A Record Long Growing Season; At Least in One Spot

Have you noticed what is missing this October?  Frost!  Not here in the metro area, but elsewhere.  Only the higher parts of Central and Eastern Oregon have seen frost so far.  It hasn’t even been close west of the Cascades.  Considering we have lots more above average nights in our 7 Day Forecast, that means many areas that should have had a frost by now are seeing an unusually long growing season this year.

Tim Dearden from Trout Lake WA (north of Hood River) says there has still been no frost since April 28th at that ~2,000′ location.  He looked up the records and found that Trout Lake Ranger Station is already 15+ days ahead of its longest growing season ever!  He too noticed that nights have been much warmer than normal during the summer and early fall.  If you’ve ever been to Trout Lake, troutlake it should be obvious to you that there is no urban heat island in that location!

Tim took the numbers and plotted out the growing season length over the past 90 years.


Isn’t that interesting?  It appears the growing season IN THAT LOCATION is averaging 2-4 weeks longer than 100 years ago. I don’t have the time to research it, but I’m wondering if it’s mainly the fall dates that are changing the past 30 years at least and not the spring dates.  I was thinking it might be related to summer warmth that seems to be spreading into early fall more often.

I’d love to see how the numbers look for a few other rural locations, like maybe Corvallis, Aurora, or Hillsboro (still mainly rural at airport).  Someone get to work on some spreadsheets!

47 Responses to A Record Long Growing Season; At Least in One Spot

  1. dharmabum says:

    Autumn Preparations for Winter

    As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees “know” to begin getting ready for winter.

    During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves.

    As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.

    The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color.

    The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves.

    It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful fall foliage colors we enjoy each year.

    From: http://www.sciencemadesimple.com

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    My first frost in the foothills at 1500′ is usually last week in September. Our tomatoes are still growing like gangbusters. Not complaining about that at all but I hope a major weather switch is thrown to a cold moist NW flow out of the gulf of Alaska. Very ready for snow and cold. We better not be harvesting tomatoes in November!

  3. Hal in Aims says:

    spectacular sunrise…………..

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    75 this afternoon in Salem under mostly sunny skies. Looked kind of cloudy up towards Portland. Should be about the same for Salem tomorrow. This is likely to be our warmest October since records started being kept in Salem in 1892. It has been way above normal since March. It is looking more and more likely that we are in for a very warm Winter. What I wonder is is this a one time deal or or is this a long term trend. Up until 1990 our average first frost in Salem was October 12th. This year our low for October has been 43 so far with another warm overnight week ahead. Here we are only 12 days from November and most of the leaves are still green. Peace.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Just because we had a record warm summer and October doesn’t have anything to do with how this winter will be. Just saying that doesn’t show any credibility from you. Look at the heat waves we had in summer of ’08 and then look at what happened that December. Granted the following January was warm but overall winter was average. There had been no correlation to warm or cold summers thus far in history to prove what the following winter will be. We are looming at a weak el Nino this winter which we all know means warmer and drier in general but that’s not always the case. I believe ’98 was an el Nino too and that was a great winter for cold and snow. Oh, and ’85 too I believe.

      If I recall in ’08 there wasn’t any snow up on the mountain til second week of December and then it was a great winter overall after that. And for the winter of ’03-’04 it was warm all the way through Halloween then Nov 1st Portland had mixed snow and rain and overnight a cold front came through and we had several bouts of east wind freezing rain, sleet, and snow events through about Xmas and then had almost a two week bout of cold and snow through the first week of the new year. Then went mild for awhile. So all in all anything can and will happen which has nothing to do with the prior summer in my opinion. As far as I’m concerned I like the outlook of this winter, a big high in the eastern pacific that has been there for several months off and on can only be good for the northwest in terms of arctic fronts dropping down from the north as we have mostly been on the eastern side of them. Warm water off our coasts promote high pressure out there and all we need in the dead of winter is a little retrograde action and we can be in business. Have a goodnight. I’ve said my peace.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      WeatherDan, I think we are truly in uncharted territories with the warmest July through possibly October. It will be really interesting to see if we have another analog winter that follows winter/summers’ like the ones we’ve just witnessed. I am thinking 1980/81 is pretty close IMO. (Warm October. Mostly average rain Oct-Jan. One cold spell in Dec, but several days in the 60’s as well, warm Jan. no snow though.) http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPDX/1980/10/1/MonthlyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA
      It does seem that the nights are really warming the last 12 years especially! I would love to see a chart for you guys down there, to see what the last 40 or 50 years of night time lows looks like in comparison to a chart of lows for PDX.

      Matt, I will be interested too to see what happens this winter. Maybe Mark will make a “WHAT WILL WINTER BE LIKE” blog, and we can all chime in. Sorry to hear you won’t be able to make the OMSI meeting, but hopefully there will be a video made. I can’t wait to see what the predictors will say, and to congratulate Steve P’s new job promotion!

    • runrain says:

      The weather in Salem is always better than in Portland. ALWAYS!

    • dharmabum says:

      Maybe do a little work on your grammar before judging and criticizing others on this blog, lighten up HDM!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Tyler, will you be there making a video this year?

    • josh "the snowman" from everett, wa says:

      Dan: I’d probably want it warm too if I was taking young boys camping all the time.
      Dharma: shouldn’t you be off looking for. Greg? Sorry your show ended.

      Leave hdm alone. He went to Oregon public schools, it isn’t his fault.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      In 1985 we had a cool and wet September. Then in early October of 1985 Salem dropped to 25 degrees. By this time that month most days the highs only reached the 50,s. October of 1998 was even colder and wetter with 3 days towards the last few days of the month only reaching the upper 40,s and snow down below 2,000 feet. By contrast Octobers in 1986 and 1991 were very warm and so was the Winter. That and the fact that the NWS and the CPC along with other professional meteorological groups are all calling for above normal for the Pacific Northwest this Winter leads me to believe that it will be a warm Winter this year. Of course the weather could buck the odds and turn out to be cold. But those who try to buck the odds in Vegas usually leave poorer then when they came. Peace.

  5. schmit44 says:

    10/18/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:80 at CW5302 Roseburg( 410 ft) & DW1439 Eugene(810 ft) & Eugene – Willame(460 ft) & WILLOW CREEK(456 ft) & Pendleton /McKay(1100 ft)
    Low: 61 at EW3367 Coos Bay(98 ft) & North Bend Munic(16 ft) & W7KKE-3 Road’s E(89 ft) & PACCTY-2 Pacific(28 ft)

    High:45 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft)
    Low: 27 at DANNER (4225 ft ) & KIRK (4519 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 43 degrees
    DANNER (70/27 ) (4225 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.89″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    0.61″ at MEARES Cape Mear(1421ft)
    0.56″ at TILLAMOOK(11ft)

  6. Garron near Washington Square says:

    I must admit I was a little worried that I’d made a mistake wearing shorts this afternoon as the clouds began to look pretty ominous! It must’ve been the sun angle. I was up near Washington square, and I’d swear people were up there shopping like it was December 18th! Crazy busy already. Oh well, guess I’ll say what Steve P. has to say about the upcoming week…Sorry, but Mark’s not on on the weekend, no slight to KPTV, just VERY curious I must admit! PS, I’m sure Mark’s watching, and having a good laugh…No slight to DR. Steve…lol

  7. Pdxreinvest@aol.com says:

    Hey guys. Have the days been staying longer than they were 10 years ago? Trees change color due to the change in the daylight in preparation for winter. The temperatures are not what dictates the change in color.

    • Mike P says:

      True, except for red. The reds are susceptible to the temps and cloud cover.

    • dharmabum says:

      You bet the temperatures play a big part in the changes in leaf color, don’t kid yourself, colder frosty nights bring on the fall colors and rain brings on the brown.

  8. schmit44 says:

    10/17/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:73 at PILOT ROCK 11E R(1920 ft)
    Low: 59 at BROOKINGS(79 ft) & EW1135 Yachats1(32 ft) & Newport Municipa(161 ft)

    High:39 at Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 23 at NPOWDR (3212 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 41 degrees
    CW9027 Ukiah (70/29 ) (3415 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.70″ at TILLAMOOK(11ft)
    1.57″ at Tillamook Airpor(36ft)
    1.42″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    1.15″ at WEST FORK SATSOP(300ft)
    1.10″ at SOUTH FORK(2257ft)
    1.10″ at TIDEWATER(2035ft)
    0.97″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    0.92″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)

  9. Oh by the way…If I was doing the 7-day graphic I wouldn’t say “WET AND COOL” for next week since highs in the low 60s are very seasonable for late October – while the nighttime temps will be downright balmy. I don’t understand Mark’s reasoning on that whole COOL caption I’m afraid…

    • Joshua says:

      True. By mid next week, the average high is 60.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Probably should say COOLER, yes.

    • WX NINJA says:

      I’d have to think for the average viewer they will perceive the upcoming week just as it says on the 7 day, wet and cool. It has been a warm and dry start to fall and the average viewer is used to that type of weather so I understand why he put that on there. Also, the typical viewer has no idea what the average temp is this time of year, they are just happy it hasn’t rained that much.

    • At what point do we start using “Cold”? A very windy and rainy 60 deg day in this region can feel pretty darn cold to me.

      I remember Mark got so used to the blistering heat this past summer that he was calling 90 deg days “Warm”.

      I’m still trying to get used to the weather up here and it’s funny how different my take is when I hear this stuff.

  10. Where are all the fall colors?!? It’s the 3rd week of October, dammit!!! 😛

  11. WEATHERDAN says:

    Growing season stands so far at 208 days in Salem. Our last frost was 32 on March 23rd. Our last freeze was 28 on February 23. That’s 236 days. Our overnight average in Salem so far in October is 49.8. About what July used to be around 1970. Peace.

  12. gidrons says:

    Live web cam on Bermuda for Hurricane Gonzalo

  13. dharmabum says:

    This fall seems to me to be the warmest in recent memory here on the farm near Barton Park. Been here 35 years so maybe not the warmest in that span, but close. Last year we had several freezing nights already with one on the 16th of October.

  14. Fred482 says:


    I have a friend who farms large acreage in the Trout Lake area. I’m sure he’s loving it, with respect to crop harvest.

    He said some winters are brutal, to the point of building storage buildings with double insulated walls, high concrete foundation walls, piling loose fill in front of the doors, etc.

    They ship product, mostly potatoes, all year. To gain access in winter, they use loaders to remove snow & ice, digging out the access doors to load trucks.

    he said they haven’t done that recently, snow depth has been sparse.

  15. All I can measure this by is 20 years of vegetable gardening along Skyline Blvd at 1100′ . . . .and say…. we were canning tomatoes into the 2nd week of October, with MORE produce out of that garden this year by FAR than any year I’ve ever gardened here. ALL produce out of the garden exceeded any expectation…. and there are STILL herbs like celery, thyme, oregano, sage, shallots out there awaiting use….. I know, this isn’t from a “weather” scientist, but because of our location we read your blog and watch your weather reports every day…..so DID tune into this post, for sure. Our trees STILL have MOSTLY green leaves……

  16. High Desert Mat says:

    Grrrr, didn’t get the time off work for the weather meeting on the 25th. Really sucks. Was looking forward to all of the great forecasts from the experts and of course Marks recap of last winter.

    Oh and course winning another top prize there lol.

  17. schmit44 says:

    10/16/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:74 at CW5302 Roseburg( 410 ft)
    Low: 56 at DW1265 Newport(164 ft) & Port Orford(0 ft)

    High:40 at CW7477 Lostine(7002 ft) & Timberline Lodge(7001 ft) & MT. HOWARD(7910 ft)
    Low: 24 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft ) & Baker City Munic (3373 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 36 degrees
    Baker City Munic (60/24 ) (3373 ft )

  18. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Good challenge for the current State Climatologist. George Taylor (the exiled climatologist) would have provided that info in a heart beat.

  19. I think that the upcoming pattern for 6-10 days out, with ridging slightly to our EAST, is actually better for warm temp departures in the last week of October – than would be a big “death ridge” which by then ought to run into an inversion problem in the lowlands, with haze and muck and cool-ish temps. At least for The Dalles that is – Portland might be held down by more clouds and rain.

    What do you think, Mark?!?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      That pattern would sure tend to keep most inversions at bay, especially since they wouldn’t be hard to keep away this early in the “inversion-season”. High temps may be held down with wet weather systems close by, but low temps will be very warm…lots of 50s.

    • I would assume the same “inversion rules” would apply at the exact same sun angle on the “spring side” of the year…in this case, around February 15-20? Maybe I should look at the really warm temps in that timeframe and see what kind of upper-level pattern’s responsible too…

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I bet it’s a mix of southerly flow ahead of fronts and offshore flow most of those times in February.

  20. W7ENK says:

    It’s been rather warm at night…

%d bloggers like this: