3rd Warmest May So Far…Dry Too

6pm Tuesday

Today was sure refreshing wasn’t it?  Clouds to late afternoon sunshine was far more reasonable for May.  Do you realize we’ve only seen two days at/below average the entire first half of the month?

High Temp Last 13 Days

Temps the first half of May have been more like a typical June!

May Warm Start Stats

making this the 3rd warmest (actually tied for 2nd) May through the 15th.




May Warm Start Stats2

Having some spare time yesterday, I checked the other “Top 4” starts to May.  I’m  curious what happened the following summer.  Check out those 4 summers in the slideshow…you’ll see a theme…warm:

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All those years were normal to above average (to hot) the summer following a very warm start to May.  Interesting.

What’s ahead?  Generally warmer than average temps will continue, although a very thick marine layer (up to 5,000′ thick) Wednesday & Thursday means gray/cool both days.  We might even see a shower or drizzle out of that marine layer.

Beyond that models continue to show temperatures generally above average through the 2nd half of the month.  Here’s the latest GFS run showing surface temperature anomaly.  Notice it’s consistently above average


We could sure use some rain, but through at least the early part of next week I don’t see much.  A good soaking would be nice before we get to Memorial Day Weekend.

Regardless, I’m planting my garden very early this year for the reasons above.  At my elevation I run about 8 degrees cooler than Portland and quite a bit wetter so typically it’s safer to wait until the end of May or early June.  Not this year…I’m going for it!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen



22 Responses to 3rd Warmest May So Far…Dry Too

  1. Scott Koerner says:

    Is there any reason why it’s been so cloudy and not, at least, some clearing during the days recently? These gloomy days are annoying.

    • W7ENK says:

      Westerly (onshore) prevailing winds, plus sitting right next to the world’s largest body of water = marine stratus.

      • SK says:

        I had also heard about the warm spot in the Pacific breaking up and wondered if that had any role to play. Thanks for the info!

        • W7ENK says:

          That “warm blob” was a 2014/15 anomaly. It doesn’t exist anymore, so no longer has any bearing on local or global weather patterns.

          Definitely did back then, though. Fingers crossed that it never returns!

  2. K says:

    Off topic, but have you guys seen Tropical Cyclone Sagar in the Indian Basin? It is a MONSTER. It will impact Eritrea and Djibouti as what was expected to be a high end tropical cyclone, but now models are showing its expected peak to be 953 MB from 988 MB several hours ago. Models are forecasting a landfall at 960-980 MB. Keep in mind they have NEVER been hit by a tropical cyclone before (to my knowledge). I will most definitely be keeping an eye on this one!

  3. K says:

    Have a looming feeling that fire season this year is going to be pretty bad. Don’t quote me, but a predicted above average (in temp) summer with less moisture than usual could be bad, especially if May continues to be this dry.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I know what you mean. Last night I needed to go to the store and when I went to the car I looked up at the clouds and the first thing that went through my mind was about the Gorge fire. It was almost dark out and the wind was calm. It just reminded me of the fire. I guess I would have PDSD from the fire. It was so stressful because my mom isn’t in the best health and thinking of how to get her out of the house is really hard. I hope we get some good soaking rain soon.

      • High Desert Mat says:

        Soaking rains can be bad right now. That could produce more vegetation for the fires to burn. We want some good rains mid summer to help with the fires.

        • Muxpux (Castle Rock) says:

          yeah, everything’s growing like crazy right now. Just need some well timed rains to keep the vegetation green. Too long of a hot and dry spell and everything dries out.

  4. Roland Derksen says:

    May 2016 was heading into the last week as my driest May on record (only about 0.12 inches) when we had a deluge in the last few days. This year it probably won’t happen quite that way, but I’m betting we’ll see something significant before the 31st.

  5. K says:

    Worried for fire season.

  6. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    Has anybody noticed that the GFS has been outperforming the Euro lately? Short-term and long-term. Mark, any thoughts or observations?

  7. JERAT416 says:

    My guess is a warm start to may will mean washout for memorial day weekend.

  8. Tanis Leach says:

    Well, some hard running days are coming it seems.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Any intention on getting the lightning graphics running again?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      For 15 years or so our weather system put out these lightning maps. But the data feed is no longer being used and the machines themselves haven’t been supported in 7 years. So tonight I shut them down. Unfortunately our current broadcast software only goes back 30 minutes. #SadOldPC

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Mark. That’s a bummer but understandable. Do you have a recommendation for a free replacement source? Weather service says they can’t provide real time feeds because of a proprietary contract.

    • W7ENK says:

      When it’s actually working, this seems to be a pretty good resource:


      Just click on the [NWEST] button. This also (supposedly) picks up CC strikes, not just CG.

  10. W7ENK says:

    This doesn’t bother me, not in the least.

  11. Paul D says:

    Thanks for all the bad news!

  12. JohnD says:

    Great stuff! Thanks Mark, as always! My current weather related motivation is hiking in the mid–and eventually high–country. For we “fair weather” hikers, things are looking good!

  13. Ken in Wood Village says:

    First 😉

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