The Historic Heat Wave Is Finally Over

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

108 Responses to The Historic Heat Wave Is Finally Over

  1. Kyle says:

    It’s all right to hide our heads in the sands and pretend the west isn’t warming up! Let’s go hide in our Xbox and Play Station instead until humanity is faced with dire consequences!

  2. WEATHERDAN says:

    81 and sunny at 2:00 PM. Got down to 54 this morning. Should hit about 86 today. Looks like a hot weekend in store for us. As for those who say we can’t have two historic heatwaves in one Summer, well that may not be so. Part of climate change is having more extreme weather. Remember the winter of 2013-2014 when we had had two historic Arctic outbreaks. I’m not saying that we will have one, only that it wouldn’t surprise me. We are seeing more extreme weather here these last few years and are likely to see even more. The more we think we understand our global climate the less we really seem to know. It is after all only mid July and we have 2 additional months to have a lot more heat. And I think we will have a good deal of it. This Summer reminds me of 1967 with an earlier start to the real heat. Peace.

    • Bill Owen says:

      Hey WeatherDan, its nice to hear someone else speaking honestly about climate change. If 7 billion people are doing a few things to slow down climate change, that will be more effective than a few people doing a lot of things.

      Reduce your carbon footprint in everyday life: don’t buy food/products that require packaging, get an electric car, recycle everything, talk to your friends and neighbors about climate change.

      I appreciate your post because it acknowledges the strange weather we’ve been having. I was born in Portland in 1960. From 1960 to 1990, you could expect snow every other winter, and rain every other summer. Now, its snow every 3 to 5 years, and rain every 3 to 5 years. The Pacific Northwest is one of the watersheds of the world. If we let it dry up we’re going to live on a hot planet. Thank You, Bill Owen

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Well hopefully we get another historic winter then. I know we’re in strong el Nino territory but anything can and will happen. My guess is that since we are in an el Nino if anything happens this winter it will be early in the season like a typical el Nino.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      If we change and other countries dont (China) we would just fall way behind in the world… so is it really worth it?

    • Boring Oregon says:

      I’m honestly getting sick of all this climate change stuff. I know, i put my opinion on here from time to time but that’s only because someone brings it up first. This is a weatherblog, not a CNN chat room lets keep it that way.

    • David B. says:

      @Boring: Climate change will affect the weather and therefore it’s on-topic for a weather blog. So far, nobody here has engaged in name calling or any other instances of prohibited conduct, therefore I see no problem.

      @WEATHERDAN: I’d prefer to see a statistical analysis rather than an appeal to what we all feel in our guts. There’s been far more epic winters than ’13-’14 in the past. Some have had “arctic blast” conditions prevail for a month or more. The Columbia and Willamette rivers have frozen across with ice thick enough to drive cars on.

      Anthropogenic climate change is basically a fact (only a few cranks now disagree with it). How exactly said climate change will transpire is still much less well-settled. There are some studies that agree with your “more extreme weather in general” scenario, but others contradict it. That one is still very much a matter of controversy and debate, so far as I can see.

    • Paul D says:

      Below 60 at my house (Hillsboro) for the first time in many weeks. Hope to see more of it.

      We deserve an unusually cold winter after the non-winter we just had and the historic June heat wave.

      It seems we regularly hit 15-20 above normal in the summer, but how often do we go 15-20 below normal for any length of time?

    • Eugene Dave says:

      “….Now, its snow every 3 to 5 years….”

      You have a very selective memory. Or you live on the coast.

    • Dringus says:

      Boring – as you said before about climate change, you didn’t want to discuss it because you consider it a political issue.

      As for the rest of us – the large majority of those in the weather/climate science realm consider it largely a scientific issue. Making something political and less science-based is…I dunno….saying something like “makes it a CNN chat room”

    • Boring Oregon says:

      Drungus, i was using the “CNN chat room” as an example.

    • Kyle says:

      We used to have random cool periods in the summers even in the hottest ones with negative anomalies in the 850mb level until the 90s.

  3. Happy St.Swithin’s day everybody! I hope to see some rain where I live, today. However, the forecast is only for a 30% chance of showers. Oh, boy- don’t want to see this dryness last another 40 days!

    • Paul D says:

      Happy Amazon Prime Day 🙂

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Roland, this morning I saw this random quote in a weather book I have:
      “St. Swithin’s Day, if ye no rain, for 40 days it will remain; St. Swithin’s Day an ye be fair, for 40 days ’twill rain nae mair.”

      Found it ironic that I saw that quote on the actual day, and then you mention it in your post …

      Now I have to go and look up what the heck St. Swithin’s day is …

  4. Jason Hougak says:

    Hey Mark have you thought of doing any posts on MT. Hoods glaciers. It’s looking very likely that they may only be around 10 more years.

    • runrain says:

      Doesn’t matter. With all this earthquake doom and gloom talk (see the New Yorker article) we probably won’t be around!

  5. schmit44 says:

    7/14/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:92 at Celilo, East of( 225 ft)
    Low: 69 at BLALOK(277 ft) & ROWEWS(104 ft)

    High:53 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 38 at FOSTER FLAT (5000 ft ) & CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 40 degrees
    CW5507 Camp Sher (84/44 ) (3020 ft )
    COLGATE (81/41) (3231 ft)
    FOSTER FLAT (78/38) (5000 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.70″ at CHRISTMAS VALLEY(4360ft)
    0.60″ at SILVER CREEK(5740ft)
    0.50″ at BEAVER RESERVOIR(5150ft)
    0.44″ at ANTELOPE(6460ft)
    0.43″ at HARL BUTTE(6071ft)
    0.42″ at IRAWS 4 (CINNABA(4715ft)
    0.41″ at DW9630 La Pine(4256ft)

  6. JohnD says:

    FORECAST QUESTION: Does anyone know “who” renders the forecast sequence on Marks’s site during periods when he is away, is on vacation, is predisposed, etc. etc.? Like most of us, I go with his forecasts pretty much as gospel (subject to “11th hour” changes, of course.). Near as I can tell, “his” (if it is his) rendition is the only one calling for low 90’s on Sat. and Sun.., for example. Certainly not the NWS as well as any of the other media stations!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      I would think the met that is filling in for him would be making the forecasts but I’m not sure. Koin has a 90 for Sunday though.

  7. Paul D says:

    Who let those 90’s in the 7-day forecast! Nooooo!!

  8. runrain says:

    Anyone notice the proliferation and early ripening of the wild blackberries around town? When I see them selling for $3/basket at the farmers markets I get a good laugh!

    • billowen123 says:

      Yes, the early heat has thrown off the blooms and the crops. If you want total failure keep dumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Then we can all die on a desert planet!!!!!

    • Bill Owen says:

      Hi Runrain, I wanted to say I’ve noticed early blooms and early crops all over Oregon this year. The early heat has the vegetation confused. Its only going to get worse if we don’t take Global Warming seriously and each of us do what we can individually to reduce our carbon footprint. If you think El Nino was bad this year, wait until next time, it will be ferocious!!!!! Thank You, Bill Owen

    • umpire says:

      But they seem smaller this year, some even looking shriveled. Most of the ones I see in my ‘hood don’t have a water source.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      Yeah i got a bunch in my yard and I’ve never seen such an early turnout of berries that are ready.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Not a good summer so far for wild fruits or fish…

  9. schmit44 says:

    7/13/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:90 at DW0462 Umatilla( 390 ft) & Celilo, East of(225 ft)
    Low: 70 at BLALOK(277 ft) & JUNIPR(359 ft) & Celilo, East of(225 ft)

    High:52 at MT. HOWARD(7910 ft)
    Low: 37 at FOSTER FLAT (5000 ft ) & CROW FLAT (5172 ft ) & KIRK (4519 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    FOSTER FLAT (76/37 ) (5000 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.91″ at OCHOCO RANGER ST(3975ft)
    0.70″ at BRER RABBIT(5719ft)
    0.69″ at EW6764 Mitchell8(3412ft)
    0.69″ at ELK CREEK(6576ft)
    0.67″ at COLD SPRINGS(4640ft)
    0.66″ at IRAWS 3 (BOEING(5900ft)
    0.62″ at Baker Valley(3420ft)
    0.52″ at CW8689 Burns(4219ft)

    • Bill Owen says:

      Hello Mark Nelson, I’d like to say Thank You for being so honest about the weather patterns and how unusual they are. Other people, let’s just say, are not as forthcoming.

      The obvious culprit here is Global Warming, and in your post you set the stage for people to acknowledge it and do something about it. For folks to run around and keep dumping greenhouse gasses into the air and buying non electric cars now is just ludicrous. El Nino will come back even stronger in 2-5 years and be even hotter.

      Meteorologists such as yourself are in a unique position to lead the discussion on Global Warming, as you are at the intersection of science and social behavior. When the you get behind it, Global Warming will start to fade because people will realize they need to do something about it!!!!

      Again Mark, Thank You for such an honest post!!!!!

      SINCERELY YOURS, BILL OWEN, 503-703-2759

    • gidrons says:

      Glad to see the rain in eastern Oregon.

  10. David B. says:

    A surreal weather experience on my recent trip to Okanogan County in eastern Washington.

    The day warmed up rapidly as I worked my way north from Wenatchee on US 97. By the time I was in Tonasket the temperature was between 95 and 100 (a bank thermometer said 112, but no way was that correct). A black cloud loomed over the highlands to the east, my destination for the day.

    As I drove up into the highlands, I noticed winds, evidently downdrafts from the thunderstorm ahead, were blowing. I opened my window and it was about 70 degrees outside, a good 25 degrees cooler than it was just minutes ago. No more need for the air conditioner.

    Soon the road became damp, then outright wet as I chased the rain retreating southwards (I only ever experienced light showers on this drive). More and more runoff was evident; the storm I had just missed was a real gully-washer. The temperature fell into the sixties.

    Ground fog loomed overhead. I knew what that probably meant: hail on the ground, creating a temperature inversion close to the surface. Soon the temperature was in the fifties and I had my headlights on as I crept through the fog in a white landscape. In July, in eastern Washington.

    The campground that was my destination for the day was in the heart of the hail zone. It was about three inches deep when I got there, and didn’t completely melt until the next day.

  11. W7ENK says:

    @Jason Hougak – I may have a need for your professional services. Do you do work in Olympia? Please let me know…

    • Jason Hougak says:

      What seems to be the problem?

    • W7ENK says:

      Either the motor seized or there’s something jammed in the impeller, but when it kicks on it seems stalled out, buzzes incredibly loud for about 10 seconds before tripping out on overtemp. I found the breaker tripped when I got to the house over the 4th of July, I cautiously reset it and went out to inspect. After hearing that racket twice, I just unplugged it.

      Is there a way I can get ahold of you “off-blog”?

  12. W7ENK says:

    Official Spotter Report – Milwaukie, Oregon
    (Sent to NWS Portland)

    45° 26′ XX.XX” N
    122° 36′ XX.XX” W

    Monday, 13 JUL 2015

    Intense showers training directly overhead,
    rainfall rate greater than 1.50 inches per hour.

    0.52″ in 20 minutes from 0125 to 0145.
    Overflowing gutters and minor street flooding observed.

  13. Boring Oregon says:

    It poured last night multiple times but I could barely tell when i woke up

  14. WEATHERDAN says:

    79 at 2:00 PM. Should reach about 83 today. Some heat next weekend with highs reaching just about 90. In the meantime 80-85 through Friday. No cool wet weather in sight. All we got out of the last 4 days has been a trace of rain. Some local streams are nearly dried up. Peace.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      You’re not a warm bias, the others just keep thinking it’s going to be colder than it really will be. I think you’re probably pretty correct about the rest of the week.

  15. vernonia1 says:

    It rained so hard outside Vernonia yesterday afternnoon I had to pull over twice. Real gully washer

  16. schmit44 says:

    7/12/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:91 at JUNIPR( 359 ft)
    Low: 69 at ROWEWS(104 ft)

    High:52 at Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 39 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 38 degrees
    FOSTER FLAT (78/40 ) (5000 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.98″ at EMIGRANT(3840ft)
    0.80″ at USCRN SITE AT NO(4260ft)
    0.77″ at ELK CREEK(6576ft)
    0.72″ at CABIN LAKE(4560ft)
    0.71″ at Baker Valley(3420ft)

  17. Low 80’s and rain. Not bad

  18. runrain says:

    Uh oh. Is that an upside down 6 I see in the seven day???

  19. Boring Oregon says:

    I think the high temperatures are being underestimated. I believe pretty much everyone will be in the low 80s today.

  20. Jason Hougak says:

    Best news in quite a while weatherwise

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    Weather was perfect for a family reunion at our families property down by Dodge Park on the Sandy River. Played games with all the kids, lots of fun but I’m a bit sore from chasing them. Played wiffle ball golf which is a lot of fun. Even cooled off enough to have a campfire last night.

  22. Legit rain right now. Started as drizzle but it’s summer so i took my shirt off, and it’s still rain. Feels excellent by the fire. We’ve had “rain” the last 3 mornings. It’s all good. I will sacrifice a beer if need be

  23. Boring Oregon says:

    I was watching Katu news and they said that there was a high weed pollen level…

  24. Looks like a high of 73 at SLE today.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Hence why Dan may not have posted. Hmmmmm

    • I was going to say that, but I figured someone else would connect the dots…

    • Paul D says:

      Below normal yesterday!! So nice!

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Mat how nice too see you haven’t lost your sarcastic touch. Actually Matthew I have something called a life. So I haven’t posted over the last 24 hours or so because I was out having fun with my friends. You should really try it. I only go online when I have nothing better to do. Whether it would have been 63 or 103 yesterday I would have been busy. As for today I agree with Boring. Low 80,s looks reasonable today. Only a trace of precipitation from this system. 80-85 and partly to mostly sunny this week. Not bad at all. Looks we might get some more heat around the 20th. We’ll see. Peace.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Damn Dan, can I not say anything in replying to any of your posts without you getting personal? I assure you I have more of a life than you do. I didn’t go personal to you so why do it to me? Just admit when your wrong, I thought you were an adult, dont get so sensitive geez.

  25. Don’t overlook Laurence Lake, just 7 miles from Parkdale. It is a reservoir but it has mountain views the equal of Lost Lake, and all the campsites are on or very close to the water! The water, all mountain stream fed is just as clear as Lost Lake and it is a LOT less crowded. And for the forest hiker, its a delight with a climb through forest cover with 22 switchbacks to get to the top of the ridge overlooking the entire lake and an “in your face” view of Mt Hood without even having to crane your neck to look up! It’s also a much easier drive – just four miles of winding rough road up Laurence Lake Rd off Clearcreek Rd out of Parkdale with its brand new repaved downtown street!

    • Jason Hougak says:

      Shhh, your suppose to keep all those places a secret. A article was posted in a Portland newspaper about one of my favorite mountain lakes. Last time I went there it looked like downtown Portland. Culture shock for sure and trash… ect. It’s not good when secret amazing places are broadcast for the whole world. I know Lawrence Lake isn’t a natural secret lake but still it’s good to keep it on the down low or next time you may be disappointed by the crowd.
      Yes drizzle… I seeded a new lawn the past two weeks and worked my irrigation over time to keep the seed moist. Talk about fast growing, almost ready to mow. This cooler weather outta help out.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      It pisses me off when people trash beautiful places like that. It’s supposed to be clean and natural.

    • Two secret hiking gems that bring back good family memories. Coffin Butte rim hike in Benton county and the Knott canyon walk south east of Bend. Don’t tell!

    • My favorite place to go is #$#@ Lake. Its near ******* off of highway **. 🙂

    • Boring Oregon says:

      I’ve heard there’s some good fishing there Andrew. I plan on going next weekend.

    • Paul D says:

      Been there, left lots of garbage floating on the lake.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      You left lots of garbage Paul?

    • Farmer Ted says:


      Where ya’ been? With smart phones and social media, do you really think you can keep a secret on anything. Love your posts Jas, there so much over the top!

    • Farmer Ted says:


      Yes, I know the place Detroit Lake, to bad there is no lake!

  26. schmit44 says:

    7/10/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:92 at BLALOK( 277 ft) & Rye Valley(I-84(2230 ft) & BOARD(290 ft) & AC7WN Hermiston(497 ft) & CW1244 Pendleton(1145 ft)
    Low: 74 at BLALOK(277 ft) & Reese(1034 ft)

    High:51 at Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 44 at FOSTER FLAT (5000 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    IMBLER (90/51 ) (2749 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.03″ at Baker City Munic(3373ft)
    2.01″ at FLAGSTAFF HILL(3945ft)
    1.96″ at ELK CREEK(6576ft)
    1.70″ at EW4189 Baker Cit(3333ft)

  27. .01″ of “rain” in Kelso this morning. Was wierd having to use my wipers on the way to work.

  28. WarrenJ says:

    Hi Mark, There are still camping spots close to Lost Lake, just not for RV’s. Some are now converted to walk-in. It was a great way to escape the valley heat but still a bit warm for my tastes. Again, nice job backing that big RV and trailer out of that small parking spot. 😉

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Hey, at least in the end I didn’t bust a tail light out! I’ve had just about enough of 30′, might be looking for something more like 24′ next time around.

  29. 2.03″ of rain at Baker CIty this evening. Good for number #2 on their all-time daily rainfall list.

  30. Lee Wilson says:

    Please no more hot weather. I don’t want another giant pumpkin plant taking over lol.

  31. Lee Wilson says:

    Yeah, I also heard that California Mountains got some snow?

  32. I spent a pleasant afternoon at the beach here in Vancouver BC. Clouds slowly cleared off by 3pm, nice breeze. My maximum temperature was 74F. Now that’s what I like!

  33. Paul D says:

    Hey Mark! It’s not the 12th! Whatchadoin posting?

  34. Paul D says:

    Just crept above 80 at my place in Hillsboro. Was hoping it would stay below 80. At least it wasn’t 90-something!!!!!

  35. WEATHERDAN says:

    74 at 1:00 PM. Should be right around 80 this afternoon, which is just about normal for July 11th. Perhaps a little cooler on Saturday then a slow warm up with no real heat in sight. Just a few degrees above average. Mid to maybe high 80,s later on next week. Felt a very few drops of rain last night that wasn’t even a trace. All in all decent weather coming up. While it’s unlikely to have a heatwave of this magnitude again this year other smaller heatwaves of 3-5 days are likely. We will probably see at least a 3 day heat wave before July ends. So Tigerlilly if it’s the heat you detest Alaska beckons. Peace.

    • W7ENK says:

      So, I’m guessing you didn’t read Mark’s post then?

      “…it appears temperatures will be consistently cooler than normal with a few chances for showers as we head through the next two weeks.”

      I guess your forecast for “Mid to maybe high 80,s later on next week” may need a little bit of revision… lol

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Or Mark doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is just being over-dramatic with the “cool weather ahead” thing

    • Boring Oregon says:

      The high temperatures were underestimated…

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      NWS has high of around 90 on Saturday. TWC has 94 Sat, 93 Sun, and 89 on Monday. Most of the time I think Mark is right on target and most of the time he is. However sometimes I see something in the raw data that makes me come up with a different outlook than Mark. I have the greatest respect for Mark but I don’t always agree with him. In this case I just didn’t and don’t see a major pattern shift. Continued warm to occasionally hot but not more than 3 days in a row of 90+. Of course I might be wrong, only time will tell. At 4:00 PM it is 85. I’m loving this weather, peace.

  36. ockman says:

    Brandon bockman in Portland area.
    It Was very hummed yesderday afternoon.
    Also the the thunderstorms did not happen
    Im ready for the cooler weather.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      You mean humid?

    • W7ENK says:

      No, it hummed yesterday afternoon at my place too, every time a freight train would roll by. I’m about a mile and a half from the tracks, but those diesel locomotives make a lot of noise! You can hear them humming from several miles out, especially when the air is still…

    • Boring Oregon says:


  37. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Smoky sunsets are great!

    • tygrrlilley says:

      Great shots!! It really was a gorgeous sunset. Where I am in East Vancouver, the sky was pink and a neat shade of blue-silver. I wish I’d thought to take a couple pix, but my camera probably wouldn’t have done the sky justice anyway.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      We should have wildfires more often!

  38. W7ENK says:

    Don’t worry folks, still plenty of summer left for the hot weather to return… 😀

    • tygrrlilley says:

      NO. MORE. HOT. I’m on Mark’s side because he said this: “Knowing that it’s unlikely we’d see such a warm period again this summer to warm the mountain lakes…” =D

    • runrain says:

      Exactly! And we still have time for a good east wind heat wave. That hasn’t happened yet.

    • Timmy Supercell (Klamath Falls, OR) says:

      Key words – “SUCH a warm period”

      Yes we will probably see some more 90’s maybe in August, but SUCH a period like we’ve seen in June through early July won’t happen again. 200% certain it won’t. 😉

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      If that happens again it’s going to be a historic summer too!

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