98 Degrees Monday…Smoky But Cooler Today

10am Tuesday

Monday was ridiculously hot; we hit 98 in Portland which is also the 11th day at/above 90 this month.

It’s been 30+ years since we’ve seen so many 90 degree days in August…11 so far.

As of now August is also the warmest we’ve experienced here in Portland…beating the record just set in August 2014 (only 3 years ago!).  That year the nights were a bit warmer but daytime highs weren’t quite as extreme.

Air quality has been going downhill in the Willamette Valley since yesterday evening as more and more fire smoke moves up from the south.  Check out the smoke on GOES-16 visible imagery just before sunset last night.

The real thick stuff is now over us, but it’s only right over the valley and east.  Note the lack of smoke over the Coast Range on the morning loop:

The thickest smoke should gradually get pushed east late in the day.  Tonight a strong marine push should clear out all of the smoke west of the Cascades.  Wednesday we should see blue sky again…after the morning clouds.


  • Today will be very warm, but likely below 90 degrees
  • Lots of clouds the next two mornings and maybe even a spot of drizzle but with afternoon sunshine
  • Much cooler…highs mainly in upper 70s Wednesday/Thursday
  • Fire smoke goes away (for a few days) tonight
  • Another heat wave hits us for Labor Day weekend and will continue through the middle of next week
  • No sign of a soaking rain, or any rain

Of course we’ll cool down dramatically with the marine push Wednesday and Thursday too.  The bad news is we have Heat Wave #4 for this summer coming up Friday through sometime early next week.  All models are in agreement building a hot upper-level ridge right over us once again.  As early as Friday we’ve got 500 millibar heights up around 590+ over us…the heat will return quickly!  The ridge is firmly established again Saturday afternoon on this chart from the overnight ECMWF model.

It appears it’s going to stick around for 5-7 days too.  This is the FOLLOWING THURSDAY…5-6 days later

Hot in the west, unusually chilly in the eastern USA.  An early fall for them.

This hot ridge with 850 millibar temperatures up around +25 or so means that once again we will flirt with the triple digits, like Monday.  Hard to believe we’ll be moving through the first week of September at that time!

Take a look at the ECMWF ensemble chart for the next two weeks showing good agreement between ensemble members through the first week of September.  But even after that temps remain above average.  The first half of September is going to be more like a typical early August.  No sign of fall on the weather maps yet and no sign of any sort of decent rainfall:

The accompanying temperature forecast from the ECMWF is somewhat depressing if you’re sick of hot weather, showing 5-6 days of 90+ weather once again starting Friday:

One benefit of the hot August has been fantastic growth in our gardens…assuming you are watering them well.  Yesterday I had to pick my two-story high beans with the extension ladder…they were a little too far from the window to get the job done from upstairs.  But they sure look neat!  There are some morning glory vines wrapped up there as well.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

31 Responses to 98 Degrees Monday…Smoky But Cooler Today

  1. Jenna says:

    Any idea of how our fall/winter will look? People magazine posted an article that said the Pacific Northwest will have a below average fall, but seeing our temps lately, it’s hard to believe we can ever get cold again!!

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    Becoming the worst year for water wells going dry. About 2 service calls a day are due to lack of water pressure or air in the lines. If you have a well and experience this turn the power off to the well pump. Prolonged running time without cold water cooling the motor will cause it to overheat. Most people think as soon as the rain starts then everything will fill up but it takes time for precipitation to percolate into the aquifer. Most of our aquifers are actually filled by melting snow in spring in the Cascades. April- May is generally the fullest the aquifer gets and October- November is the lowest. I am really sick of this partched state. Our forests are getting torched and the valuable groundwater resource is quickly diminishing. Wells are going deeper and water getting harder to find. Many customers have had major irrigation system line breaks causing water to just leak back into the ground saturating the area around the leak. Water will be our biggest shortage in the near future if we don’t take steps to conserve now. I let my lawn die in late June deciding to save water this year. The lawn can grow back but the water table may never come back. Many water tables have gone dry never to refill again.

    • Joshua Downtown PDX says:

      I’m not surprised. .06″ of rain in the last 75 days or so. Zero rain in sight. Hottest August ever. September will likely be the hottest ever unless there is a drastic pattern change in the second half of the month. Plant the palm trees and cacti now.

    • JJ78259 says:

      Think back to the constant winter rain that flooded Weather Dans Basement. It will be raining in October Guaranteed. Enjoy the dry weather! San Antonio has received 5 inches in about a day and a half in August everything is green and lush! Houston east a little to much! But it is great for the portable pump business. Another Hurricane coming off Africa Irma! Be Happy!

  3. Ellen Wallace says:

    The smoke is good for sunsets…But My question is: What about the fall? On the accu-forecast- slightly below normal for most of Sept into Oct – (I think that was who said it) and on a different one, warmer than normal…What about it Mark?

  4. Per Mark’s recent tweet, that “popular resort” “east of Detroit Lake” is indeed Breitenbush Hot Springs. Just checked their web site and it has a brief notice about it up.

