Warmest Memorial Day Weekend In Decades Has Arrived

8pm Friday…

The big weekend is here folks! I’m at work, and will be part of the weekend, but I know lots of you have plans far away from any job. Maybe headed to (or already at) the ocean beaches, Cascades, Gorge, or Central Oregon?

The forecast is easy this year…all sunshine all weekend from the Coast Range to the Idaho border tomorrow through Monday. Just a few thin high clouds at times. A thin marine layer may return to the beaches Sunday/Monday for areas of low clouds/fog, but otherwise expect abundant sunshine even out there.

Strong high pressure just offshore moves directly overhead at the surface AND high up in the atmosphere the next few days. High pressure = sinking air = mainly sunny & warm. Check out the upper-level ridge over us by Monday; this is a very warm to hot summer weather pattern along the West Coast

Temperatures at 850mb (about 4,000′) soar from around 48 degrees this afternoon, to around 65 by Monday/Tuesday afternoons. That’s about +4 celsius to +18-20 by Tuesday afternoon. That alone will push our high temperatures from around 80 tomorrow to 90 Tuesday. Those temperatures are very dependent on wind direction down here at sea level. Tomorrow will be the one day we get an easterly wind through the Gorge and over the Cascades. Then it’s back to flat or weak onshore flow Sunday/Monday. So even though upper-level temperatures climb Sunday and Monday, we didn’t go wild with high temperatures.

Tuesday is a bit more interesting as a thermal trough (and easterly flow) tries to form west of the Cascades briefly. If that occurs, we could end up INTO the 90s instead of just 90 that day. TBD.

For now, we’re going for these numbers this weekend

If these numbers are correct, IT WILL BE THE WARMEST MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN 26 YEARS IN PORTLAND! That’s if you take the 3 day average of the high temperatures. You can see how it compares with some of the other warmest holiday weekends in the past 40 years. Probably just a little warmer than 2017, just four years ago.

I remember 1983…the earliest we’ve ever hit 100 in Portland AND the only 100 degree day experienced at PDX in the month of May. That was the Saturday. What I remember about that year is the cool/cloudy/drippy weather just two days later with a big marine layer and showers. Quite a swing from 100 to 63 (Saturday to Monday).

If you are headed to the Oregon Coast, or already there, this is what we expect:

And some real summer-like camping in the Cascades too, that doesn’t show up very often for Memorial Day Weekend

As for rain…the next POSSIBLE chance is next Thursday or Friday as the upper-level ridge flattens. A few disturbances could swing by and give us showers or rain.

This will finish off the driest spring on record in Portland, but I’ll save all those dry weather numbers for a Sunday or Monday blog post.

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

29 Responses to Warmest Memorial Day Weekend In Decades Has Arrived

  1. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    I called temps in the 90s this week on May 20th when the Euro ensemble mean was right around 80 each day. 97 was the 90th percentile. I’ve got the algorithm correction figured out. 90th percentile for temps and 10th percentile for precipitation.

    Anybody that enjoys this weather is a masochist.

    • Gene says:

      I’m guessing there are a lot of people who live in Nevada, Arizona, Palm Springs, etc. by choice who might disagree with your assessment!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but the high pressure doesn’t appear to be lingering much this time.

    • W7ENK says:

      Masochist? lol

      Weather like this is the only reason why I put up with our crappy Winters. This only lasts a few days at a time, and it’s the only thing that makes the long, cold, dark, damp, dreary, grey of the other 9 months of the year worth the prolonged agony. I could say the same thing about folks who enjoy day after day after day of that garbage, but to each their own. I don’t judge.

      • Gene says:

        I totally agree with you, W7. We average one 100-degree day each year and about 13 90-degree days. That’s about 14 days a year out of 365 with 90-plus degree heat. I think we can all handle that.

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    86F (30C) for a high here today. I think that’s the warmest start to June for me since 1970.

  3. W7ENK says:

    Briefly touched 90 degrees at my place yesterday, before some high cirrus moved overhead and took the edge off insolation. Expecting 4 or 5 degrees warmer today. Just a tad too humid this time of year, but at least the light NW breeze yesterday made sitting out in the shade quite enjoyable. No wind at all this morning. If that stays, this afternoon might be uncomfortable.

    Preemptively dragged the AC out of storage last evening and set it up in the window. Right on time, today begins our meteorological Summer.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

    • W7ENK says:

      85 at my location at Noon.

      +10 for 5pm temperature = 95F

      +2 for approaching the Summer Solstice window (near max sun angle, longest hours of insolation)

      97 degrees is not out of the question here today, barring any high cirrus during peak heating, like yesterday. The complete lack of wind also helps.

      Same parameters for PDX gives a 5pm high temp of 93. Milwaukie is usually 2 to 4 degrees warmer than PDX on hot days like today, so this still tracks.

      AC on full blast, starting to have trouble keeping up.

      • W7ENK says:


        Time – 4:19 PM
        Temperature – 94.5 F
        Dew Point – 58.0 F
        Humidity – 30%
        Wind – South
        Speed – 0.0 mph
        Gust – 0.1 mph
        Pressure – 29.73 in
        Precip. Rate – 0.00 in
        Precip. Accum – 0.00 in
        UV – 6
        Solar – 632 w/m²

    • W7ENK says:

      2pm 91 degrees
      3pm 95 degrees

      The ambient temperature at 2m in my garden bed is reading 102.8F

  4. Zach says:

    Seems impressive that after such a warm April / May, there is still over 100″ at the base of Timberline. Despite the ongoing drought, the high elevations of the cascades north of Mt. Bachelor seem to have had a pretty good snowpack this year. Better than the past couple years at least.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Yes, but don’t be deceived by it.

      The active short period we had in late Winter / early Spring produced a good snowpack in WA with the Southern portion of that action being Mt. Hood.

      That is how the storms tracked so that is what we have; so the VAST majority of the mountain ranges in Oregon are low on snowpack.

      • Zach says:

        Well, again I am specifically referring to high elevation, 5000ft+. That is the pack which lasts into the summer. Granted I am aware that in the Southwest corner of the state it is a bad situation.

        The ski season at Bachelor went until 5/30 which I believe is a bit later than average. So no, there was good snow down through the central cascades as well. I could be wrong, but I believe the SNOTEL charts are weighted towards lower elevation test sites which always melt out faster. I think Mark mentioned something about that a few posts back…

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          I stand corrected, the central Cascades are indeed not too bad in condition. I’m still not too hopeful for the Eastern part of the State and as you mentioned the Southern part of Oregon (very concerned about Crater Lake as a touristic / economic-at-risk area).

          I will say so that I stand by saying WA had and has way more snowpack than the State of Oregon. We had an active late Winter / early Spring but the Cascades up there was downright busy.

      • Zach says:

        Agreed. WA did great with this La nina. Southern Oregon was completely skunked.

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    My total amount of rainfall for May is 1.90 inches- actually a bit more than April, but still only 60% of average.

  6. time says:

    00zgfs is showing a second heatwave by mid june which is simulare to 2015 we are due for hot summer after cool spring.

    • Mr T says:

      When aren’t we ever due? La Nina leads to near record warmth. El Nino leads to absolute record warmth.

  7. Andy says:

    Enjoying the beautiful weather…we are very fortunate here not having humidity and bugs here in the NW. Looks like one day in the low 90,s and some upper 80,s…I would not call this oppressive weather pattern…than trending cooler again as we get into June. I’m not going to complain just yet…maybe in August with a week in the 90,s and 100’s then i will…

    • Marques. says:


      You just described Pahoa’.. smh.. moved back here just after Kilauea’ s*** the bed.. the one thing I DON’T miss is the bugs, humidity and them dang coqui frogs.. but man, I wish it would give us some of that rain, that’d be awesome, 1 hour of that would make local Oregonian’s understand what real rain is.. LoL.. like 3″ in 1 hour!


  8. Auroraskye Skye says:

    Yick. Depressing. I’m dreading the heat

    On Fri, May 28, 2021 at 7:46 PM FOX 12 Weather Blog wrote:

    > Mark Nelsen posted: ” 8pm Friday… The big weekend is here folks! I’m at > work, and will be part of the weekend, but I know lots of you have plans > far away from any job. Maybe headed to (or already at) the ocean beaches, > Cascades, Gorge, or Central Oregon? The foreca” >

    • Gene says:

      Why has this site become such a haven for weather whiners? Yes, we need more rain, but the three-day forecast for the holiday weekend — which for many people is one of their few three-day weekend vacations of the year — gives people some sunny, warm weather for barbecues, family vacations, outdoor activities, sports events, yardwork, etc. How on Earth can you complain about that?

      • Mr T says:

        When more then half the country except yours is under moderate drought and it’s only late May. And we better hope stupid or evil things don’t lead to another massive F-I-R-E. Wouldn’t that beat the cake?

  9. tim says:

    This is just a prelude to our long hot summer it’s been a cool spring time to make up for it now.

  10. JERAT416 says:

    Have a great weekend everyone! Let’s enjoy the beautiful sunny weekend, and hope for some rain after that.

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