Record February “Heat” Today

7pm Friday…

If you live in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, you’ve just experienced the warmest February day in 27 years!

We expected today to be “warm” across the metro area, but temperatures soared well past our 62-degree high-temperature forecast. PDX Airport officially hit 67 degrees, breaking the daily record high. Notice the entire metro area was extremely warm for the month of February

Warm February 11th
Warm February 11th(KPTV)

Aurora’s 69 is the warmest official temperature I’ve seen in NW Oregon or SW Washington today. This next graphic shows the top 15 warmest days on record at PDX. By the way, PDX records go back to late 1940…about 80 years. You can see the last time we were this warm (in February) was in 1995.

Warm February 11th
Warm February 11th(KPTV)

Now look at those dates a bit more closely…notice anything? The warmest 16 days in February have all been in the 2nd half of the month. That means this is the earliest we’ve been this warm. Now check out the regional high temperatures today

Warm February 11th
Warm February 11th(KPTV)

Several things stick out…a warm coastline for sure. Actually I thought we’d see more easterly wind surface earlier on the coastline for more mid-upper 60s. Only Tillamook was “crazy warm”. Although that may happen in more spots out there tomorrow, it’ll be a fantastic Saturday on the beaches.

See those valley temperatures? Eugene barely broke out of the low-level inversion and Roseburg stayed in clouds/fog all day. So here in the north Willamette Valley we had the perfect setup with the easterly wind coming down into the lowlands. I expect a similar setup tomorrow except warmer temperatures down around Eugene/Roseburg and a few notches cooler in the metro area.

Some other records today, all in the metro area except Salem.

Warm February 11th
Warm February 11th(KPTV)

It is interesting that the atmosphere overhead was NOT in record territory today. Here’s a plot showing 850mb temperatures (around 5,000′) over Salem the last few decades. This is from the twice-daily balloon launches. The black line is average for any one day during the year. Makes sense because an average temperature up around 5,000′ this time of year is right around 32 degrees (0 degC on this graph). The red squiggles above each represent the highest (warmest) value observed on any one day. Today is the red dot I’ve highlighted in yellow. A good 5 degrees below record values this time of year…just over +10 degC.

Warm February 11th
Warm February 11th(KPTV)

That’s it for now…enjoy your weekend!

60 Responses to Record February “Heat” Today

  1. Roland Derksen says:

    I’m also waiting for more information, before commenting further on “the arctic blast”. The last time we had a pretty good incursion of arctic air in early March here was in 2019. That one resulted in some cold overnight temperatures, (but not record setting) and some light snow afterwards around the 8th-10th.

  2. Tanis Leach says:

    (2/2) Is this an arctic blast if the ensamble average verifies? No. Reminder of my definition is that one of the following must occur:
    850 mb temp of -12°C over Salem (-9°C lowest average)
    High temp of 26°F or less (35°F current lowest average)
    Low Temp of 14°F or less (21°F current lowest average)
    4 days in a row failing to get above freezing (looks like 0)
    Is this colder than 2011, no. 2011 had the lowest high at 33 and lowest low of 18. It should be noted that the 18°F low was the coldest for that late in the season. Has a subfreezing high happened this late in the season? Yes, surprisingly in March. March 3rd 1960 only hit 29 (adjusted to today would be 30.5). This is the only time after the 8th of February that it has failed to hit 30°F.

  3. Tanis Leach says:

    (1/2) I’m not 100% sold with the upcoming pattern change. I think a pattern change is going to happen but calling this an arctic blast is a stretch at least from my definition. More on that in the second comment. I like that the trend is down, with the Euro being more bullish for once. That being said, we’ve only had 1 good ensamble run, so 2 more runs are required for me to jump on board. Many of these have fallen apart in the past. I do think that the snow is an exaggeration due to resolution, just move the needle to Aurora and it’s less than an inch. Also note that the main run is a snowy outlier.

    • Andrew says:

      Nice analysis Tanis. I think your definition for what constitutes an arctic blast is very reasonable but you might consider a more fluid definition that evolves as days grow longer and sun angle goes up and takes into account historical averages.

      I also agree with you that it’s too early to bank on the surge of cold air hitting our region. However, this was always a possibility with that high parked right off our coast. All it takes is a little retrograding for us to go from sunny and mild to getting that cold north or northwest flow and systems riding down from north. What i’m not at all sold on is the true coldness of that airmass. EURO much colder than GFS (rare) and really big temp drop offs over last couple runs which is always a red flag for me, compared to these patterns that emerge more gradually over several runs. I definitely wouldn’t be at all surprised to see temps shoot back up again too.

      Snow seems very unlikely to me. there is maybe a small window Monday when cold enough air meets a chance for precip, but both sides of that coin – temps and precip – would be highly marginal. conversational snow at best at least based on what’s showing now.

      • Tanis Leach says:

        I would like a rolling definition, but where then would I draw the line? Would 6 days below 60 in August count? If I do change it, I probably would set a clause saying, “at least 1 day must fail to get above freezing,” so it at least feels cold.

  4. tim says:

    Interesting how lows in the 20s and highs in the mid 40s is considered a arctic blast in mid February according to some, 2011 was a true blast much colder.

    • Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

      Here in Salem the coldest temp during that was 17.1.

      We could get colder than that, possibly.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah definitely not a direct hit at this point. more of a glancing blow. but with deep cold air parked in columbia basin, that back door effect would be in play with right low placement. Doesn’t look to be the case here.

  5. Zach says:

    The Euro keeps getting colder. Low of 17F at hour 192. Lots of mountain snow as well.

    • Andrew says:

      wow! that 12z run is no joke. coldest air of winter possibly.

      • tim says:

        Not as cold as February 2011 but still chilly.

        • Andrew says:

          I want to say we got pretty cold in late feb in both 2018 and 2019. i’m guessing the mid 40s forecast highs have a lot to do with lack of cloud cover and heating caused by direct sunlight. I feel like with this pattern, cloud cover and precip could keep us in mid 30s.

  6. Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

    Seems as I was right for waiting with the fork.

    • Andrew says:

      you may indeed have the last laugh, though still not looking like a snow maker for us low elevationers. temps would support it with right system.

  7. West Linn 200 says:

    The Fork Express has stalled on the tracks it seems. Where are all its passengers?

    I know where they are:

  8. tim says:

    Cliff mass says a cold artic blast is coming next week, ok.

    • tim says:

      Correction, Arctic.

    • Zach says:

      The Euro has been consistent with overnight lows getting into the low 20s. The 6z GFS today also was really cold there in the long range.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah next week looks much colder. In early January i’m sure we’d stay stuck in the 30s with this pattern but with longer days and higher sun angle, highs will still climb to mid 40s. Wish it also came with a chance of snow but that doesn’t appear likely, even though this general pattern would support it.

  9. Mountain Man says:

    Oh hello there slightly more interesting model runs/ ensembles today! And might I add, sooner than total fantasy land, days 7-9. Trending cooler at least for a few days is about all you can say at this point, but I’ll take it as slightly encouraging compared to what we’ve been seeing for weeks.

  10. tim says:

    Both 6 to 10 and 8 to 14 day outlook has us colder then normal and dryer then normal, what happened to spring?.

    • Zach says:

      I actually believe it. The Euro has been consistently cold in the 6-10 day range for a few days now.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Pretty dang chilly on the 12z. Looks like the ridge wants to rebuild in the long-term. Scary dry since January 8th. Only one day with more than .15” since then. Incredible.

        • W7ENK says:

          Is that NOT including the almost half an inch yesterday?

          Or the …

          0.19″ on Jan 9th
          0.19″ on Jan 10th
          0.15″ on Jan 17th
          1.13″ on Jan 19th
          0.42″ on Jan 21st

          … or have you suddenly switched from talking about PDX official to just your arid desert-esque little pocket of Lake O again?

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          I’m talking about PDX. You know, the official weather station of Portland. The data is publicly available if you would like to check it out.

          Why would anybody use your personal weather station as any meaningful metric? Like I have said probably a dozen times in response to you: your mailman’s weather, your cousin’s girlfriend’s weather, your weather… nobody cares about it. What will be recorded in history is PDX’s weather.

          So, like I said, there has been only one day with more than .15” of rain since January 8th.

        • W7ENK says:

          Oh okay, great! Now that we’re all on the right page, those rainfall values I posted are all from PDX Airport.

          Good day, sir.

        • W7ENK says:

          See?

          And oops… How could I forget the 0.15″ on Jan 31st?? Silly me… 😜

        • Zach says:

          I get why you are concerned about rain, but keep in mind we were consistently at or above average for rainfall September – January.
          Portland is currently in D0 which hardly counts as drought.

        • W7ENK says:

          Okay, that’s really bizarre, the numbers all shifted. When I first took them down, it was a direct text grab, which doesn’t align with the screenshot…

  11. W7ENK says:

    What a spectacular weekend! First time in months I spent more time outdoors than in. 66 Friday, 61 Saturday, 64 Sunday, wall-to-wall blue sky sunshine until last evening’s sunset. And then the rain this morning was something else, too. Absolutely POUNDED on my roof for a good solid hour. I didn’t expect to get ALL of today’s rain in one quick shot like that. Got just shy of a half inch between 7 and 9am when precip ended.

    If we kept up this pattern (sunny warm weekends and cool rain during the week) it wouldn’t offend me one bit.

  12. Zach says:

    Torrential downpour in Gresham right now. Hasn’t been like this since early January.

  13. Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

    Look what the 00z GFS shows… Surprised it’s coming from the 00z and not the 18z.

    • Zach says:

      12z gfs didn’t look as good long range. Although both the GEFS & EPS have started to look great for cooler weather & mountain snow.

