April’s Cold Start Just A Memory Now

April 16, 2020

6pm Thursday…

Today has been another spectacular spring day in the Pacific Northwest.  Skies have been mainly clear from the coastline to the Idaho border.  The GOES-17 image from 5pm…


We have a moderately strong “downslope” & “offshore” in progress.  That means wind has been coming down off the Cascades and through the Gorge, then heading westward over the Coast Range and down over the beaches.  In the warm season this gives us above-normal temps.  Check out the highs so far today, especially the warm coastline…all 70s!

Todays Observed Highs OrWa 2017

Today is the 5th day at/above 70 so far this month.  This is the first time, since that crazy warm April 2016, that we’ve seen so many 70+ days

April 70 Degree Days

At mid-month we’re running just slightly above average temperature-wise. All the more impressive since the first 4 days were very chilly (compared to average)

Almanac Monthly Temps So Far

We are at “mid-spring” weatherwise.  It started 45 days ago and ends 6 weeks from now at the end of May.  How has it been?  DRY is the big story, we’re running well below average since both March and now April have seen well below normal temps

Spring Rain So Far2

March was a slightly chilly month, but now the warmer than average weather in April is
“cancelling” that out.  Basically we’re running about normal with respect to temperature since March 1st.

The soil is very dry in our area, in fact today I went out and watered some fresh forest trees (hemlock+fir) I planted just three weeks ago.  I don’t think we have a soaking rain coming in the next week for those little trees.  Does it seem like we’re seeing more dry springs lately?  If you think so you’d be correct; we’ve only seen one wet mid-late spring out of the past six!  I’m referring to April plus May as you see in this graphic

Spring Rain So Far

Long term our springs have been turning wetter in our area.  Just yesterday I checked to see if there were many Aprils with less than .30″ rain in the first half of the month in Portland.  I was surprised to see that there were a bunch!  Almost all from the 1940s-60s, but then very few after that time.  Interesting stuff, likely cyclical?

What’s ahead?  

  1. Think June for tomorrow.  Leftover offshore flow in the morning, then the wind goes calm through maximum heating hours in the afternoon.  This is a perfect setup for the warmest day of the week.  My chart says somewhere between 74 & 80 for a high temp at PDX.  We might be conservative forecasting 75, but we’ll be close
  2. A weak upper-level disturbance drops out of Canada on Saturday.  This will set off a few showers.  Along with onshore flow, that’ll drop our high temps back to normal Saturday along with lots of cloud cover.
  3. Sunday-Tuesday we’re back to pleasant weather with weak upper-level ridging overhead…64-68 degree highs are likely…no rain

The next real chance for rain appears to be the 2nd half of next week.  Models are trying to bring in some westerly flow and some systems from off the Pacific.  This would be more typical April weather with showers at times and lots of clouds.  The ECMWF ensemble “qpf” chart shows very good agreement on some sort of mid/late week soaking, or at least more than 1/4″ of rain.  Standards for “a soaking” are a bit low right now.


So…enjoy the pleasant April weather for the next 5 days (minus a few showers Saturday), and keep the pots on your deck/patio watered.

Weather Office Coronavirus Update:  All is going well here.  We are all healthy.  Brian and Jeff are still working from home.  Andy, Anne, & I continue to work here at the station.  Along with the rest of our coworkers, keeping about half at home really spreads us out.  Plus we practically get the kitchen to ourselves!!!

I have backed off blogging, not just due to slow weather, but we’re doing something new for the next few weeks.  We’re calling it MARK KNOWS.

These are quick weather lessons each weeknight through early May on our FOX12OREGON Facebook page; a live Facebook event in which you can ask questions.  Are your kids bored?  This is sort of a “weather classroom”.  Each weeknight at 7pm one of us (mainly me) will take on a topic.  Last night I talked about rainbows and quadruple rainbows.  Tonight at 7 we’ll make a cloud appear in a bottle, plus explain “blue clouds”.  Feel free to join us!

Mark Knows Weather Lessons Promo

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen