Spring 2022 turns cool & wet

Meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere runs from March 1st to May 31st. It’s the 3 month period between winter and summer. This year was looking a bit like last year through the first few days of April; a bit warmer and drier than normal.

How things have changed the past 10 days! Numerous rounds of cold showers and mountain snow have been the rule since the 10th. Take a look at temperatures so far this month in Portland. The dark blue days are high temps 10 degrees or more below average. So far we are running close to 4 degrees below average, one of the coldest first 18 days of the month we’ve seen.

Then the precipitation. Lots of it. As of this evening it’s the 8th wettest April on record with lots more rain ahead.

Compare that to the last two very dry Aprils. In fact we’ve already picked up more rain this spring than the last four!

Of course snow has been falling heavily at times the past 10 days. All basins in Oregon have seen significant improvement with PLENTY of water now available in the central/north Cascades and NW Oregon. We won’t need to worry about drought in the NW quarter of the state this summer. But a different story continues in central, south, & SE Oregon. It’s more a matter of “bad” instead of “terrible” for the irrigation season. You can’t erase two years of drought with 1-2 weeks of heavy mountain snow and rain

On April 1st, it was looking like we might have a quick melt-off once again. But check out the SWE (snow water equivalent) just east of Government Camp. That’s inches of water in the snowpack. Black line is this year. Notice it has suddenly swung back upward right when it is typically melting (green line)

The same thing at Clear Lake about 5 miles SE of that location. A dramatic change from two weeks ago!


A cool upper level trough will be swinging through the region tomorrow and Thursday. The atmosphere was marginally unstable today and we could have seen thunderstorms west of the Cascades. But thick cloud cover kept things from getting going. Tomorrow should be a bit more interesting. A system moves overhead in the morning, followed by a cool and unstable airmass flowing in from the southwest. Models are giving us low Lifted Index, relatively high CAPE, and the SW to NE storm movement has historically been good for thunderstorms and possibly funnel clouds. Assuming we get plenty of sunbreaks, I expect scattered thunderstorms to pop up midday and into the afternoon hours. I’ve seen much better setups with better dynamics, but it always seems to easy to get a few storms going in April-May-June around here. Typically they are weak, but we’ll see if anything more significant shows up tomorrow. The NAM-3km shows the best CAPE around 5-6pm, although it shows more than other models.

My gut feeling is we have a typical spring shower/downpour day (with sunbreaks) on tap for tomorrow with a few embedded thunderstorms. Probably a funnel cloud or two as well. Check out this great timelapse of a funnel cloud last Wednesday evening.


Not really, at least more than a couple days at a time. I’d like to get a few cold weather veggies planted and I’m thinking that could be next Monday. That’s because it appears we’ll get some brief upper level ridging this coming weekend, then another cool/wet trough swings through next Tuesday/Wednesday. There are hints we turn a bit drier right after that time…around 9-10 days from now. You can see that in the ECMWF ensemble chart which takes us into the first few days of May. So the short answer is NO, I DON’T SEE A LONG DRY/WARM SPELL IN THE NEXT 10 DAYS.

69 Responses to Spring 2022 turns cool & wet

  1. Opie says:

    PDX is at 5.01” of rain for April. Needs just 0.25” today to tie the record!

  2. tim says:

    18z gfs has our first 90 on the 14th, here we go.

  3. Roland Derksen says:

    This spring reminds me of a few like it back in the 70’s when I was a teen. The spring of 1974 especially. The summer that followed started cool and wet- and it wasn’t until the 4th week of July that it all turned around. I’m not saying it will take that long this time around, but watch it- we could see this current pattern for a while .

    • tim says:

      At some point we’ll make up for this cool wet spring nature likes to balance it self out, this summer will be hot sooner or later either way it’s gonna happen.

  4. MasterNate says:

    I know its to early to tell but we are due for a green tomato summer. Just saying. It can happen.

    • Opie says:

      I just looked at the average summer temperatures at PDX going all the way back to 1938. If you use the 1938-2000 mean as the baseline, which is what NOAA does, then the last 10 summers, and 18 of the last 20 have been above average.

      What would have been an ordinary summer last century would probably feel like a green tomato nowadays.

      • MasterNate says:

        And that is what put the west in drought. Droughts come and go. Hopefully the long term pattern has shifted and we can shake the endless hot dry summers. I don’t believe climate change is solely responsible for the past 20 years of hot and dry. Partly, yes. I’m just saying that there are long term cycles at play here as well.

        • Opie says:

          I agree there’s no way to know for sure how much is natural versus anthropogenic. Makes it even more interesting!

  5. tim says:

    This June I turn 45 and it’s hard to except waking up every morning with body pain from old age it sucks but I’m glad to be alive knowing my time on this earth is about over very soon that said I’m grateful to be part of this blog despite our differences.

  6. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Looks like I’m in the bullseye for rain. Looks like more heavy showers and possibly hail. I could see lightning since I had some earlier. Every active day 🤗⛈️

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Lucky! It’s been dry for several hours here. I saw those same clouds this morning and this afternoon, but none of them moved overhead 🤷‍♂️

  7. OLIVER WATSON says:

    It doesn’t seem like anyone should be complaining about our cool wet weather. What would you rather have nice sunny dry weather now turning to hot smokey weather come summer our the chance that this cool wet spell tempers any fire and drought concerns. We can’t have our cake and eat it to you know

    • West Linn 200 says:

      There’s nothing stopping summer from being hot and smokey regardless of the current situation. I would think a prolonged wet stretch provides far more fuel for a fiery dry hot summer due to the extended stages of overgrowth in vegetation in these wet months. If we dry out beginning of summer and see no rain until September, that’s bad news.

