Our First Spring “Mini Heat Wave” Sunday & Monday

5pm Friday

Today was a pleasant day with just a few sprinkles here and there.  Of course the first week of March has been cool across the West, leftovers of the cool troughing that has lingered over us (or just offshore) since the middle of February.  But get ready for MUCH warmer temperatures the next 3 days.

Spring in our area (March through May) is typically a series of wet or mainly wet days interspersed with a few dry days.  Occasionally from now through May we’ll see a period of temperatures well above average; a spring “heat wave”.  Obviously it isn’t really hot and sure isn’t a real heat wave, but just much warmer than the average high for the date.  This is going to happen Saturday through Monday, especially Sunday-Monday.  Our average high is in the mid 50s in the middle of March, and we’ll be a good 10-15 degrees warmer than that.

Why so warm?  Several reasons:

  1. A cold and deep storm out in the Eastern Pacific will push warm air north along the West Coast

2. Easterly “offshore” wind will be blowing through the Gorge and over the Cascades.  This time it won’t be a cold wind (except mornings east metro and western Gorge).  An offshore wind in March helps warm us up a bit and dries out the airmass nicely.

3. Lots of sunshine.  Saturday will be mainly sunny, although during the late afternoon & evening skies WILL cloud up as a weak disturbance passes overhead.  Sunday should be totally sunny.  Monday starts sunny but skies cloud up in the afternoon.

How warm could we get?  850mb temps (temp in Celsius around 4,000′) peak out around +6 to +8 on Sunday and +8 to +10 on Monday.  Past cases say that if everything is perfect, this setup in March could give us high temperatures in the lower 70s.  But in the case of this weekend I don’t think it’ll be “perfect”.  Lots of clouds arrive midday/afternoon Monday.  So for now we don’t have a 70 in the forecast.  Still, highs between 65-70 are quite deluxe for March 11th/12th!

This won’t last long, we’re headed back to typical cool showers Tuesday and beyond.  Model agreement is good on this.  Check out the sharp change beginning Tuesday on the ECMWF ensemble forecast for Portland


  • Enjoy our first real warm spring weekend!
  • It won’t be totally sunny Saturday & Monday, but you’ll enjoy the warmest temperatures we’ve seen so far this season with ample sunshine.
  • Record highs are unlikely, although Monday will be close.


If you live in the eastern metro area close to the Gorge, or in the western Gorge, the east wind will blow the next 3 days.  Sure, it won’t be a real cold wind, but it’ll feel much cooler than 60-70 degrees.  Peak gusts will likely be in the 30-50 mph range in the Gorge and 20-35 mph range in the east metro area (east of I-205).  This happens during March warm spells, just like in mid-late October when that wind turns a bit cooler.

How many of you remember this early March “heat wave” in 2005?

I’ve never seen anything like it in the first half of March during my entire career.  Day after day with solid sunshine and highs in the low-mid 70s.  Note the 5 consecutive record highs that still stand 13 years later.  This is the ONLY such occurrence in Portland’s daily weather records anytime in the year.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen



37 Responses to Our First Spring “Mini Heat Wave” Sunday & Monday

  1. Nahtalkin says:

    Many of the lost souls are bloggers that come here for the elixir. One fellow that has nothing better to do than police the blog seems to have a constant link to our little blog, god bless his little soul.

  2. Boring Rain says:

    Where’s our cold core heavy rain/hail showers?

  3. Lee Wilson says:

    We got a beautiful sunny Sunday so i checked the charge on th moweres battery and off a mowing i went.

    Used the same battery for some weed wacking.
    Then recharged using the sun.

    So it Didn’t cost a dime to use our mower and weed wacker._.In fact, we have a credit of 93 kwhrs.

  4. cgavic says:

    I noticed Timberline Lodge is 40 degs.

  5. cgavic says:

    Loving it! Sandy, oregon. 73 degs with strong east wind. Windows open, Mowed the lawn, did yard work.

  6. alohabb says:

    That fire in NE has really flooded the west side with heavy smile like a forest fire. Hillsboro looks dark and hazy. Wow.

  7. Jake in Gresham says:

    March is maybe my favorite month living in PDX. I know both the month of March and October having the most drastic shift in temperature and daylight change for us.

    Today was showing of that. Warm and sunny and after Mondays warmth (could be a record) we go back to snow showers in the mountains, cool here in the day, and cold at night with some sun in between. Perfect.

    Let the snow pack pile continue and the sun breaks down in the valleys as well. Boo-ya.

    • I like that there’s such a range in temperatures, too. Had frost Saturday morning, Sunday’s high was 63˚F, should flirt with 70˚F today, then back to rain (and will probably see frost again this season).

      Have the heat going in the morning chill right now, will probably have windows open this afternoon.

      • Roland Derksen says:

        My maximum yesterday was 59F , but today it’s likely in the mid-60’s. Still had frost yesterday morning as well(4th time this month) so any remnants of February’s snow are still visible,
        My highest temperature before the spring equinox: 70F on march 13, 1992.

        • Roland Derksen says:

          Well, if there’s any snow left , it should be gone by this evening. A current temperature of about 68F here (might make it to 69).

  8. Nahtalkin says:

    Wow, the heatwave finally hit……my location got up to 69 degrees yesterday and now we are starting out at 36 degrees. Should be well into the 70’s today.

    • Nahtalkin says:

      This certainly is the strangest of times we live in. With computers, smart phones, artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing……on and on and on…..what a dichotomy between knowledge and wisdom…..the gap has never been greater. Since when did we need the weather guy to tell us the angle of the sun and whether we need to apply sunscreen or not. I swear the masses are no smarter than a “box of hair”!

    • W7ENK says:

      BPD it is.

      Your mania had you up so high, and you were contributing to the blog in such a sweet and courteous manner, and in little over just one hour you swung down so low and chopped it all off at the ankles.

      I feel sorry for you, Ted. I know a couple other people with your affliction, it’s such a horrible thing. I hope you’re able to seek help and get the proper treatment, before it destroys you. I’ve watched it happen before, it’s not pretty.

  9. boydo3 says:

    It used to happen later in the spring and go back to standard time earlier in the fall. Didn’t seem so bad then.

  10. Lisa Nowak says:

    What happened to the 7-day forecast on the website? When I click it I get a “site does not exist” message.

  11. boydo3 says:

    I remember that heat wave of 2005 very well as we were flying out of PDX for a vacation to a “warmer” location. Came back to continued warm conditions in the PNW.

  12. Nahtalkin says:

    Yesterday was a cold one here only reached 50 degrees and I saw an afternoon temp for Estacada at just 43 degrees. For me the warm weather can’t come soon enough….outside I go….ta…ta…

  13. Roland Derksen says:

    How about enjoying the longer daylight in the evenings? I’m not a great fan of Daylight Savings Time either, but I do enjoy the extra hour of sunshine later in the day. Anyway, it’s going to be sunny the next few days, so the dark mornings won’t be quite as bad, as they would be under overcast skies.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Try having a little one who is very much like an autistic .
      Oh joy lol..._Our son think Day light savings time is stupid and makes no sense because the Earth does not reverse its rotation

  14. Really tempting to do a quick overnight camping trip Sunday and Monday nights (today is spoken for). But also have gardening to do, so probably not. Though the temptation may just prove too great to resist.

    Note that it won’t last. It never does, this early in the year. The annual spring tease is on.

  15. Sprayandpay says:

    I think by mid August mornings are getting darker again noticeably

  16. Sprayandpay says:

    Whom’s looking forward to skunk dark mornings again? I was getting used to pretty sunrises at 6:30am. I get up at 7am a lot and LOVE it being bright now. It won’t be like this again till mid May then only for 2 months. 😦

    Let’s just set the clocks half hour ahead to keep everyone happy and LEAVE it all year long.

  17. JERAT416 says:

    Bring on the death ridge!

    • Sprayandpay says:

      -PDO is on it’s way and tropical forcings are reorganizing the “energy budget” as Phil calls it. Talk of it is on TheWeatherforums.com The whole country is looking to take a hit to some degree but I’ll believe it when I see it assuming “other” factors don’t screw up with it. 😉

      Hopefully the third Noreaster on Monday h0eats out to Sea instead of knocking out more power to the 200,000 still waiting restoration in NJ/MA areas.

      Who’s looking forward to skunk dark mornings again this Sunday? I was JUST getting used to early morning sunrises as I LOVE mornings. Best time of day. Makes it so much easier to get up having earlier sunrises now it’s going to be dark at 7am again till mid may. 😦

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