  5. A bit of drizzle this morning, and it has the feel of a day that won’t top 70 degrees F. Been enjoying the warmth the past few days, but then again, it’s only been mid-80s max here. If it had been 90s I’d likely be singing a different tune.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      No drizzle here, although the breezes and partly cloudy skies have made a major difference in the temperature(about 73F when I last looked). I wish we could at least get some amount precipitation either tonight or tomorrow morning, because the heat returns for the weekend

  6. Diana F. says:

    I dunno. Normally, I would be on the THERE’S NO RAIN DANGIT bandwagon. However, I had to buy a new car 2 weeks ago, and NO RAIN means NO CAR WASH!! That is a very good thing. And for the first time in years, we’re taking a 5 day vacation up the gorge way at Trout Lake in mid-September!! If the weather holds we’ll plan another 5 day getaway to the Coast at the end of September. So, I think I can deal with this weather without issue. We are still mad for Winter, can’t wait for the storms, rain and snow…….but we’re making the most of what we’ve got!

  7. Erika says:

    I officially hate this month! It’s ridiculous hot and is not over yet, this holiday weekend is going to suck! I’m so done with summer, I think I’ve been done with it since it started, I want winter here already!

  8. Garron 1/3 of a mile from the Hillsboro airport says:

    When is the last time we’ve had 4 exceptionally hot dry summers’ IN A ROW? Answer…NEVER! Record after record being shattered in the HOT column, vs. how many in records of the cold column? When is the last time we had 4 consecutive cold winters????

  9. Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

    Thanks Mark! I was wondering why my eyes were burning all day. Have this going full blast in my bedroom. For those of you particularly sensitive this air filter is great. The replacement generics on Amazon are also reasonable in terms of cost.

    GermGuardian AC4825:


  10. Jason Hougak says:

    This state is turning into Oregone!

  11. Linda Cramer says:

    Mark………your beans are terrific, but I am fascinated by the large banana plant you have to the side of the picture. I have been trying to grow bananas here in Redland area for over 30 years……they grow nicely until the weather turns cool. I have tried everything I or anyone can think of, even bringing them in for the winter, but never get too far. Also planted in various locations around my 10 acre farm. Please could you give me any advice or tips on getting such a beautiful banana plant? Wondering also if you’ve actually gotten any bananas. We miss seeing you more often on the news…..you are #1 in my book! I sure hope to hear from you. Also, let’s get some rain in the forecast, lol. Take care…….. Linda

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The banana plants are not frost hardy so they die down in the late fall, or as soon as the first freeze hits. They start from the ground each spring. I know they like lots of water and fertilizer to sustain that dramatic growth each year. I’ve never had them bloom, but my Dad in Gresham did…just some tiny tasteless bananas.

    • Alohabb says:

      Fruit bearing bananas will never work in our zone. I have a yard full of palms and bananas, but back when we started we were told we just don’t have the right climate zone for the breed of fruit bearing banana trees.

    • oregonalex (Rock Creek, 240 ft) says:

      I’ve always been surprised how well Mark’s bananas grow up there in cool Corbett. I’ve grown Japanese hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) in Rock Creek for over 10 years, where the conditions are warmer. They flower and produce small inedible bananas full of seeds.

      The edible varieties might flower/fruit here but are not root hardy and would have to be dug up and stored in a dark cool place for the winter. As Mark says, even the hardy ones get knocked back with the first hard freeze, but regrow from the ground if you do nothing. If you, however, want the spectacle of flower/fruit, the stems need to be protected. I made ‘blankets’ from frost cloth filled with two layers of bubble wrap and I wrap them around the stems after the first freeze kills the leaves – sometimes as late as December. I also used to pile up leaves around the base as pictured below, but no longer do it – the wrap seems to be sufficient.

      Bananas need a mostly sunny spot, although this year the young leaves got scorched during the heat waves. They need decent drainage, but consistently moist soil. I water them deeply every three days, but in this heat every other day would be better. Even better would be a drip irrigation system. They also need prodigious amounts of fertilizer rich in potassium. Work some manure into the soil before planting if you can.

      They are highly ornamental and well worth the effort for me.

  12. E Michael says:

    2017 the Trifecta!

    In Oregon, it is a pretty safe weather forecast that there will be rain on Memorial day, Independence day, and Labor day. At a minimum it is a expected that at least one of the three will be a damp day. To have all three with beautiful weather is practically unheard of. Not only that, but they were all nice weekends too!

    There’s a weather statistic I would like to see – how many years have we had dry weekends for all three summer holidays?

  13. Gina says:

    Cool Beans lol Is that a Banana plant to the side ??

  14. Think of all the smoke days we’ve had this month! If you take all that smoke out of our daily weather equations…I bet the averaged high temp for August 2017 would have been nearly a full degree hotter than what actually happened. Both the early August ridge and now the late season heatwaves, have been under historically hot airmasses. I bet we could’ve easily seen 110 or 111 in The Dalles earlier this month, and the current heatwave would have gotten deeper into the 100s without the smoke around.

    It remains to be seen whether the early September heat event is similarly hampered by smoke, or whether its full potential can finally shine through.

  15. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    Saw this coming a while ago. The models have been persistent. We might not have any deciduous trees left in time for fall colors. When do you think the smoke will return, Mark? Will there be a decent offshore push at some point?

  16. Roland Derksen says:

    88F for a maximum here yesterday. that breaks the record for the date set back in 1974 (87F). today we might make another new record maximum. The previous high,(not surprisingly.) was on August 29,1974 at 90F.

  17. Paul D says:

    This totally sucks

  18. Did you know you said October in the paragraph under the first picture? I didn’t know if you meet August or if it’s going to be hot UNTIL October? I really want some rain! There’s a reason I like living in Oregon.

  19. Mark bergal says:

    I find this very sad. The ground is exceptionally dry and the added heat isn’t helping. I am gradually moving onto the bandwagon that our local climate really is warming fast. I don’t see that as a good thing at all.

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