last 20 minutes or so. Looks like that piece of energy wrapping around the low to our Northeast is breaking up the marine layer at least temporarily in Clark Co as the spoke approaches from the north.

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

    Watch Storms LIVE!!!!

    Primghar, Iowa(Northwest Iowa)
    A line of broken strong storms is approaching. Not to severe limits at the moment. We might see something worthwhile.

  14. umpire says:

    Have been getting very light sprinkles in downtown PDX as well.

    Looks like we probably won’t hit records this weekend – though the downtown record for Friday is just 99. The other dates, and all the airport records, are 100+. So, this just might be a “mini death ridge!” I think last year’s record of, what was it, 9 days in a row of 90+ temps qualifies for a Portland death ridge. Boise, Idaho, on the other hand – runs 90 degree days for about three months. It’s all relative . . .

  15. Derek Hodges says:


    Marks station version of the ECMWF shows a +25 850mb temp on Sat, with easterly flow thats in the 101-103 range probably.

    I expect this will be toned down slightly though to upper 90s.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Derek, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few locations get into the low 100’s.

      It looks roasting.. It might even be 95-99 Monday. It would be nice to see t-storms as the heat breaks. I notice the ULL Monday night/Tuesday is close to being in a good placement, but would like to see it 50-75miles farther south. The flow looks to back southerly(maybe SSE) for a brief time.

    • W7ENK says:

      My fingers are crossed, and the batteries on my new HD camera are charging… 🙂

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I hope you guys enjoy this crap. I will probably be posting less during the heatwave because it simply isn’t interesting weather IMO, just uncomfortable.

      We won’t see any thunderstorms going out of it, either, so I’d just forget about that.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I agree that it’s no fun unless you are sitting near water (or in it) for 8 hours each day. But it’s the same with a sunny and cold spell, you just sit inside and watch the temp go up and down. It’s all about enjoying the extremes, whether it’s high or low.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I dunno, Mark, you can bundle up and go for a nice brisk walk during sunny cold weather.

      Not much you can do outside that doesn’t involve water when it’s really hot.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yeah true unless I am in the Cascades near a Lake it isn’t worth going outside past Noon or so. The thing I truly hate is the uncomfortable sleeping weather and when you have 5 days 95+ houses warm progressively so by the 3rd night or so it becomes really unbearable.

  16. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Btw, if the east winds continue over the mountains, low temps in the foothills may not dip much below 70. I remember a summer a couple of years back up at Mt. Rainier I woke up at 5 am and it was 72 with an east wind.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yeah this is the kind of pattern where you see Larch Mtn.(Washington) still 80+ at 11:00 PM with east winds and also areas east of I-205 65+ overnight.

    • W7ENK says:

      Oh, my corn and tomatoes should be in heaven if it stays that warm overnight! Maybe I’ll have some tomatoes actually turn red???

    • Garron near washington square says:


      i’ve had 2 tomatoes ripen so far! By mid July last year I was canning my tomatoes an almost sick of corn, I won’t gripe again.

    • W7ENK says:

      I have yet to find a ripe tomato this year. I have a TON of green ones, some of which have gotten quite big, but not even a hint of ripening yet.

      I have a TON of corn this year, too! This is my fourth attempt, and every year previous I’ve only yielded a small handful of midget corns… this year, I’ve over-nitrogenated the soil, watered like crazy and kept the soil cap broken up. Seems to be working so far. 🙂

    • W7ENK says:

      Oh, I forgot to include:

      Last year, my first tomato harvest gave me 15 or so nice ripe ‘maters on August 4th.

      This year, not so much. I figure everything is about 2 to 3 weeks behind? That doesn’t leave much time to work with.

    • Battle Ground Brian says:

      Yeah Erik,

      Me and Yev both noticed that you ignored our friend requests on facebook. Thought that was odd!!

    • W7ENK says:


      Well, I didn’t [Ignore] them, the requests are still sitting there. Sorry…

      I’m kinda funny about that – I’m reluctant to ‘friend’ people I haven’t actually met in person. It’s my own silly paranoia that drives that, I guess.

      Don’t worry, I’ll fix this shortly. 🙂

  17. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Wow…12z GFS is hot hot hot! 98 Friday, 101 Saturday and 100 Sunday, 95 Monday. Shows offshore flow beginning early Friday and lasting through early Sunday.

  18. Battle Ground Brian says:

    12Z GFS has removed heat wave in the long term period and seems more reasonable than the 06Z run..Still though has 101 and 100 for the this upcoming weekend.

  19. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Raining lightly here as well Brian. Just starting to get damp. Radar shows showers for the next little bit.

  20. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Raining here right now at 925am. Wet streets

  21. muxpux says:

    us in kelso longview benefit? from the “reverse gorge effect the columbia gives us. cool marine air from the west in the summer, and mild, moist marine air in the winter.

    ughh. this leads to us getting cooler summers and warmer winters.

  22. Washington Observer says:

    This morning, it feels, looks and smells like late August here in the Washington Cascades.
    No gauges used for this observation.:-)

  23. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    My high was 65 yesterday, my lowest high temperature for the 9th…then I read this:

    Statement as of 1:38 am PDT on August 10, 2010

    … Record low temperature tied at Needles CA…

    The low temperature on August 9 was 73 degrees at Needles CA. This
    reading tied the previous record low temperature of 73 degrees which
    was set in 1999.

  24. Margaret in Fairview says:

    Yesterday was quite pleasant. NOT looking forward to the weekend heat. If I never have to turn on the AC again this summer I couldn’t be happier. Let’s move on to autumn!

  25. Battle Ground Brian says:

    06Z GFS Run for KTTD – Are you kidding me?

    Showing 9 days in the 90’s now with a 16-day average of 89.4 degrees. Seems very unlikely to me!!

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      You failed to mention that six of these nine days are in the long-long range, and that 06Z shows us getting a believable 3-day heat event in the believable range. Nearly gave me a heart attack.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I wish the heat wasn’t over the weekend. Outdoor activities in 95+ heat is simply no fun.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I know. I honestly don’t know what people’s problems are. Rooting for 95+ degree temps is like rooting for acid rain IMO. Completely undesireable.

  26. Jethro says:

    Yeah, I’ve been to the coast this summer — like this past weekend. Went tent-camping at Ft. Stevens with a group of friends — most of whom had trailers with nice big awnings… and they sure weren’t blocking out the suns rays with those awnings!

    At least I checked the forecast and knew what I was in for… but it still would have been nice to be pleasantly surprised by something other mist or rain. Of course it was the GFS that I checked, so I packed my parka, my rain gear and my speedo! 😉

  27. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Happy birhday to Steph! (already mentioned on facebook but why not on a weather blog?)
    Looks like a nice heatwave can develop, kind of crazy to see the models agree for once on something!

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      And to do it inside of the 7-day range after advertising mild weather (mid-low 80’s).

  28. Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

    It would be so nice if we could salvage one 100+ day out of this summer. Especially if it were on a weekend.

  29. chris s says:

    Well just to chime my 2 cents in i just wonder if this could be it for heat this year. Seems as though it took us a little over a month to get these upcoming 3 day mid to upper 90s from the last time in july. If we get right back into the pattern we have been in after this weekend i have a feeling it might last for another couple weeks which takes us into september at which point it becomes harder to get heat waves although i realize we can get mid and upper 90s in september and have many times but i think this year it just wont be in the cards. i still think we see 2 or 3 90 to maybe 92 degree days in september but cant really call that a heat wave.:-)

  30. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    7.5mag earthquake VANUATU.

  31. W7ENK says:

    Hmm… Death Ridge? I would think a “Death Ridge” might involve at the very least 100+ for a week straight. Otherwise, I’d just call it a run of the mill heat wave. 😕

    Maybe not?

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      No, this just is like what Moscow just saw!!1

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      As usual we can split hairs. To me 95+ is cooking hot death ridge time for us here in the northwest when it carries on for 3+ days.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Since our benign weather is seldom out of the range of boring, a “death ridge” would probably be defined as 90 to 100 deg highs for four or five days. Most other parts of the country would simply laugh!
      After all, we live in the temperate NW so any meager extreme is something to talk about. Kinda like last winter when we went into a “death fog” for several days. Grasping for some kind of extreme.

    • Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

      Ok so just your typical heat wave no big deal then.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I thought my low of 3 last winter was pretty extreme, boydo.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      But on a side note, back in the 1930’s there was a prolonged drought that enabled the Coast Range forests to dry out to such an extreme that several big fires burned thousands of acres over several years. We haven’t seen that since. The Tillamook Burn. Not quite the Russian fires though.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Yeah Jesse, last winter we got away with a nice freeze in spite of El Nino.
      I wonder if the La Nina this winter will kick up some good stuff!? Maybe a “Death Freeze”! Or “Death Low”? How we long for some “real weather” in this great PNW!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Its not just something to talk about. The elderly and people with various health conditions need to take note of this kind of heat. Check on friends and neighbors if it comes to pass.

    • …mystery points time…
      “…..i’ll see you burn”….
      artist and song name, helps if you were listening to the radio in the late 60’s….

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      I was listening, but don’t remember what the group was. “Fire….I’ll see you burn…”

    • Mike (Orchards 255') says:

      Are you thinking of Arthur Brown? He had a hit single “Fire” in 1968 I think…


    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      That was it Mike. Arthur Brown-Fire, “you gonna burn, burn, burn.”

    • ***ding ding ding, we have winners****
      the full name was actually “the crazy world of Arthur Brown”…..

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      The band was called The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which released the song “Fire” on their debut album which was also called The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

  32. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    Ok so a lot of you are calling this a death ridge that might be coming..But I mean how hot would it actually get???? Is it because we would see more of a duration of heat like 100s for a few weeks like what Russia has been experiencing.. I thought last years heat wave was a death ridge..

    • Jesse-Orchards says:


    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I think the “death ridge” discussion is a bit out of control. It’s a bit of a tongue in cheek reference to a large ridge that sits over us for a few days. That’s the usual 3-5 day string of 90+ days. But we’ve never had a huge upper-level ridge sit in one place over us for weeks at a time. Even a slight movement allows the ocean air to come inland and we get cooling. There is not time in Portland’s history where we’ve seen weeks of 90+ temperatures for that reason.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Mark, I agree. As per my comments above. Death Ridge. It’s just a fun way of saying “yuck, it’s too hot”! We just live in a climate that rarely gets the good stuff. And when we do, it doesn’t last very long.

  33. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Geez… Talk about out of no where heat. I guess I’m getting an early start for my hike this Saturday!

  34. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Wow, Mark updated his 7-day again from earlier this evening. He is calling for three 95+ days in a row now.

  35. Battle Ground Brian says:

    August 9, 2010 Oregon Weather Extremes:

    High: 92 at Central Point, O’Brien, Alkali Flat & Owyhee Lake

    Low: 66 at Blalock

    High: 55 at Cedar & North Fork

    Low: 36 at Mazama

    Largest Diurnal Temperature Change:

    43 degree change at Ukiah (82/39) & Cabin Lake (82/39)

  36. Battle Ground Brian says:

    One thing I would like to mention about the colder than normal ocean currents.

    It generally makes our summers even drier than they already are despite mild/cool air temps.

  37. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Really chilling out fast, already upper 50’s.

  38. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Need to reach warmer ocean currents for tuna fishing, I’ll bet the cooler ocean temps have hurt some fishing opportunities. I love to fish, hey Rob, catch any brown trout, or rainbow, or anything?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Fishing was extremely slow likely because we’re into August and most of the Fish retreat to deeper waters much earlier in the day as compared to May, June, and early July. We did see one guy in a boat catch a nice 22″ Rainbow. It looks to be too hot to fish Monday, so we’ll go to either Lost Lake or Clear Lake(Assuming the Lake isn’t drawn down too much) the following Monday.

  39. Derek Hodges says:

    So 00z GFS and NAM both show the 500mb energy vortmax moving overhead tomorrow evening with ENE flow aloft but I still don’t expect much. Maybe a rumble of thunder or something.

  40. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Larry, you’re alive! Just hibernating whilst waiting for some funky weather?
    I’m glad Mark brought up the cold Pacific temps. The salmon fishing has been lousy off shore for just that reason. We were at Newport Sunday doing a bit o fishin and the water temp was 48 F. That’s cold! The on shore currents are really cold for this time of year. Hopefully things will moderate, but I think we are in a cycle of some sort.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      I thought salmon liked cold water, but I suppose they could go off the bite if it gets too cold?

  41. chiefWright says:

    The last couple of days have been such a confirmation of E.P. Box’s quote:

    All models are wrong.
    But some are useful.

    It’s all in knowing when to trust the durned things!

    Mark, I can hardly wait for tonight’s 7 day.

  42. Sifton says:

    Alright!! Somebody in this town had to break the news about the hot weather comin!!!

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