The Historic Heat Wave Is Finally Over

July 10, 2015

9am Friday…

For the first time in over two weeks a thick layer of cool marine air has flooded the western valleys of Oregon and Washington…the big heat wave is over!

Just as weird though, it appears temperatures will be consistently cooler than normal with a few chances for showers as we head through the next two weeks.  This is at the time where that is considered most unlikely in our “weather year”.  Typically the 2nd half of July is the most dependable time of the year for sunshine and totally dry weather.  It’s as if we’re doing things out of order with July in June and now June weather coming up for the next two weeks.

Let’s recap:

  • You just endured a bizarre period of (very early) heat here in Portland.
  • The past 15 days were all above 87 degrees.
  • 12 of the 15 were above 90!
  • As mentioned in the previous posting, this is unprecedented in Portland’s history, especially so early in season.
  • We topped out at 97 in Portland and over 100 a few times at Salem/Eugene
  • Hermiston just wrapped up 13 consecutive days at/above 100 degrees!  A gusty west wind is blowing there this morning, so cooling is arriving for you folks.  Note today’s high on the graphic is only as of 9am.


By the way, the June numbers are out from NCDC.  No surprise, the warmest June we’ve ever seen in our area.  The record warmest in a large part of the West (deep red color)


Take a look at the time series of just the lower elevations of Western Oregon; each June for the past 100 years or so.


Amazing that not only is it the warmest on record, but it totally blew away any previous warm Junes.  Looking at this I think it’s fair to say that it’ll likely be a long time before we see a June like that again!  Too bad for my garden, but better for those of you without air conditioning.

Knowing that it’s unlikely we’d see such a warm period again this summer to warm the mountain lakes, the family and I just camped two nights in the Cascades.

First, the bad news.  Clear Lake (the one near Timothy Lake) is drying up quickly.  It’s used for irrigation in the Maupin/Tygh Valley area and it’s headed down quickly.  The water was freakishly warm…my above-ground pool was 80 degrees when I left Tuesday and the lake was at least that warm.  But my kids could also walk most of the way across.  Here’s a pic from the dam:


Now the good news…we then spent one night at Lost Lake (near Mt. Hood).  Wow…it was incredible.  Of course it was full since it’s not a reservoir, crystal clear, deep blue color, and the water was in the 75-78 degree range at least 2-3 feet down.  That was a fun two days of water play with the kids!  The only thing I don’t like about Lost Lake is the campsites are so far from the lake (most of them).  I remember when I was a kid they were closer.

The marine layer is about 4,000′ thick today, so even the mountains have cooled off.  Enjoy the June-ly weather over the next week.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen