95 Degree Day Greets The Start of Meteorological Summer

9pm Tuesday…

After experiencing our warmest Memorial Day Weekend since 1992, the weather scene REALLY heated up today. A very warm airmass + light offshore flow + all sunshine led to a record setting hot day. Portland hit 95 degrees, but look at all the other records!

Each of those numbers is a record for the date…not the month. The Dalles made it to 103. Surprisingly, Astoria hit 80 briefly, even with the weak/flat thermal trough centered inland, not on the beaches.

Of course last night marked the end of “meteorological spring”. That’s March/April/May in the Northern Hemisphere. You may be thinking spring doesn’t end until the summer solstice on June 20th right? That would be “traditional spring” like you see on a calendar. But official spring (according to NOAA) has just finished. And what a spring it has been. I’ve never seen such a dry spring here, and almost no one alive has seen it this way either.

It wasn’t about the temperature…Portland ended up just a bit above average. A cool March was balanced out by a warm April and slightly warm May

But check out the rain! Over 6″ less than normal…which is just above 9″. Not only was this the driest spring on record at PDX, but only about 1/2 of the previous record! This spring blows all the others out of the water. Grasses are drying quickly as if it’s early-mid July.

This was a historic spring with respect to rain…here are some other rankings:

  • #2 Driest DOWNTOWN PORTLAND: 3.83″ (driest was 1924 = 2.76″, #3 was 1939 = 3.92″)
  • #1 Driest PENDLETON: 1.01″
  • #2 Driest ASTORIA: 7.51″ Records go back into 1880s!
  • #3 Driest MEDFORD: 1.84″
  • #8 Driest SALEM: 4.54″ Records go back to 1870s!

Who would have expected a slightly warm and record dry spring in an La Niña year? A bit dry would have been normal, but not the combo of record dry and warm-ish.


Just about out of time so I’ll make it quick. The hot ridging overhead weakens slowly the next 2 days. By this weekend and next Monday, we’re under a cool upper-level trough

Then the trough lingers/weakens through the rest of next week. This is the ECMWF ensemble average of 500mb height for June 10th (NEXT Thursday). A little bit of troughing, but it seems to be centered farther south.

Considering there will be upper-level troughing nearby from Saturday through next week, models sure aren’t producing much rainfall. The 15 day ECMWF forecast takes us through the first half of the month

Less than 1″ through the Willamette Valley with many areas seeing less than 1/2″. That’s not good. CMC (Canadian) ensemble is similar

Same general idea…less than 1″ for the first half of the month in the western valleys. It’s ALMOST time to panic rain-wise. Even I’m worried now about well water as we go into the 2nd half of summer. We have just about run out of time to see any real soaking rain. How much rain did we have form this point forward through June the past 10 years? Only 3 of those 10 saw significant rain (2″ or more)

I’ll dig a bit deeper into this when I get back next week. I just worked 13 of the last 14 days so I’ve got a bunch of days off.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

47 Responses to 95 Degree Day Greets The Start of Meteorological Summer

  1. Ken in Wood Village says:

    So, I haven’t posted for awhile. I’ve been very busy with work but thought I would post something. Since the Portland radar is down for repairs, I’m outside on my lunch and I’m looking East. There are some very dark clouds and it looks like it’s raining. Just wondering if it could develop into a thunderstorm 🤔 I think the flow is North to NW. Let’s see what happens 😉

  2. Andy says:

    This was mentioned in the NWS forecast discussion tonight…seems were on a roller coaster starting the summer with our temps…

    freezing level
    and snow levels will also be lower than typically expected at this
    time of year running 5-7000 feet MSL with light snow dustings
    possible across the high Cascades.

  3. tim says:

    Today’s cpc 8-14 is showing a pattern change to warmer/dryer then normal, maybe a hot second half of june and fourth.

    • Jake says:

      Traditionally the 4th of July is kind of the kick off for my brain in knowing sunburns and heatwaves are ahead that make Summer what it is for us.

      In the same category with end of February being the end of any major Winter event due to the sun ability to warm the ground even through the clouds.

  4. tim says:

    A wet january day with .35 of rain and counting and a high of 52, drought? what drought?.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      The one that almost every square inch of real estate west of the Rockies is experiencing.

      • Anonymous says:

        The true answer is from the Columbia river north in western Washington we are not in a drought. Our mountain drainages all have ample snow pack as well.

  5. Zach says:

    Pouring in SE Gresham

    • 5OClockCharlie says:

      I was just out and about. There was a few measily drops out by Newberg. Some steady drizzle in Wilsonville and Tualatin. Zilch in West Linn, completely dry. Lots of variability for now, but I’m sure the real rain is on the way

  6. Jake says:

    Mark any chance of a thunderstorm tomorrow / Sunday?

  7. W7ENK says:

    ♩♪♫♬ Here come the clouds, doo-da-doo-doooo… ♬♫♪♩

  8. JERAT416 says:

    I would love to take last year’s June rain and double it! Add in 3,000 ft snow level and we are good to go ! Early summer reboot.

  9. W7ENK says:

    Nice little surface low spun up off the Coast overnight, a few hundred miles offshore from NoCal. That wasn’t shown in the models. Probably just a random eddy in the marine stratus, but it looks cool!


    The low in the GOA is impressive for this time of year.

  10. Roland Derksen says:

    A shower so brief this morning (about 7:09am) I didn’t have time to see it falling from the clouds- but I saw evidence on the ground! Boy, I sure hope the forecasted showers for the coming weekend will last longer than this. 🙂

  11. Jake says:

    Very interesting last night around 9:30 heading down 224 to 212 toward Damascus I saw a lot of cloud to cloud strikes South in Holcomb area. The clouds were literally glowing orange and yellow in color. Super spectacular view.

    • W7ENK says:

      You must have been seeing it dancing around in the tops of the storms East of Bend. Here’s the GOES-WEST image from a little after that point last night, and you can see there weren’t any clouds within 200 miles of Portland metro.

      Cloud tops on those storms yesterday breached 50,000 feet.

      • Jake says:

        I was really hoping it was more Westward here in the valley.

        I know after a mile out the human eye fails at distance. Nobody in Willamette valley here has said a word; I really wanted this to be here, I’m ready for a good thunderstorm.

        Thanks a lot lol!

  12. tim says:

    00z gfs has another heatwave by mid june which lines up with cpc 8-14 outlook the cpc is also showing warmer then normal thru August, so a cool summer is not happening which is great news for my garden, amen.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Some Euro ensemble members go as high as 109 around the middle of the month. The heatwave is a lock at this point. The GFS gives us .10” of rain in the next 16 days.

      Your garden might enjoy the warmth up there in the cascade foothills of Washington, but I don’t know how anything that’s not irrigated can continue to survive this onslaught.

  13. Michael Gelien says:

    I am hoping to be wrong on this but, I think air pollution is having a tendency to blanket the earth, thus we are seeing reductions in temperature differences between warm/ cold air masses. It is the temperature difference that give our storms more strength, thus how much water it can hold and transport inland and it’s intensity in general.

    I hope I am wrong and things continue to the degree our dry years will impact us is also the degree to which our wet years will come back making up for lost time.

  14. W7ENK says:

    Was up to 93 earlier, but there’s a nice W-ly breeze now that’s taken the edge off, down to 91. Humidity is also up some — it feels kinda muggy at the moment — so I guess that means the marine air is moving in. Will likely be overcast by morning.

    • Zach says:

      Yeah. Saved by the pacific this time. Without it probably would have been 100F given that fast warm up in the morning…

  15. W7ENK says:

    There is a wildfire burning near The Dalles.
    I-84 is closed.

    • W7ENK says:

      UPDATE: The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office is now issuing Level 3 “GO” evacuation orders for Pinewood Manor, Discovery Center, and The Dalles golf course.

    • W7ENK says:

      UPDATE: I-84 reopened between MP 64 – 87. Downed power lines reportedly pulled from the highway. ODOT planning to close the highway again later this evening in order to restore power. US-30, MP 60 – 72 remains closed due to fire in the area.

  16. Andy says:

    currently 83.3F here in Albany in my backyard with a light SW breeze…I don’t think it’s going to be warmer in this area today. It was much warmer at this time yesterday.

  17. Roland Derksen says:

    Intresting to compare the rainfall totals you have for the past few Junes with my data here in BC. June 2012 was very similar- but it’s the last cloudy /wet June I’ve recorded. June 2020 had slightly above average rainfall for me, but not as much as you had south of the border.

  18. W7ENK says:

    Yesterday was great! I love this weather!

    Today is tracking about the same so far at my place, if not perhaps a degree (or two?) warmer. Yesterday was 75 at 9am, this morning at a quarter to 8 it’s already 74. After a high of 97 at my place yesterday, an overnight low of 62, and this quick warmup, 99 isn’t out of the question. Could it reach 100?

  19. 5OClockCharlie says:

    Felt like 100 degrees by the water in Oregon City. This kind of weather can stay in the southern states where it belongs!

    Not sure how many more hot summers I can take.
    Roland, better clear some land for me up in BC, I’m moving North if this keeps up!

    • Paul D says:

      I’m hoping to retire in 2024 and I am not staying in this area! The weather has changed so much in the last few years! The Port Angeles WA area is looking good!!

  20. tim says:

    Looks like Western wa will get a good soaking at lest to bad for Oregon of course.

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