The Driest 3 Months in Portland’s History

It’s been dry, but did you know it’s been THIS dry? 

The 3 month total rainfall, 0.25″ at PDX from July to September, is the driest 3 month period in all of Portland’s history! 

It was the combination of no rain in August, almost no rain this month, and a drier than normal July.  In all other years, we had one or two dry months, but never three.  The next closest was June-August 1951.  That year we had 0.35″.

No sign of rain yet, although some models are hinting at a cold trough later next week that could finally bring us showers.

We are not in drought conditions since typically this is the driest time of year anyway, plus we had tons of Spring rainfall.  Remember June?  4″ rain here in Portland.  That said, our smaller shrubs and trees are probably very stressed since they need at least SOME rain later in the summer.  So keep watering!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


29 Responses to The Driest 3 Months in Portland’s History

  1. paulbeugene says:

    Agree that this may be good offshore event but this won’t be a classic Crown Point event as there is not a shallow slab of cold air under warm temps aloft.
    Looking at GFS and ECMWF, not much indication for precip for next 10-14 days.
    With hardly any low level moisture to work with, low clouds and fog have not been much of an issue.
    Imagine another Columbus Day storm arriving in three weeks with south winds heralded by a haboob

  2. BIG east winds next week? Could be. I just looked at both 6z/12z GFS. First, here is an image off the 6z Extracted. I have been tracking east wind events for many years and I can safely say I have never seen Surface/850mb East Wind values this high. Even when Crown Point gusts over 100mph you never see 850mb values nearly this high.

    Next I just looked at today’s 12z WRF and it confirms a significant cross-cascade gradient.
    11:00 AM Wednesday

    What’s going on? A strong, cold Canadian high is set to move south into Montana. This coupled with a thermal trough is a good recipe for very strong offshore flow. I think 4km Cross Section model would depict 50+kt wind barbs. If future runs continue showing this we might want to keep on eye on this.

    • Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280 says:

      Interesting Rob,

      It’s getting to that time of year for East Wind events.

    • W7ENK says:

      Sounds like less of a gap wind and more of a downslope wind event. Even at that, damaging East winds could become fairly widespread, especially along the Cascade foothills. Crown Point in the Gorge may not end up being all that spectacular though.

  3. David B. says:

    Showers this morning in Seattle, despite no rain chance in any forecast until this evening.

  4. bgb41 says:

    As of 7am the low temperature was 61 degrees this morning Portland Airport.
    The current record warm low for today’s date was 60 set in 1994.

    • W7ENK says:

      I noticed that this morning, when I was leaving the house for work it was still 60 degrees and I thought, “that’s weird for almost-October.”

      It was too warm for my jacket on my ride in, even down along the river.

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      I was wondering if we hit some kind of record when I saw the temperature this morning. That answers that. Let’s break some good records now- cold, rain, wind, snow!

    • Sifton says:

      Wait your turn Joshua!

  5. bgb41 says:

    9/27/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:95 at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft) & ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft)
    Low: 66 at BALD KNOB(3630 ft)

    High:55 at NERRS MET SITE A(10 ft) & BROOKINGS(79 ft)
    Low: 26 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 56 degrees
    KLAMATH NWR (83/27 ) (4531 ft )

  6. *BoringOregon* says:

    Boring Weather. Still have to build my fpv plane so I can fly it. Haha Heard mark say something about contrails nice one mark!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I was hoping to inspire a conspiratorial chemtrails email…didn’t get one. The weather is so boring that even those people didn’t care.

    • W7ENK says:

      Is there a video clip you could slip me, Mark? I could go over to one of those whack-job forums like Godlike Productions and post it with the headline “Portland Area Meteorologist Acknowledges Existence of Chemtrails ON THE AIR!!!”, with a link to your e-mail. That ought’a stir up some crazy for ya! You’d spend until Christmas putting that fire out… 😆

      For a few good laughs:
      Interesting social cross-section, that’s for sure!

  7. 0.31″ here since July 1st.

  8. Today is the 94th consecutive day with no measurable precip at The Dalles Municipal Airport. The all-time record is 102 days – so we need another 9 dry days (tomorrow through October 6) to set a new record.

  9. gidrons says:

    Does “driest 3 months ever” mean driest 3 months recorded at PDX?

  10. Mr Data says:

    Studies have shown that when the earth was really warm the Sahara Desert became grasslands complete with antelope and giraffes grazing in the grass and no I do not mean that song either.

  11. Mr Data says:

    Somebody named *Weather* who is an environmental physics made some very interesting posts about ocean heating and it has gone thru the roof since the 90s/2000s making the CO2 increase look like a joke.

    He made the statement we are like a boiling pot where if you even lower the flames the pot will continue to boil regardless until the flames stop completely which is the oceans giving off heat altering wind patterns/jet stream configurations.

    That is exactly what we are seeing coupled with the north pole moving southwards by 40 miles where some airports are realigning their runways to keep up the pace.
    The southern plains are hit the hardest as they are slowly burning away in extreme heat/drought.

    Somebody who also is a physics was on Art Bell back in 2005 mentioned there will be more extreme fluctuations of weather patterns and those in between will have a lot more air stagnant problems which we are now seeing in full force.

    Global Warming is happening but it’s NOT man made idiots.

    We are part of a cycle of ocean heating and cooling which we are in the former like a giant boiling pot that’s being stirred like crazy.

    • David B. says:

      The pole that moves around is the magnetic north pole, not the geographic one. It’s been doing so for millions of years (we know this because it leaves magnetic patterns in volcanic rocks as they solidify from lava). Airports don’t move their runways in responses to changes in magnetic bearings; they merely renumber them (runway numbers are the magnetic bearing divided by 10).

      Unlike changes in CO2 concentration (which ARE being affected by human activity), changes in the geomagnetic poles have never been shown to have any effect on climate.

    • W7ENK says:

      “… a cycle of ocean heating…” “…like a giant boiling pot that’s being stirred like crazy.”

      Yes, and if you stand atop Ne-Ekahni (Neahkahnie) Mountain and look west out over the Pacific, on a really clear day you can actually see the massive wooden spoon swirling about in the water, its handle sticking high up into the sky, held by the Hand of God!!


    • John Campbell says:

      Mr Data, you must be an english.

    • Nice to see the Sea Ice rebounding now.

  12. W7ENK says:

    It’s been incredibly dry! My last significant daily rainfall was 0.06″ from those thunderstorms back on 7/19. Today marks 70 days — I’ve only had 0.05″ total for the whole of that 70 day period since!

  13. IceCold says:

    Bring on the snow!!

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