11 Consecutive Sunny Days in April, But Clouds & Rain In Sight

9pm Wednesday…

Drought and fire weather concerns aside, this has been an amazing stretch of summer weather…in mid-April! Today we made it to 78 degrees in Portland; similar to an early July day

Think back…how many times can you recall waking up to sunshine for 11 consecutive days? It’s nothing unusual if you live east of the Cascades of course (drier climate). But west of the mountains, even in summer, it’s rare. From fall through spring it doesn’t happen because we have weather systems moving through from time to time. In July and August we get occasional surges of cooler marine air and low clouds. So even in the peak of summer we typically don’t see more than 7 cloudless days. Sure, we’ve seen some high clouds a couple mornings recently, but no significant cloud cover since Saturday the 10th! I don’t have stats for cloud cover, but I think it’s quite likely we haven’t seen this in April in a long time!

APRIL TEMPERATURES

Today is the 8th consecutive 70 degree day in Portland.

This is the longest stretch in the 70s ever observed here in April. Those records go back to 1940.

We set one record high for the date last Saturday, but no other warm temperature records. In fact, as of this moment it’s just the 13th warmest April on record; well below 2016, 2004, and just last year. It’s probably fair to assume the ranking will drop once we hit the cool/showery weather this weekend. So it’s not a spectacularly warm April, but consistently warm. I’ve never seen such a long stretch of offshore flow and extremely low humidity in March or April. Probably not in May either. Dewpoints have regularly been in the 30s, or even 20s for multiple days. The woods around my house are as dry/crunchy as mid-summer after repeated bouts of the dry easterly wind. I’ve watered my deck pots several times over the past week or so. Luckily much of the Cascades remains under at least some snowpack and we still have the subsoil wet from winter rains.

APRIL RAIN

So dry…only 2 days with measurable rain in the first three weeks of the month. So far, just .09″ rain this month.

Of course we can easily get 1-2″ rain in a week this time of year so don’t assume it’s going to be any sort of record dry April.

WHAT’S AHEAD

An upper-level trough will move through the Pacific Northwest this weekend, with the first rain arriving Friday evening (late). You can see the well below average heights in the atmosphere on the Sunday ECMWF ensemble 500mb chart. This screams cold showers, maybe hail and thunder too.

By the middle of next week, a (transitory) upper-level ridge is overhead, cutting off the rain again. More rain should return the latter half of next week as April wraps up.

On the ECMWF 24 hour precipitation ensemble chart, you see the solid chance for a soaking rain this weekend, but plenty of gaps the middle of next week (Tuesday/Wednesday). Then more widespread rain again later in the week. Each horizontal line is one individual ensemble member. On a side note, these ensembles are run at a lower resolution than the “operational” ECMWF run, but about a year from now the resolution will be upgraded significantly.

The GEFS (GFS ensembles) are similar

Could we see an inch or more in the lowest/driest areas west of the Cascades before the month wraps up? Possibly. Both the GEFS & EPS are showing 1-2″ in the last 7 days of the month in the lowlands with 2″ or more in the foothills and Cascades/Coast Range

So I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a drier than average April, but it’s unlikely we’ll see a record dry month. Let’s hope for a soaking at some point in May!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

33 Responses to 11 Consecutive Sunny Days in April, But Clouds & Rain In Sight

  1. JohnD says:

    Yeah, underperforming w-e precip event here in PDX! Such an interesting year so far.
    —-
    Also I want to again thank Tanis for his hugely great and comprehensive historical summary of Portland/NW Oregon Arctic events. I printed it when he posted it in March and filed it today for future reference!

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    Plenty of rain here today in southern BC as well.

  3. tim says:

    .65 for seattle so far this weekend and we’re over 2″ above normal since January 1st we don’t need anymore so enough is enough.

    • Zach says:

      Yeah, the storm tracks has favored WA 95% of the time this water year…

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        I have been saying the same thing for almost 2 years. The best illustration currently is to compare Eugene and Olympia. Very similar average annual precipitation. Water year to date, Eugene has 24”. Olympia has 44”. Incredible discrepancy. I believe that last water year was similar or even more lopsided in Olympia’s favor.

        I can’t find Longview’s data right now, but I know the result would be pretty similar.

        There is something at play that is consistently keeping the brunt of rainfall to our north. At this point, it is a clear pattern and not a series of coincidences.

        • Tanis Leach says:

          I can’t explain last year, I can explain that this year the La Nina generally forces storm tracks to go further north.

  4. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    I hate being right sometimes. .10” to .30” for the weekend looks to be coming to fruition. Today will be bone dry for most of us. A wet weekend these days is .17” of rain.

    Looks like we’re a shoe-in for the driest April ever. That’s after a close to record dry March. That’s after a very dry end of February. Long-term outlook looks like more of the same. Still haven’t had more than .25” in a day since Valentine’s Day.

    I’m running out of superlatives to describe this.

  5. Mr T says:

    Looks like the ole delete police are at it again. Only 2 comments today? I think we broke a record low! 🤣🛸🙃

    • Tanis Leach says:

      I realize you’re trolling, but keep in mind that 2 comments is not a record low. I highly doubt that Mark is deleting comments. Plus there is people like me who took a break recently (not because of weather, but for mental health)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very much enjoying the cool, overcast and rainy day

  7. Roland Derksen says:

    Some light rain here overnight, and the sun is shining through some thin spots in the cloud cover. Looks and feels like spring again.

  8. 5OClockCharlie says:

    “The positioning and speed of those two systems out in the eastern pacific for example keeps rapidly changing, which will dramatically alter the forecast depending on its final position and the high pressure it’s going up against. That’s what makes me less optimistic about rain.”

    That’s from my comment on the 16th which appears to be holding true. My optimism actually grew the last couple of days too, oh well…

    The 00Z Euro model I’m looking at went from temps in the 60s next Thursday to temps in the 80s now. Not sure if the model is broken or it’s due to that high pressure creeping in

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      You should always be pessimistic about rain here. It’s not pessimism, it’s realism.

      I can see mid to possibly upper 70s mid-next week, but I don’t see 80s. Yet.

      • Zach says:

        12z Euro looks more optimistic for showers late next week.

        • tim says:

          Cliff mass said today on his podcast we could get between 1 and 1.5″ by end of next week.

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          Right… Maybe for his forecast area. It’s looking like all meaningful precipitation next week will stay to our north. BC will probably get soaked.

        • 5OClockCharlie says:

          Those showers look to be a stray band coming off the tail of a system in NW BC, which interestingly has a huge blob of high pressure developing right over it around the same time. I’m no expert, but that seems like less than ideal conditions for any precipitation to occur in the valley.

      • 5OClockCharlie says:

        Pessimistic about rain in Portland sounds more like insanity than realism, but it’s hard to argue with what we’ve seen this spring so there’s that…

        12z came back down to a more reasonable 72 degrees

  9. Roland Derksen says:

    Well, it was a nice run of dry sunny weather, but it’s ending now. I ‘m not too unhappy about it though. We need the rain and it doesn’t look like we’ll get a deluge. May is coming, and we usually get some warm dry days then.

  10. lurkingsince’14 says:

    Wow as others have said the long range looks dry again. Have to think we’ll get a wet June at this point, or at least hope.

  11. Jason Hougak says:

    The woods are as dry as mid summer. Even areas that are typically damp have dried out due to the low humidity and dry wind. We should all take warning⚠️

  12. tim says:

    00z Gem has no rain after this weekend thru May 3rd wonder if the gfs will follow.

  13. Garron near Hillsboro airport says:

    Amazing how this upcoming wet spell has been dying. Went from an inch plus of rain, now looking 1/2″ or less by next Monday. Maybe showers next Thursday. I don’t usually pray foo rain, but as dry as we are now, imagine trying to celebrate independence day if it stays this dry…I have really enjoyed being outside this spring though.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Let me rephrase that for you… amazing how every wet spell in the past 2 months has died as it approaches.

      After Monday, it looks very dry indefinitely again. If we don’t break April’s all-time dry record, it will be very close. That’s after a near record dry March. And May will start dry.

  14. tim says:

    Why do we expect rain in the spring and summer when the rainy season starts October 1 and ends April 1, I guess we’re a bunch of ducks.

  15. Roland Derksen says:

    I have about a third of an inch here so far. But the forecast for the next few days will probably push it to over an inch. It won’t be a record dry April for me.

  16. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Looking like .10” – .30” for most of the metro area through Sunday evening. Probably .25” as an average. Areas to our south should fair a bit better. Won’t even put a small ding in our deficit. At least it won’t be warm, arid, and windy. The bar is real low these days.

  17. JERAT416 says:

    Summer can wait for summer. I’m ready to have things be seasonal for now.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to any kind of rain. This weather is nice – in July! Where it should stay. Really hoping to avoid yet another summer with bad fires.

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