Record Warm Temps: Cascades and (maybe) Coast This Weekend

Models have been advertising an incredibly warm airmass (for January) for this weekend and early next week over the Pacific Northwest.  It’s a strong upper-level ridge building right over the top of us.  This is what I expect at the Coast and in the Cascades for the weekend:



Hard to believe isn’t it?

The ECMWF model is forecasting 850mb temps (around 5,000′ elevation) around +17 to +18 deg C over the northern Willamette Valley Sunday afternoon/evening.  The warmest ever recorded was during the big Gorge windstorm around January 18, 2009.  During that mega-inversion, the temperature reached the January record +18.8 degrees over Salem during the balloon sounding.  That day the temperature was around 70 degrees at 3,000′ (the free-air atmosphere temp!) while temps were in the 30s/40s at the surface in the valley.  By the way, a +18 May-August would give us a high temp near 90 in Portland!  So you can see what effect the long nights, weak winter sun, and cold land has on that.

Forecasting high temps at the Coast and above 1,500′ is somewhat easy in this pattern.  The REALLY tough forecast is in the lowest elevations.  We have pretty much no wind movement in our area through Monday.  The east wind has died to just about nothing this evening and we only get a light southerly drift up the valley the next 12 hours, then it goes calm.

I’m forecasting 58, 53, & 50 for high temps the next 3 days at PDX.  Why would temps make a big jump tomorrow and then a big drop even when it’s warming dramatically above?   My theory is that the mid-level clouds over us tonight will hold through the night.  All models show much of the cloud cover shifting north during the day tomorrow for partly cloudy conditions.  I think the increased sunshine plus the light southerly drift should allow us to rise well into the 50s.

The issue comes tomorrow night.  I’m assuming skies are mainly clear Saturday night.  We have a very moist airmass, no wind, and dewpoints near 50 degrees.  That says widespread fog overnight and into Sunday morning.  With no wind to bring in drier air to clear us out, plus incredibly warm temps above putting a “lid” on the cool air, I think it’s likely we’re stuck in low clouds and/or fog much of Sunday.  Probably Monday and maybe Tuesday as well.  If this actually occurs, we’ll probably be even cooler than my high temp forecast.

The warmest January temp on record at Government Camp is 65.  We’ll be close on Sunday.  In 1968 when we hit that temperature it was 15.3 degrees over Salem on the sounding.

The screaming message here is:  IF YOU WANT SUNSHINE AND WARM TEMPS SUNDAY & MONDAY, HEAD ABOVE 1,000-1,500′

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

64 Responses to Record Warm Temps: Cascades and (maybe) Coast This Weekend

  1. W7ENK says:

    What a fantastic weekend we just had!

    • alohabb says:

      No Doubt! Car’s going back to Schwabbies and taking off the studded tires….dont think I’ll need them this year!

    • GTS1K' says:

      I was in Manzanita Sat. and Sun. – awesome! More people down there than in the middle of summer.

  2. Eugene Dave says:

    Where’s the Schmit update from 1/25? I’m curious to know what the highest temp in the state was yesterday.

    • GTS1K' says:

      Me too – I’m on pins and needles…

    • Brian Schmit says:

      1/25/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

      High:81 at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543 ft) & EMIGRANT(3840 ft)
      Low: 60 at GOODWIN PEAK(1800 ft) & CANNIBAL MOUNTAI(1939 ft)

      High:35 at HEREFORD(3599 ft) & UNITY DAM AND BU(3757 ft) & CW3808 Enterpris(3927 ft) & KB7DZR Joseph(3984 ft)
      Low: 18 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

      Largest Diurnal Change: 44 degrees
      Horse Ridge (US (72/28 ) (4160 ft )

  3. Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

    You want winter…..??

  4. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Tonight overlooking Battle Ground. The fog is not even as deep as the cell phone towers! The moon and stars above are beautiful!

    45 degrees up this little hill (600′) vs. 40 down here at 300′.

    • Brian says:

      That is an amazing pic!

    • alohabb says:

      would love to know what camera settings your using, cause your pics are more and more awesome each time you post.I just got a Nikon D330 and cant wait to to go out and use it

  5. Adam in SE says:

    I spent the day at the beach in Pacific City (along with hundreds of other people!), and my backpack thermometer said 69°F all afternoon.

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    Dharumbum you remark in Marks previou post is why I’m posting. Why are you so grouchy and rude. The blog is for posting your weather thoughts. You can read or pass. I’m a skier and snowboarder who has enjoyed it since I was a young kid. Winter sports are the only ones solely dependent of weather. Without snow… well there’s nothing we can do. I’m just stating MY opinion that 2 back to back winters are taking their toll. Last February did revive the season so I’m praying another will happen. I think you should keep you smart no good remarks to yourself about telling people what to do when they state their opinion. In fact, I did fix a pump on Saturday… All day on the nicest January Saturday you could ever imagine. I’d much rather be enjoying it with my family but people need water. Your the reason I can care less about wasting my time on this blog any more! So I enjoy winter more than summer and post about bad mtn conditions. I don’t post in summer cuz there’s nothing to post about. Enjoy the blog, what a WASTE of TIME!!! I’m done, sorry Mark I enjoy your weather knowledge but some people don’t have a clue and ruin it for the others.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Oh Jason don’t go anywhere, let dharma be dharma. Karma will get dharma and I for one enjoy your posts and don’t enjoy his so ignore and move on. Here’s to hoping February turns this winter around and we all don’t have to wait for next winter for that to happen.

    • GTS1K' says:

      Don’t feed the trolls…..

  7. runrain says:

    Simply spectacular in Portland this weekend. The New Years Resolutioners we’re out in force on the Springwater Trail Saturday. Runners, bikers, walkers, birdwatching groups, and rowers we’re out in huge numbers. If there could always be a day in January like this, I wouldn’t have to go to Arizona every December! Instead, I get snowed on in Phoenix! Here in Portland, nothing but blue sky’s and a big, fat fork floating overhead looking to be stuck in something – ha ha!

  8. David B. says:

    Hiked up Mount Walker on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula today. The boundary of the inversion was quite noticeable (particularly when heading down; suddenly it was chilly). Low 60s on top, great views of the Cascade volcanoes from Adams in the south to Baker in the north.

    At 5:30 when I got home, it was 48 degrees, cooler than it all the past night.

  9. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    In dense fog all day long. Don’t think visibility was ever more than 1/2 mile.

  10. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    Not a cloud in the sky!

  11. WEATHERDAN says:

    50 and mostly cloudy at 2:15 PM. In years past a strong inversion such as this would have highs at 35-45 in the mid and Southern valley in January. Now it seems to be 48-58. One of the reasons seems to be that it just isn’t cooling off as much at night anymore. So if you like the warmer conditions then you seem to be in luck. 55 and cloudy but dry in January is okay by me. No sign of cold going out to February 10th. Any chances for sticking snow at valley floor after mid February is less than 5%. So is Winter 2015 over? Almost, it never really got started. Bring out the baseballs and the the grilling pits because Spring is almost here. There goes another sunbreak. Peace.

    • chris s says:

      The reason this go around for the warmer temps is that we started with a much warmer airmass going into this setup, otherwise we would be down in the 30’s. Id say its still pretty impressive to have a nearly 30 degree temp spread in the matter of 1500 ft of elevation. And as i live in Salem as well i need not remind you that we got hit pretty good with snow in march of 2012 several times, and late february can easily see snowfall, winter isnt done, this pattern will break eventually in the coming weeks. As for baseball, yes i am very ready for that!!!

  12. Brian Leroy says:

    80 degrees at Calm Mt, WA elevation 1830ft, insane.

  13. Hal in Aims says:

    topped out yesterday at 60 after starting with drizzle and low clouds until about noon……..beautiful sunrise this morning with only a hint of shallow fog in the low spots……currently 58 and beautiful……upper 60’s today?

  14. Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

    59 deg. at the top of Hoodoo at 10 AM. Crazy!

