Summer Wrap Up

August 31, 2010

Since today is the last day of August and September starts tomorrow, I figured it was time to do some old-fashioned number  crunching.  Looking at the June-August numbers, what a change from last year!  Remember that Summer 2009 was the warmest on record at PDX.  Well this year is the coolest since 1993, not in the top 5 coolest, but definitely on the chilly end…predominately held down by the cool and wet June.

By the way, before I get any farther, I already had a viewer email me and give the usual “summer isn’t over until late September!”.  Well, yes, the calendar says so, but generally meteorologists consider these 3 months the “summer” season.  That’s why it’s called “Meteorological Summer”. 

Okay, what are the other highlights?  Other than the well-advertised wet and chilly June; the wettest ever?  The other two months were dominated by cooler than average periods dominated by marine air and varying low cloud cover, separated by 3 hot spells.  A regular swing between hot and cool…instead of the hot, then warm that we were used to the last few summers.   Yet somehow we ended up with 11 days at/above 90 degrees here in P-Town…a few more at Salem and Eugene.

The rain is the big story tonight; what a beautiful orographic bit of action in progress.  Here at the station in North Beaverton (is there such a thing?), it’s pretty much dry, yet the eastern suburbs have been soaked by around .50″ of rain.  I’ve had about .70″ at my home near Crown Point.  Larch Mountain (WA) is up to .96″ at 10:30pm…looks like west slopes of the Cascades will end up in the 1.00-2.50″ range.  Orographic is in reference to mountains/topography.  Strong flow higher up in the atmosphere coming in from the northwest is rising over the Coast Range, dumping the rain, then rain “shadowing” the western metro area.  Then the air rises again into the Cascades, dumping another load of rain there.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen