First 70 degree days of 2020 ahead!

8pm Tuesday…

After a very cool two weeks, the Pacific Northwest has “turned the corner” and now we’re seeing more typical April weather.  In fact temperatures will be near or above normal for at least the next week.  Plus, we’re headed for our first 70 degree day of 2020 tomorrow!  This is the typical time of year we see our first 70 degrees.

First 70 Degree Day Heatwave

Over the past 30 days most of the western USA has been experiencing below average temperatures.  Only the yellow/orange colors on this map represent warmer than average weather:

anomimage (1)

Precipitation has been below normal as well…in this case the colors yellow/orange on the map below represent drier than typical conditions over the past month:


High pressure is building offshore and upper-level maps show that ridge cozying up to the West Coast the next two days.  Right now:




But then the ridge weakens a bit and shifts a little farther west again.  This is Easter Sunday.  Much of the nation east of the Rockies will see some cold Easter Egg hunts.


For us?  The strong ridging just west of us the next week means little or no rain.  That’s the easiest part of the forecast.  Then it’s a matter of how warm we get the next two days and how much cloud cover Friday/Saturday as a weak disturbance moves by.

First the warm weather.  Today we’ve seen relatively strong “onshore flow”, that’s air flowing from ocean inland.  But models show 2-3 millibars of easterly flow through the Gorge and over the Cascades by midday tomorrow.   Easterly wind from late March to mid-October is a “warm” wind.  That’s warm relative to normal.  Not like that cold east wind from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day.   The WRF-GFS model from UW shows this at 2pm:


Tomorrow we add in 850 millibar temperatures (temp at 4,000′ or so) of +10-12 deg. celsius; quite a bit warmer than the +4 we saw today.  Then add all-day sunshine both tomorrow and Thursday.  Taking a look at my warm season “magic chart” for April, historically we have seen high temps at PDX between 72-80 degrees with this same setup.  In 2009, we hit 78 at PDX on April 6th with similar conditions. Those 80 degree highs on my chart were likely later in the month.  So, our forecast of 72 tomorrow and 74 Thursday seems good.  It’s quite possible we hit 70 tomorrow and 76 Thursday instead.  Or 73/73.

You get the idea…it’s going to feel like May for the next two days!

Onshore flow returns Friday with morning clouds, then more of that cool onshore flow might even give us a sprinkle or drizzle Saturday.    This is our only chance for rain in the next 6 days.

As cold air surges south out of Canada Saturday night and Sunday, we get another round of offshore flow.  Although the airmass will be cooler, this means Easter Sunday may just be sunny with temperatures in the lower 60s for your egg hunts.


We are still doing some serious “social distancing” here at KPTV/KPDX like many of you.  In the past 10 days two of our meteorologists have “left” the office.  Both Brian MacMillan and Jeff Forgeron are broadcasting from home.  That’s not because they/we have any virus issues, but to move us farther apart.  Fewer people in one space = good.



It’s amazing; with today’s technology we are able to perform just about all tasks from home that we can do at work.  20 years ago this wouldn’t have been possible.

The rest of us are still working here.  I have to admit I don’t mind working alone in this environment at all.  I go most of the work day without getting physically close to coworkers as mentioned in a previous post.

Stay healthy this week and enjoy the sunshine!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

19 Responses to First 70 degree days of 2020 ahead!

  1. WEATHERDAN says:

    Finally the sun is coming out. I was worried for a while. My first barbeque party of the season is tonight and I want it sunny. What a spectacular Spring it has been so far. Peace

  2. Gene says:

    On Channel 8, Matt Zaffino is doing the weather in his backyard, looking quite comfortable wearing shorts and a T-shirt while sitting in a lawn chair. Mark, you should demand equal treatment! I’m sure your property in Corbett would provide a spectacular backdrop to broadcast the weather from

  3. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    I don’t dislike W7. I think he’s funny sometimes. Seems a bit cranky and sensitive other times.

    I call it like I see it. I do focus on precipitation because that’s what I care about personally. I mainly care because I don’t want our natural beauty to continue to erode. Warmer and drier is not a good combination.

    • boydo3 says:

      60% of average rainfall on the southern Oregon coast. The last week or so has been very summer like but that could (and probably will) change soon…

  4. W7ENK says:

    Is it just me, or does it smell like forest fire outside today? The sky even has a light milky haze to it. Did we suddenly zap forward to September?
    What planet is this?
    Is there anyone out there??

    • Paul D says:

      See Mark’s Facebook post about the fires north of us

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      Agreed. It seems that nowadays a dry Northerly breeze during late spring, summer, or fall, almost always yields some haze and fire scented air.

  5. SKS says:

    General weather/conditions question –
    I am in a mountain town and it snowed the entire night and day (several inches) with a max temperature of 17 degrees (I verified this with multiple thermometers). The strange thing is that the snow never stuck to the streets or side walks. How is this possible at 17 degrees?

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      If there is enough solar radiation (which there is a lot of in mid-April), blacktops can heat up quite a bit. However, 17F seems a bit low. Maybe you had two faulty thermometers?

  6. Anonymous says:

    General weather/conditions question –
    I am in a mountain town and it snowed the entire night and day (several inches) with a max temperature of 17 degrees (I verified this with multiple thermometers). The strange thing is that the snow never stuck to the streets or side walks. How is this possible at 17 degrees?

  7. Winter Enthusiast says:

    Aside from the deaths and economic collapse, the air quality around the world has improved due to people staying home and coal plants shutting down.
    A finding shows people in cities with poor air quality are more susceptible to the Coronavirus vs people living in areas with good air quality. More people die every year from breathing bad air than from this virus.
    There are many pictures showing beautiful skies over some of the most polluted cities in the world. This virus has given us the biggest opportunity to see what could happen if we changed our lifestyles and our impact on the Earth.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      There’s a theory out there because of our significant effect on the climate changing over a short period that we could in fact be postponing the natural cycle into another ice age.

      I’m curious what this Winter will bring as a short period result of all this. I’ve seen L.A. photos of downtown that were stunning (looked clear like Portland!).

      I do think the health reasons are far more prominent and easy to see. I’m sure a PhD student is collecting the number of asthma patients (and other lung related illnesses) doing away with breathalyzer vs. when things ramp up again.

  8. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    This is getting scary… it’s possible the entire state won’t see measurable rain for another 10 days or more. That’s after .18” in the first 8 days. Meanwhile, we are only 5” up on LA since the water year started on October 1st. We are way closer to LA’s rainfall than Seattle’s this water year. The Willamette Valley aka The Desert Northwest…

    • Jake in Gresham says:

    • W7ENK says:

      It literally stopped raining 3 days ago.

      Stop it.

      • K says:

        You two really don’t like each other, do you?

        • W7ENK says:

          I have nothing against him personally, I just tire of his incessant whining about lack of rainfall. You’d almost think there’s some vast conspiracy to deprive Lake Oswego of precipitation.

          I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got my “Milwaukie Dome” concept, but that’s all tongue-in-cheek, and meant to be a silly way to describe a somewhat odd phenomenon. But I certainly don’t spend every single comment/post on here whining about how I don’t get snow in the Winter, or thunderstorms in the Summer.

  9. runrain says:

    The Supermoon is amazing tonight. Check it out! Maybe it’s some kind of sign that better days are ahead. Better weather for sure but lets not blow it by crowding into parks, the Gorge, beaches, etc. There’s a whole summer of warmth ahead!

  10. W7ENK says:

    FWIW, my first 70 degree day of 2020 was almost 3 weeks ago… 🤷🏼‍♂️

%d bloggers like this: