Spring 2017 Wrap-Up: Wet, but Normal Temps

7pm Tuesday

We are 6 days into summer, at least from a meteorologist’s viewpoint.  June through August are the 3 warmest months across most of the northern hemisphere and we’re just 2-3 weeks away from decreasing daylight.


So after all the wailing about a “cool and wet spring” how did it turn out?  Take a look at temps:

MarkSpring WrapUp

March and April were cool, but then May ended up as our first warm month since November.  So in the end there was nothing abnormal about our temperatures…very close to average, in fact the most “average” since 2008.


MarkSpring WrapUp2

Yeah, we know…very wet to start, then suddenly the faucet turned off the 2nd half of May.  So it ended up being the 5th wettest on record at PDX and the wettest spring in 5 years.

Those last two weeks of May were sure memorable…a taste of summer we haven’t seen during that same period in quite a few years.  I always find it remarkable how the “faucet” can just suddenly shut off in the Pacific Northwest.  We go from consistent showers and chilly weather and then suddenly no rain for 3 weeks?  Can’t there be a middle ground?

Looking ahead I see one more very warm day tomorrow, then a classic “Rose Festival Low” moves down over the Pacific Northwest Thursday through Sunday.  Check out the huge drop in temperatures on the ECMWF ensemble chart.  This shows temperature around 5,000′ in celsius for the next two weeks.


The screaming message here is that we’re headed into a cooler than normal period for at least a week beginning Thursday.  There are strong hints that we return to normal or even go a bit above by late NEXT week.

We haven’t seen real rain in Portland for about 3 weeks.  The last time we’ve seen more than .01″ was May 17th!  It’s time.  So how much will see?  It’s pretty clear that most of the rain Thursday and beyond will be in the first 3 days (Thursday-Saturday).  Check out the ECMWF model ensemble showing 24 hour rain totals:


Each of the 51 ensemble members are on the upper chart and the lower chart shows the average of all the ensembles.  Pretty clear that the wettest period is early on as I just mentioned, but now there are hints of some additional rain trying to show up that following weekend (17th/18th).  It’s something to keep an eye on.

Enjoy the last summery day Wednesday and make sure you have all your dry weather activities done by Wednesday evening.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

9 Responses to Spring 2017 Wrap-Up: Wet, but Normal Temps

  1. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Those screaming messages are painful!

  2. Was at Kitsap State Forest taking pictures of rhododendrons yesterday afternoon and it was certainly a warm day, well in to the eighties. Only 79 for a max at my home, which is more affected by sea breezes. As soon as I got north of Keyport exit yesterday evening, I could feel it get cooler and cooler with each passing mile.

    And now the forecast shows a run of showery-to-rainy days with highs in the upper fifties. Oh, well, it’s only June. Can’t expect the warmth to last. I think meteorological summer is July through September in the Pacific Northwest; we have a significant amount of seasonal lag due to our proximity to the ocean.

  3. Lee Wilson says:

    Lost the paddle to my bread machine,
    But now using it to bake fish and other stuff..makes for nice and tender fish and turkey burgers. .40 minutes for turkey parties and Salmon Chunks….yum..

    Oh did I mention. .I can cook that using solar power lol.

  4. JERAT416 says:

    Pacific NW native definition of summer: July 5th – mid September.

    • Paul D says:


    • Roland Derksen says:

      Being further north (49th degree) I sometimes have to wait about a week (i.e. the 12th) longer here. In recent years, we’ve been fairly lucky, however and it’s come sooner than the rule. We’ll see what happens.

  5. Paul D says:

    Here we go on the weather roller coaster again! Looking forward to the cooler weather.

  6. Lee Wilson says:

    I have noticed more increase in solar power.
    today though we had high clouds and haze…so..we made 4.7 kw hrs in the last 48 hours.

  7. Astronomical Seasons are technically based on sun position, but they also arbitrarily “assume” about 6-7 weeks’ difference between solar energy and temperature. We know this number to be quite wrong, especially with regard to West Coast winters.

    The solar definition of summer, May 5 through August 7, is still the most metric and rudimentary definition of all, since changes in sun angle are the ultimate driving force behind seasonal changes.

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