Unusually Dry March Continues; Lots of Sunshine This Week

March 16, 2020

6pm Monday…

Time for a break from the news.  Forget viruses and crashing financial markets, let’s talk about weather!

Spring is back today after three very cold days (for mid-March).  Portland’s high temperature jumped 14 degrees today!


The 42 degree high Saturday broke a record for coldest *high* temperature on March 14th.  Friday and Sunday were close.

Meanwhile, EVERYONE saw a much warmer day today.  Check out the lower 60s along the coast.

Todays Observed Highs OrWa 2017

It only took one day for the unseasonably cold airmass east of the Cascades to modify substantially under the strong mid-March sunshine.  Hood River jumped from 34 to 50 from Sunday to this afternoon.  Government Camp 29 to 45.  That doesn’t happen in winter (December-February).  So our cold east wind Sunday became a mild/warming easterly wind today.

Tomorrow the east wind dies down, that plus 850mb temps around +4 should push us to 60 degrees once again.

Later this week an upper-level disturbance drops down along the West Coast, although it appears just about all the cloud cover and rain stays offshore.  It’s headed for California, not us.  The result is very nice late March weather.  This ECMWF model cloud cover loop covers this evening through Friday morning.  You can see that system swirling offshore Thursday night and early Friday.


This month has been dry.  Sure, somehow PDX picked up almost 3/4″ precipitation Friday/Saturday, but the month is running well below average across most of the West


Every month of this cold season, except January, has been drier than average.

Rain So Far This Month Or and Wa Earth Scene

As that trough passes by, weak upper-level ridging builds overhead Friday/Saturday.  This MAY lead to the warmest temperatures so far this season.  850mb temps come up to around +3 or +4.  That should give us highs 60-65 those two days.

Beyond Saturday?  Models are in pretty good agreement we turn a bit wetter for what WAS Oregon’s Spring Break.  Now it has turned into a very long break that has already begun.

Check out the ensemble precipitation forecast from the ECMWF for the next two weeks.  Most members dry through Sunday, but then a clear signal for wet weather by next Monday.  The lower (green) section shows the ensemble average precipitation accumulation.  Looks wet next week…


That’s it for now, enjoy the sunshine.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen