Thick Smoke = Cooler Today, Back to Hot Tuesday

10pm Monday

Fire smoke had no problem moving down into northern Oregon last night and this morning.  In fact it was so thick (shadows barely visible at midday) that we were COOLER instead of WARMER today.  Lower 80s were the rule in the western valleys of Oregon and SW Washington

Todays Observed Highs OrWa 2017

What about tomorrow?  I think temperatures will soar quite a bit higher for two reasons.

  1. We had weak onshore flow today, but pressure gradients are switching now and we’re headed into one day of gusty offshore easterly wind tomorrow.  That alone would raise our temps 5 degrees or more.
  2. There are strong hints from the HRRR smoke modeling that smoke will thin significantly tomorrow afternoon.  That’s due to the strong easterlies bringing clear air from Montana westward all the way to the Cascades and beyond.  Check out the current smoke forecast for right now; widespread thick smoke across all of Oregon and Washington.  Much cleaner air just across the border in Canada.


Then the view at 5pm tomorrow after almost 24 hours of easterly flow


Look at that punch of cleaner air moving through much of Eastern Washington and right down into NW Oregon.  NASA’S GEOS-5 model shows a similar situation with smoke thinning the next 24 hours.

So the current air quality readings might improve quite a bit in the metro area and Gorge tomorrow afternoon.  At this moment it’s just as bad as we saw during last week’s smoky period

AirQuality Western Oregon

Looking ahead, it’s very obvious we have a sharp turn towards fall-like weather beginning Thursday.  It’s not that we’re suddenly going to turn rainy with highs in the 60s, but there’s no sign of a return to 90s or even 80s through the end of August (just 10 days away).

Check out the ECMWF ensemble chart for 850mb temps for the next two weeks.  Very good agreement that we’re headed into a much cooler period.  The green line is the average temperature at that elevation around 5,000′.  Notice most of the time Thursday and beyond the forecast temp is below that line.  Red is the average of all the ensemble members.  If this is the case, we’re done with the endless warm-hot days of summer and headed into a early fall pattern.

tseries_850t_000-360_Portland (1)

Unfortunately at this point I don’t see a good chance for a big soaking…the ECMWF average rainfall for this entire period is less than 1/2″ of rain.  Still, this weather will put a damper on fire behavior…baby steps toward the approaching wet season.

As for temps, you can see the stark change from Wednesday into Thursday as onshore flow kicks in and temps lower


I’ll be off the next few days, but back at work Sunday.  Things should look quite a bit different by then.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

64 Responses to Thick Smoke = Cooler Today, Back to Hot Tuesday

  1. W7ENK says:

    Two questions:

    1) Did it rain last night? The dust on my car is all spotty.

    2) Did the smoke come back again? The sky is a little orangey, and I can smell it. 😦

    • Boring Rain says:


    • W7ENK says:

      Turns out, #1 was a negative. My neighbor moved her sprinkler and accidentally oversprayed onto my car. No biggie, but would explain why my car (parked under a tree) had water spots in the dust, when my girlfriend’s car (parked out in the open) did not. That was the confusing part.

      As for the smoke, seems yes, indeed, it did return.

      Finally got some light drizzle at 3pm today. It smelled so good! 🙂

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    Low clouds and steady light (or very light) rain here since 7:20am. this isn’t the soaker I was thinking of a week ago, but if it keeps raining through the afternoon and into the evening hours (however lightly) we’ll have our wettest day since June.

  3. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    It managed to drop to 42.8 this morning, the coldest August temp I’ve had here since moving in 2010. Lots of high clouds and smoke now too.

  4. Boring Rain says:

    Smoke again.

  5. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Looks like we might eek out another 90 next Tuesday. It’s not so upsetting this time beside it will be a one day dealio. Also, the nights are getting longer and the above 60 lows should soon or already be a thing of the past. The GFS nailed this again well before the ECMWF. The Euro is still the king, but a few times this summer the GFS has been the leader.

  6. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I was looking at the 12Z GFS (looking at the North America View which you can also see out into the Pacific) with the 850mb (5000ft). I saw something interesting at the end of the run. A big pool of cold air (running around -1 to -2C) comes out into the Pacific from Alaska. I know…it’s way out there and probably won’t happen but it was interesting and thought I would share it with all of you….lol.

  7. Ann says:

    Blue sky sightings in SE Portland!

  8. ron says:

    smoke is gone at the coast!

  9. Boring Rain says:

    Still smoke.

  10. alohabb says:

    Call an hvac company and ask for an “air scrubber “ to completely clean the air in your house. I have had neighbors in my house to help clear the lungs from the poor air quality outside

    Not being a salesman, just offering a solution

  11. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Just went outside and what do I smell but the smell of rain (actually drizzle…lol) it dampened the dust a little…lol. 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

    • Ellen Wallace says:

      it has been sprinkling here in Kelso most of the morning…air smells great!

    • W7ENK says:

      Just came in from grabbing lunch in downtown, still smells smoky out there to me, and the air still aggravates my eyes, throat and lungs. 😦

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        We still have some smoke here but I think it will start clearing up soon. Like you, I’m also having issues with my eyes, throat and lungs. I have been using my inhaler the past few days. I’ll be glad when it clears up. When I was a kid, I don’t remember having to deal with smoke. This is soooo not right 😦

      • W7ENK says:

        Yeah, I don’t have an inhaler., but one would be handy about now, especially since I’ve pretty much coughed my voice away since last weekend. An inhaler would require a visit with my doctor, who is booked out 6 weeks minimum, and to get one through urgent care would literally cost me a small fortune that I do not have right now. 😦

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          I don’t know if you can do this but I can email my doctor’s office and ask them if they could fill a prescription for an inhaler? That’s if you have had an inhaler before though? If they can, then ask them to send the prescription to a pharmacy in your area. It’s a thought, hopefully they could do that for you. 🙂

        • W7ENK says:

          Even so, it would cost me about $480 out of pocket. End of the month and between paychecks, that’s just not a possibility.

          Smoke is supposed to clear out l̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶, t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶, b̶y̶ ̶1̶0̶a̶m̶, b̶y̶ ̶n̶o̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶, by 4pm, so I should be fine.

  12. Boring Rain says:

    Smoke is the worst I’ve seen it this morning. At least it won’t be hot today.

  13. K says:

    So, apparently the air quality is still awful. Ugh.

    • Paul D says:

      It just dropped like a rock in Hillsboro in the last hour – from over 150 to 66. Looks like that’s the end of the nasty air quality!

  14. W7ENK says:

    I thought the smoke was supposed to clear out of here last night with the marine push? Instead, it seems worse this morning. It smells stronger and is having more of an impact on my eyes/throat/lungs now than it did over the last couple of days. Maybe the marine stratus came in over the top of it, and now it’s trapped?

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      There was a lot of smoke over the ocean and when the wind shifted all that smoke came over us. I also want to say that because the airmass is cooler (which cool air sinks) so the smoke is settling lower which is were we live. I want to say that by this afternoon/evening we will see the air get better.

      At least that is my opinion. I see the GFS has more moisture in the run. We really need some rain. This year has been so dry. It actually started last fall. It will be a welcome site to see if we get some rain 🙂

  15. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Not surprisingly, any chance of meaningful rain in the near future has evaporated. We have had 1.25” of rain since May 1st. That has to be the driest such period on record. No bueno.

    • W7ENK says:

      I noticed that, too. All the rain has disappeared from all the forecasts. Like we didn’t see that coming though, right?

      I was a little bummed about rain on Friday since I got suckered into hosting my neighborhood BBQ this year. Saturday was supposed to be dry, which was nice because a good friend of mine is getting married — outdoor wedding/reception — so it would be nice if that stayed dry. But Sunday? I was kind of looking forward to sitting inside and watching the rain fall outside my living room window all day, was imaginings a day-long gully washer! Now, looks like I get to stare out my window at the dead grass and parched, dusty Earth.

  16. bryan says:

    Can anyone tell me how the smoke situation is along the coast? i’m heading out there from TN starting labor day for 2 weeks. staying in manzinita and just touring up and down the coast. is the smoke bad along the coast?

  17. W7ENK says:

    Okay, so this may be a bit of a bizarre observation, but, here goes…

    While I was out watering my garden just a bit after sunset, I noticed the temperature was in the low 80s and holding steady. The wind suddenly kicked up from the NW, and the humidity bumped up almost immediately, but the temperature stayed in the low 80s. There was this weird mix of hot and smoky air, and humid marine air blowing in, and the mix of the two suddenly smelled strongly of chlorinated sea water… best I can describe it. It was rather unpleasant — quite frankly, it was disgusting. I’ve never experienced anything quite like that before. Even now, at almost 11pm I can still smell it fainly coming in the window.

    Just curious if anyone else happened to notice the same?

  18. JohnD says:

    Woo Hoo! (Champagne corks popping in the surround!)

  19. Roland Derksen says:

    Air quality is at its worst today. Man, it’s so smoky! Thank goodness a change is coming- it can’t come soon enough.

  20. W7ENK says:

    BOOM! It’s done.

  21. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Hopefully it’s the last 90 until next August.

  22. K says:

    PDX just hit 90, we broke the record everybody.

