2nd Wettest Spring In Portland…So Far

Last weekend’s thunderstorm pushed us extremely close to the wettest ever Spring here in Portland.  Meteorologists like to neatly fit the seasons into whole months, so Spring is March-April-May.  Plus in most of the Northern Hemisphere June feels quite “summery”.

Here are the stats…the 3 wettest Springs listed below:

1997: 14.50″
2012: 14.48″
2011: 14.39″

Of course “Spring” continues through Thursday at midnight (May 31st), so if we get .03″ between now and then, we could break the record…but that appears unlikely right now.

Your next thought might be similar to mine.  This Spring seems pretty darn normal doesn’t it?  We’ve had no long periods of rain (after March), and plenty of sun, plus lots of nice weekends. 

Here’s why it may not seem so bad this spring:

1.  Last Spring was far colder, with no warm spells inbetween the rainy periods.  Temps have been very close to average for both April and May this year.  Sure March was chilly, but, well, March was just cold and wet (or white) the whole month.

2. These numbers are from the Portland Airport, which happened to be at the center of the big downpour Saturday night; compare that to Salem which has seen just about average rainfall this month…or just slightly above.

3. Weekends have been real nice (up until Memorial Day’s clouds and rain)

Speaking of Saturday night’s downpour, here is a map I made plotting the ASOS observations and Portland’s Hydra network rain gauges.  You can sure see how localized the really heavy rain was.  A band from south Vancouver straight south through the middle & inner east side of Portland.  Really only a square maybe 10 miles across each way, centered on North Portland.


Here’s a radar loop showing how the cells really blew up right over the Columbia River, then died down quickly by the time they moved into the southern metro area:


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

17 Responses to 2nd Wettest Spring In Portland…So Far

  1. Kassie97222 says:

    The complaining on here is annoying. I come here to read interesting weather related news and informational comments. Not to read peoples b*tching and whining about the almost normal weather for here. MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE ALREADY!

  2. runrain says:

    For the true weather geek/junkie: go to kfor.com (Channel 4 in Oklahoma City) and download their free app 4warnme. This is live news broadcasting from their station when bad weather looms and radar the rest of the time. Great spotter video and spectacular live storm coverage from their helicopter. Last night the weather guy was going nuts when tennis ball size hail hit the studio roof, clearly audible to the viewers. Pretty cool. More storms tonite expected.

  3. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Beware the butterfly effect. Hahaah!


  4. Jbpdx says:

    Another cruddy gray cloudy day. On and on. Can’t even get to average high temps. Next week looks like more of the same. I said at the beginning of March it would be 3 horrible springs in a row. I don’t see any sign of la Niña subsiding. We’ve only had 11 days out of 90 in spring with 70 degrees or above. If you hate the sun, this is the place for you…

    • W7ENK says:

      Umm… look again? La Niña is over, we’re in the “red”, albeit barely.

      And I briefly hit 70 yesterday, and that is exactly average, so… ❓

    • Jbpdx says:

      Contrast our below average spring to Kansas City’s:

      March.   2 days below ave
                    29 days above ave

      April.      9 days below ave
                    19 days above ave

      May.       6 days below ave
                     23 days above ave

      56/90 days 70F+

    • April and May have been almost exactly average in regards to temperature. If you don’t like the spring weather here, that’s one thing, but to put this spring in the same class as last year by calling them both horrible makes me wonder what exactly you’re wanting out of our NW springs. Revisit our spring this year here: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/temp_graphs.php?p=temperature&wfo=pqr&stn=KPDX&year=2012, and then click the 2011 graphs to revisit our spring last year.

    • Chris s says:

      Ah yes, another jb post about how awful our weather is. So how many days should we have above 70deg, seeing as how avg high temps are just now getting to that mark? I know you are planning on moving to a warmer climate, but why are you here to begin with?, it’s not like its a big mystery that the valley and pdx metro area are not pheonix. 🙂

    • runrain says:

      This might be the anti-Jessie, complaining about the cold instead of warmth.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      April and May have been pretty close to normal. This spring seems real typical to me too. I’ve had plenty of outdoor time compared to the past few springs.

  5. karlbonner1982 says:

    I think the reason it didn’t feel so wet is that it was so concentrated in March, which is the wettest of the three “Spring” months anyway. And generally, with higher averages come higher standard deviations. In order to compensate for March having 4-5″ extra of precip, April and May would both have to be insanely dry. But if Apr-May have near-normal rainfall, those extra several inches of March rain drive the springtime totals way up.

    Conversely, if March is exceedingly DRY (as in 2-3″ below norms), it takes an extremely wet April and May just to break even.

  6. bgb41 says:

    5/29/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:83 at ALKALI FLAT(2495 ft)
    Low: 56 at Rye Valley(I-84(2230 ft) & Rye Valley(I-84(2230 ft)

    High:46 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft) & Timberline Lodge(6001 ft)
    Low: 27 at DW9636 La Pine (4236 ft ) & Mazama (4590 ft ) & TEPEE DRAW (4735 ft ) & BEND WATERSHED (5330 ft ) & CHEMULT PORTABLE (4907 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 45 degrees
    CABIN LAKE (73/28 ) (4560 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.09″ at DW9931 Pendleton(814ft)

  7. halverbk says:

    I could not believe your MAM rain stat. Seems like last year was so bad compared to this one. Or are we just getting used to it? Nice weekends – which we could not get a whole one last spring – have been relatively plentiful this time around.

    Thanks for the detailed breakout of Saturday’s rain. I go to the beach, and all heck breaks loose here. Was on vacation for Memorial Day 2008 and of course your favorite snowstorm a few years back. Want to know when I am leaving next???

  8. bgb41 says:

    Great post Mark… Those warm spell do alot for us psychologically in between the cool days.

  9. W7ENK says:

    Mmm hmm…

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m actually surprised that this spring has been wetter than last. It sure doesn’t seem like it, although I’m sure that thunderstorm on Saturday helped!

    • chiefWright says:

      Well, that burst on Saturday was about 8% of the total. Without it, last year would have kept its #2 spot.
      Of course it’s not summer yet….

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