Coldest October Start in Almost 50 Years; But Mainly Dry Weekend Ahead

9:00pm Thursday…

These first 10 days of October have been the coldest in Portland since the early 1970s!  Not only did we see a record low temperature of 33 in Portland this morning; but it was the earliest 33 degree reading since 1985!  Take a look at some of the lows around the metro area

PDX Observed Low Today

You’ll notice that some of us did not have a “first frost”.  Much of East Portland saw enough of an easterly breeze to keep temperatures up around 40 degrees.  A northerly breeze kept some Willamette Valley locations a bit on the “warm” side as well.  Now check out the frigid temps east of the Cascades…amazing for early October.  Single digits at Burns.

Todays Observed Lows OrWa 2017

That 13 at La Grande is the coldest October temp in 13 years!  And it happened by the 10th of the month.  The last time Redmond was this cold (13) in the first half of October was 50 years ago!  Redmond has been all the way down to zero and even a little below in October, but it has always been in the last few days of the month.  This was a very rare event, and I think it’s VERY interesting that we’ve seen something similar occur twice now this fall.  The same weather setup a month from now would give us a blast of cold arctic air.

What’s ahead?  More of the same tomorrow, except a stronger east wind blowing through the west end of the Columbia River Gorge and east metro area.  Gusts have been in the 40-50 mph rage.  Expect those gusts to bump up to around 50-60 there tomorrow and 25-35 mph in east metro.  Of course we’ll see sunshine all day too.

This Weekend

Definitely a “meh” weekend ahead.  A very weak system dies overhead late Saturday and Sunday.  Lots of clouds but very little rain.  We lose the east wind Saturday.  At best we could see .10″ rainfall total by late Sunday.  Monday looks dry too.

There are strong hints that we’ll see our first soaking rain of October the 2nd half of next week.  See the ECMWF model forecast of 24 hour rainfall.  Each thin horizontal line is one of the 51 ensemble members on the top half.  The bottom half shows the average of all ensemble members.  Good agreement that next Wednesday-Saturday will be wet, maybe not excessively so, but back to normal.  Expect lots more cloud cover too.


All the more reason to enjoy this fantastic sunny/cool October weather.  Have a great weekend!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

30 Responses to Coldest October Start in Almost 50 Years; But Mainly Dry Weekend Ahead

  1. W7ENK says:

    Here’s a nice breakdown of what to expect this week and into next.

    • boydo3 says:

      Nice to see Washington getting a bunch of rain. Last fall/winter was verging on drought (a relative term).

  2. Kyle says:

    In case you don’t see the link here is the actual message. Due to fiscal year contract processing restrictions, NOWData will be unavailable for a short period. In the meantime, please use the National Centers for Environmental Information’s (NCEI) Climate Data Online (CDO) resource. If you are not automatically redirected there within 15 seconds or have pop-ups blocked, please go to

    The link it has you go to doesn’t provide anything.

  3. Kyle says:

    What’s up with the NWS NOW Historical Data being down and what does this fiscal year error message mean? It’s been there for weeks now.

    Doesn’t matter which region you type it in for either. Anybody with NWS techie language conversion?

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    My weather research shows that when we have weather this early we have about a 70% chance of having a cool or cold Winter. Does this me this will be a cold and snowy Winter then? Maybe but no guarantee. However we are way overdue for both an Arctic outbreak and a strong windstorm. I am looking forward to the weather conference at OMSI on the 26th. See you

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      There. Peace

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      I don’t want to be over exaggerating but I’ve never seen this type of cool weather before so soon.

      In September I was looking forward to some late Summer swims in the rivers (the water is nice and warm by that point and slow running). Like out of nowhere I had to turn on the heat and thought “meh one week and it’ll be hot again.” The whole month felt like Octoberish.

      Now October feels like Novemberish.

      Looking at our current forecast there’s some juicy systems in the Pacific lining up and rolling off Alaska (half inch to an inch of rain per day). Reminds me of the late November setup we typically see. I see a few flooded basements if people don’t clean their yards and gutters.

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        That said today was Indian Summer. Everybody is outside my neighborhood after dinner.

        • W7ENK says:

          Doesn’t meet the criteria for an “Indian Summer.”

          official definition of Indian Summer is a heat wave after the first frost.

          We’ve been far from a heat wave, in fact, temps barely reached the threshold for “normal” for this time of year. In the Western Valleys of the PNW, a heat wave is defined at 3 consecutive days over 90 degrees, or outside of meteorological Summer it’s 3 consecutive days with temperatures 10 degrees or more above climatological normal. That didn’t happen.

          Also, while some areas outside the city may have seen their first frost last week, the metro area in general has not yet.

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Oh wow that’s a pretty extreme definition. So I am right that everything is indeed pretty chilly. Summer was also honestly (to me) not that warm or even hot at all. I hope November brings some good snow for the resorts!

        • OLIVER WATSON says:

          We are having very pleasant weather. No complaints

      • Roland Derksen says:

        It’s been quite a while Jake, but I’ve seen it before: The frost last week reminded me of the early 70’s when we had some cool autumns which led to cold snowy winters. However, as Weatherdan states, it’s no gaurantee that will happen that way this time.

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          I really wish there was weather data during the Oregon Trail days. They had some intense blizzards in the records back then. I remember some paintings at the Oregon Trail museum. Either way I’m excited for what could be an interesting Winter!

        • W7ENK says:

          You’re neglecting the fact that 95% of the Oregon Trail route went across the Great Plains, up and over the Rockies, and through the Intermountain West at elevations mostly over 3,500 feet. Of course they experienced harsh Winters along their journey, it wouldn’t be much different today, 150-200 years later.

          But yes, I agree, it would be nice if there were weather records from various points along the way. There may be, buried in the diaries and logs of many travelers, but that data may never be found, or even less likely, aggregated.

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          True most of it was at elevation and a long time ago but a few paintings were of the Willamette valley. I’m an enthusiast of the rare. I’d say 2008 was the last time we had Winter weather like back then which I agree was a long time ago. Things change for sure. Speaking of the Rockies. Already covered in snow past 2 weeks!

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    We’re now entering mid-October, the period of time when REALLY big rainfalls can occur: Back on Oct.18, 2017 I had 2.21 inches, and for 2 days in October 2003 (the 16th-17th) I measured 6.84 inches. It may not happen this year, or perhaps later in the year, but I’m always reminded of the possibility.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    Some showers here in the late morning, but skies cleared by noon and we had a pretty mild (59F) afternoon.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And everyone was worried Portland/Oregon’s weather was changing, trending towards warmer. Guess we all know that’s not the case… now it’s just colder, earlier, again…. like the old days.

    • OLIVER WATSON says:

      I wouldn’t jump the gun on that “cooling” assumption so soon. We’ve had way more warm temp anomalies than cold in the last 10 years

    • Paul D says:

      Just when you think you got it figured out, it changes 🙂

    • W7ENK says:

      I think you’re confusing the terms “weather” and “climate.” While related, they’re two very different things.

  8. A rare 2nd week of October east wind event peaked this morning. i can’t remember seeing anything like this before Halloween.

    Peak Gusts
    Crown Point: 70mph @8:06 AM, 11:46 AM
    (That would be 80mph+ along the stairs!)
    Corbett: 52mph @ 6:05 AM, 8:38 AM

    [Peak Gradients]

    [Gorge/Gap Gradients]
    PDX-DLS: -8.3mb @9 AM)
    TTD-DLS: -7.8mb @10 AM)
    [Cross Cascade Gradients]
    PDX-YKM: -9.1mb @8 AM)
    PDX-MWH: -9.3mb @7 AM)
    PDX-GEG: -9.5mb @11 AM)
    OTH-GEG: -13.4mb @4 AM)

    00z GFS in 4 hours 30 minutes
    00z GEM in 4 hours 52 minutes
    00z ECMWF in 6 hours 47 minutes

  9. W7ENK says:

    That East wind last night was something else! Relentless would be an appropriate word for it. Downright frightening at times, too. I had a handful of heavy gusts that woke me up, the sound was so loud I worried one of my trees was going to get blown down onto the house. Recorded a tree-sheltered (because of leaves and I still haven’t cut it back for the season yet) gust of 31 mph at 3:24am.

  10. Roland Derksen says:

    Not quite as cold here this morning (34F), but definetly below normal. Campbell River (a place up on Central Vancouver Island) had a low of 23F yesterday.

  11. Anomynous says:

    Typical October week eh Mark?

  12. …for me, it’s another classic example of cold air pooling in the grande ronde valley bottom…13 there, while at my perch a few hundred feet higher on a hillside slightly above Cove, the temp only made it down to 18…

  13. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    The ECMWF continues to be way wetter than the GFS over the next 10 days. 4” or so
    Compared to 1” or so. Huge discrepancy. The ECMWF seems to have had a cold and wet bias for our area for a while now. I’m not buying it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I remember about 18yrs ago while building a house for an organic farmer near Albany, we had a very cold stretch late in the month of October. They lost a big part of their fall greens due to freezing temps. But the rest of the fall and winter was quite benign.

  15. ocpaul says:

    Loving this Fall! Hope it’s a trend. First?

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