  23. Paul D says:

    We have tied the 2015 record. Tomorrow it goes down. 😦

    • JohnD says:

      Yep. We “should” break it Wed. Fun stuff for those of us into records. Sure seems like this event would be getting more press. Maybe it will when/If it happens. Of course we all know too that Sept.–and even early Oct.–can see 90’+ days!

  24. Cliff Gavic says:

    Today we have 95 and clear skies in sandy. Apparently tomorrow will be a repeat of today. The we’re supposed to be fogged in with marine clouds thursday through next tuesday with possible drizzle. Culver, where one of my siblings live, have 80 today and tomorrow, then mid to upper 70’s thursday through Monday with clear skies.

  25. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Just bought a anemometer so I can read the wind speed up at Crown Point 🙂

    • Paul D says:

      Gonna attempt to hold it while those mega wind gusts are blowing? Have someone video you 🙂

    • Cliff Gavic says:

      I have yet to make it to crown point. Due to that stiff wind. Have fun.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      It won’t be here until next week. I bought it so I would have it when we have strong winds this fall/winter. I’m hoping to have a friend with me this year. Every time I went up there last winter my friends were to busy to come up with me. Hopefully this fall/winter it will be different 🙂

  26. Love the “September” type east winds

  27. K says:

    It’s very gusty in the West Hills right now.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      The winds at Crown Point are around 40 mph. Since your a little higher than me I would say you would see winds that are stronger. 🙂

      I’m glad my prediction is coming true about cooler weather. I really didn’t feel like eating crow…lol. I see the GFS has been bring a little more moisture for our area. If this comes true, it will be nice to have some liquid coming out of the sky to help with the fires in the PNW. Just wish California could get some to help them. ;(

  28. W7ENK says:

    Good lord, it’s already 81 degrees at 10am…

    Noon-time temperature + 10 degrees = 5pm daytime high. If this smoke leaves quickly enough, we could be pushing 100 by the early afternoon.

  29. pappoose in scappoose says:

    The east wind has begun.
    Blast that clear/clean Montana air in here!

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Cool, there is another website you can go to and tell how fast the east winds are blowing.

      I’m looking forward to when the wind start pushing 80+ because I will but up there experiencing it…hehe 😉

      • pappoose in scappoose says:

        I’m in on that. Always fun to sharpen up the body bracing techniques.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Lol, I was up there one day earlier this year (or was it the end of last year…as I rub my chin…hehe). I swear the winds were around 100 mph. I kept looking at that website and it was around 90 but I swear it was stronger. There were times I could barely stand. I will say this, after staying in the wind for about 30 minutes, it will take your breath away…lol

  30. W7ENK says:

    Was dead calm earlier this morning, but now the wind is picking up in downtown. The trees are dancing a little…

  31. alohabb says:

    I think the smoke is far worse than expected and will keeps below 90. I’m not ready to let go of summer , cause now I have to take down the dam pool.

    • K says:

      Yeah, the air quality is worse than yesterday right now. But gusty winds here in the West Hills, first time in a few months that I hear the trees swaying outside.

  32. Paul D says:

    Hey 90’s – don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    Welcome 70’s – it’s gonna feel nice!

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      LOL, I’m with you. I’m not a fan of having 90+ degrees day after day after day. Ideally I don’t mind temps at 80 to 82 but anything above that is a little to much for me.

      The GFS and EURO seems to want to give us a little more rain. Let’s hope we will get some rain to help with the fires.

  33. alohabb says:

    There is quite a bit of smoke still in the area on the west side this morning. Maybe this breeze will scour it out.

  34. W7ENK says:

    Today was a hard and complete bust! High of only 81 at my place in Milwaukie.


    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Hehe, I think it’s harder to know what the temp will be when we have this much smoke in the air…lol.

      It looks like my prediction is coming true. I think a couple of blogs ago I said this week could be the last of the continuous 90 degree weather 🙂

      I hope your doing well. It will be nice to see cooler weather. Some rain will be nice but I don’t see a whole lot in the models for now. The GFS has been showing more rain each run that comes out. Let’s see if the Euro comes around to the GFS 🙂

      • Roland Derksen says:

        I thought yesterday was going to be another cool day because of the thick smoke: Well, that turned out wrong because we developed a pretty good NE breeze which thinned out the smoke, and by late afternoon it was up into the high 80’s here. Today it’ll be about the same maximum.

        • WEATHERDAN says:

          Salem now on our 2nd longest stretch of consecutive rainless days. Today is the 73rd consecutive day without measurable rainfall. The record is 79 set in 1967. We have had 33 days o at least 90 degrees this Summer. The record was set in 2017 at 38. Currently cloudy and smoky and 66 degrees. Peace.

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