    • W7ENK says:

      Just wait 16 days!

    • Andrew says:

      No real model support for a low elevation snow pattern. I do like that mountains appear to be back in the action. Of course they can have monster Marches, which would be nice. We might have a brief period with snow levels below 2,000 feet early next week, but I think that’s as close as we get. The winter is still very much forked.

  14. Snaomanski says:

    There is quite clearly a pattern change coming. Maybe not the pattern change most devoutly to be wished, but nonetheless a change.

  15. JERAT416 says:

    I wish the second half of February, and all of March and April featured mostly cold rain…..rebuilding snowpack, eliminating drought in all areas of the PNW…

  16. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    The GFS takes us through the end of February now. Absolutely no sign of a pattern change. We’ll likely end up with < 1.5’’ of rain in a 50 day period during meteorological winter. This is getting scary.

    • Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

      It does show a pattern change, not super wet, but it’s a pattern change. What you said isn’t true.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Hank, I appreciate your eternal optimism, but aside from a day or two of troughing in the next 300+ hours, there is nothing exciting to look at. Overall, slightly cooler than average, but also way drier than average. We desperately need valley rain and mountain snow.

        • Jake says:

          To my eye it appears the multi-year severe drought in California is spreading into the PNW with this ridging spreading Northward.

          I hope I’m wrong and we turn a corner this Spring, don’t go into severe drought, from the drought we’ve already had, the past 2 years, I’m super worried too.

          This Winter really proved to be false hope. If we don’t such severe drought is way worse here because of our forests.

        • West Linn 200 says:

          Hank is technically right though. We’re going from a sunny, dry, and warm pattern to a bit cooler with more clouds and scattered showers. You’re right to be concerned about the lack of precipitation totals – I’m right there with you on that – but maybe “pattern change” wasn’t the proper term to use in this context.

    • Zach says:

      The 6z is a soaker. The models are actually starting to come around, and look a lot better than they did a few days ago.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      You and Hank are right, West Linn. The pattern is changing from the past few days. 60 – 65 and sunny is gone. I was referring to the pattern since January 8th. Dry. Under the influence of high pressure. Recent model runs have shown some promise for zonal flow and at least some on and off precipitation. Let’s ho-Ed we can build on that.

  17. Peter Christenson says:

    Hank, I much appreciate your contributions to the blog. However, it seems you have some sort of thing about Tim, variously describing him (her?) as a spreader of misinformation, even a troll, whatever. Tim suggested that we can expect a hot summer. Of course you are right that nothing about February says what summer will be like. That said, I think it is quite reasonable to expect a summer that most of us would define as uncomfortably warm simply based on persistence. I went back and looked at the last few years of PDX data for August (the most insufferable month) and found that of the last ten years (2012-2021) NOT A SINGLE ONE was below the 2000-2021 mean for the month. That mean is 70.6, which is plenty hot in my book. (Note that the mean was 68.7 for 1960-1980 and 66.6 for 1940-60. Those were the days of the green tomato, and I remember them wistfully.) Assuming, as I think you are, that above versus below is randomly distributed around the mean, the odds of 10 straight warmer than normal Augusts occurring simply by chance are 1 in 1024. I expect a summer that will be warmer than I like. The trend lines also suggest to me that it is silly to think of normal in terms of 30-year periods.

  18. Roland Derksen says:

    No record heat here- just a high of 45F, despite sunny skies.

  19. tim says:

    Sunny and 58 currently warmest day of the year so far, spring has arrived.

  20. Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

    Already 61 at the Salem Airport forecast high 66! And in Portland it is 60 at the Airport, forecast high 63.

  21. Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

    For those who expect we should get more Snow than we have, and say climate change is to blame. Remember, we had enough Snow in December to get the whole Winter above average, so I don’t think its too odd for the rest of the year to not have Snow. It’s rare for our Winters to have 2 cold and snowy periods. So don’t expect it.

    And the last month doesn’t mean we’ll have a warm and dry Spring/Summer. It doesn’t work that way.

    • OLIVER WATSON says:

      I agree Hank that the weather doesn’t say to itself, ” we had 2 warm dry months now it’s time for some cooler and wetter weather for 2 months”, but the trends over recent years have been for warmer and dry weather dominating the year

  22. Paul D says:

    Winter winter, where are thou? I miss thee….

  23. JERAT416 says:

    I had kept a blanket , coat, and other winter gear in my car the last few months as a precaution. I took them out today. If I go up to the mountains, I’ll bring them. Otherwise I’m done for the season. Chains will come out once I know I’m not going up there.

  24. Hank from Salem (524' Elevation) says:

    00z GFS looks like it’s trying to kill the inversion.

  25. tim says:

    Im sure mark is thinking were not gonna have a cool summer this year every time he says were due it ends up being another hot one, cool summers are a thing of the past so embrace the heat.

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