  15. Beautiful morning right now. The sun is extraordinary.

  16. Brian Schmit says:

    1/24/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:74 at RED MOUND(1753 ft)
    Low: 55 at RED MOUND(1753 ft) & QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183 ft)

    High:35 at DW9628 Richland(4046 ft) & SCHNEIDER MEADOW(5400 ft) & MORGAN MOUNTAIN(4200 ft)
    Low: 17 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 38 degrees
    COFFEE POT FLAT (64/26 ) (5206 ft )
    CHRISTMAS VALLEY (62/24) (4360 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.81″ at N7HAE Knappa(105ft)
    0.51″ at AA7OA Astoria(240ft)
    0.50″ at NORTH FORK(3120ft)
    0.46″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    0.42″ at Astoria Regional(10ft)

  17. Sapo says:

    The weather today was just great. Super warm, hit 65 here, and very sunny. Went out and played tennis, it was great! Amazing to think that since we’re in late January, today could’ve been 25 and snowing! Phenomenal

    • Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

      We’re celebrating the first day of spring tonight, outside with a fire in the fire pit and some tasty beverages 🙂

    • I will be right over Boydo!

    • Garron near Washington square says:

      I couldn’t help but enjoy today! Hoping the inversion will break again, at least west side, tomorrow. Not holding my breath, but 65 today, and upper 50’s tomorrow, I;ll consider it a perfect January weekend.

  18. JohnD says:

    I do believe that we are most certainly in “some kind” of climatic cycle–attributable to “global warming” or simply a cyclic event. I will say, however, that while we in the Pacific NW are in a quandary about our anomalously mild weather, places in the Eastern US are wondering what we are talking about amid their own very “normal”–or harsher than normal–current and recent seasons.

  19. dharmabum says:

    Janurary 2005 we had a 70 degree high temp, have not hit 70 before or after here at Barton

  20. paulbeugene says:

    66F in EUG. All time Jan high is 69 set twice in 1931

    • Eugene Dave says:

      68 was our official record high today. Sure was nice!

    • Mike says:

      Yes, I remember building a deck in January in Gladstone in T shirt weather almost for a whole week. It was about 25 years ago, just can’t remember the year but it was very nice then too.

  21. WEATHERDAN says:

    62 and mostly sunny in Salem at 1:00 PM. Last Saturday was 61 so now we have a new high for the month. If our climate is indeed warming as most reputable climatologists state that it is, then the question to be asked is how warm will our Winters be in the future. Is it possible that by mid century our climate matches that of San Francisco or Sacramento of today. If this Winter is an aberration then so be it. But if this is a sign of things to come then we are are in it deeply. If we have these snow depths nearly every Winter our population growth in the Northwest will be unsustainable. In the meantime today is a beautiful day to take a walk in the park and that is what I am about to do. Peace.

  22. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    Won’t be back on until well after sunset. But hey, could we be flirting with all time monthly high? We’re likely gonna tie or break the record of 61 today. But could we get close to 66? I don’t know. All I do know is that the 2nd highest temp in January at the airport is 62. If 66 is out of the cards, perhaps 2nd warmest temp in January is still in play.

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      And Portland capped out at 60.

      …I think I need to use a napkin to get this egg off of my face.

  23. Wow. Already 63.0 and rising here. This is incredible.

  24. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Finally the drizzle stopped here and the sun is peaking through. 56 degrees after a low of just 49.

  25. Seahawks Fan - East Vancouver says:

    Sun peaking through the clouds… 56 degrees… Beautiful!

  26. In my opinion we were due for a cruddy, mild Winter. At this point let’s just hope/pray that the Spring month turns wetter/chilly or as others have mentioned the fire season could be very bad not to mention we could see a drought/water restrictions. Maybe the massive California drought is expanding northward. Maybe not. Maybe maybe.

  27. Brian Schmit says:

    1/23/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:69 at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543 ft)
    Low: 53 at OCNSID Oceanside(22 ft)

    High:35 at DW2435 Helix(1581 ft) & DW9931 Pendleton(814 ft) & Baker Valley(3420 ft)
    Low: 16 at SCHNEIDER MEADOW (5400 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 33 degrees
    CRANE PRAIRIE (50/17 ) (5500 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.47″ at Astoria Regional(10ft)
    0.45″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    0.45″ at Mount Hood Meado(5249ft)
    0.42″ at N7HAE Knappa(105ft)
    0.37″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    0.32″ at SOUTH FORK(2257ft)

  28. Jason Hougak says:

    Let’s all give old man winter a big hand… 👎

  29. BoringOregon says:

    Is it just me or Is it getting Warm out all ready?

  30. chiefWright (Marquam) says:


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