      • Anonymous says:

        Amazing point. Almost always we will be dry enough come early September, I don’t think April rain prevents forest fires

      • tim says:

        Just because we have la Nina summer it doesn’t mean it will be cool and wet that’s a false veiw, last summer was la Nina and it ended up being one of the hottest on record enso has no effect during the summer months.

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Also this idea that one who complains about a cold wet Spring can’t complain about a hot dry Summer is fallacious. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
      What if the people complaining yearn for just average weather? Nothing wrong with that.

      • lurkingsince’14 says:

        Exactly – just give me average! 🙏🏻

      • Zach says:

        Thats not entirely true though. If May through early June remains mostly cooler & wet, that will absolutely delay the onset of fire season. Sure August to early September will be a tinderbox, as that is normal for our climate. What this means is that unlike the past few years, July could actually be (mostly) free of wildfire issues.

        • West Linn 200 says:

          Not sure if that comment was meant for me Zach, but if so, I don’t understand what you’re trying to refute. I said if summer – meteorological summer (June/July/August) – doesn’t see any rain, then it spells trouble. Which part is not true? Maybe your comment wasn’t meant for me…

          Just like you said though: August and September will be a tinderbox. That’s primarily my point; a wet Spring may intensify any potential wildfire during those “tinderbox” months.

    • Grizzly Bear says:

      But it sure does increase the snowpack doesn’t boys?

  8. tim says:

    The same people complaining about our hot summers are complaining about our cold wet spring then when the hot weather does finally hit you’ll be complaining about that,geez

  9. MasterNate says:

    Well, if you like Aprils’ weather then you will like the 1st half of May as well. Just a broken record stuck on cold and wet.

  10. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I’m waiting to start work when I noticed this amazing cumulus cloud. We have a chance of thunderstorms today. Maybe this is a good indication of what’s to come today 🤔 ⛈️

  11. UGH says:

    I will say this cold and wet April has sucked. I’m tired of beautiful days bookended by long stretches of cold, gloomy and wet. This weather pattern needs to change. (and yes, I still believe the willamette valley has the worst weather)

    • lurkingsince’14 says:

      I’m right there with ya this year. It’s been brutal, unseasonably cold and all around miserable outside of a random day here and there.

      Keep hoping the 10-day will warm up…

      • tim says:

        And yet you guys will be complaining about the heat this summer if your not a hot weather fan.

        • UGH says:

          I honestly don’t think the hot weather stays around long enough…. I have never once complained about hot, sunny or dry weather, because we never get enough of it.

        • lurkingsince’14 says:

          Yeah, I love the summers here

  12. tim says:

    The weather channel is showing extreme heat in the west and central US this is getting scary even for me who’s for hot weather, take extreme caution this summer.

    • Zach says:

      What the h*** are you talking about tim? What extreme heat?

      • West Linn 200 says:

        It’s been his shtick for years. He knows what he’s doing.

      • tim says:

        The on going drought in the west will intensify the heat this summer, it’s a no brainer.

        • Roland Derksen says:

          Who is Pete Parsons? I don’t know him at all, and i wonder how many of the rest of us do.

        • tim says:

          Pete Parsons of Oregon natural resources he’s a meteorologist and most on this blog know who he is.

        • Opie says:

          I hadn’t heard of Pete Parsons either, but here’s the link:

          Click to access dlongrange.pdf

        • Gene says:

          Most of the people who have followed this weather blog over the past two decades know who Pete Parsons is, because he was a TV meteorologist on Portland stations for many years.

        • Roland Derksen says:

          Okay, so he’s a professional meteorologist and lives in the Portland area. Thanks, but does he claim to be able to forecast the whole PNW, including my area across the border?

  13. tim says:

    Pete Parsons new April update he’s saying above normal temps for may normal temps for June then a hot July with 100s possible so be prepared we don’t need anymore heat related deaths.

    • tim says:

      After last summer 100+ degree heat I wasn’t expecting Pete to say we could have it again this summer but with climate change it’s becoming the norm every year now.

    • Opie says:

      The three analog years he’s using had by April already transitioned from La Niña to neutral, and were quickly moving towards a strong El Niño. So seems like a questionable match to our current situation where La Niña is still looking solid.

      • tim says:

        Yeah, but with the servere drought in the west I don’t think la Nina will keep us cool this summer the dry soils will intensify temperatures and give us a hot season.

  14. tim says:

    06z and 12z showing 80+ for Seattle on the 4th tru 6th, this summer is gonna be epic hot can’t wait it’s about time we are due.

  15. runrain says:

    That’s some impressive cell that just blew up between Sherwood and Newberg.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Some spots picked up .50” of rain in a very short period of time. Fun stuff.

  16. tim says:

    The cpc just updated there seasonal outlook today and it is trending even warmer for this summer then the previous update, so for those hoping for a cool summer looks like your out of luck bring on the heat I’m tired of this cold weather.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      I’m tired of this cold weather too, but I’m thinking it’ll hang on for a while yet- at least where I am , north of the 49th.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      The PNW has the lowest chance of greater than normal temps in the summer in the whole USA based on their most recent forecast. It’s obviously a weak signal for warmth here. And… it’s worthless anyway. They paint with a very broad brush

      • tim says:

        Well after June is what I’m looking at the JAS outlook July through September is when were above normal temps.

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          Gotcha. “Leaning above” for temps 3-6 months out is meaningless in my opinion.

  17. Patrick says:

    I think tomorrow, Thursday, or even later tonight, will be interesting, with some strong thunderstorms in the area.

    • PhilGil says:

      That would be fun. Tuesday was a bust at my place. Not enough clearing to trigger any instability.

  18. Tulip Mania says:

    Alright we had the historic heat wave, the historic April snow storm and today we got a decent shot at some good T-Storms. Maybe we can get a historic EF5 tornado that would be the cherry on top 🌪 let’s go!!

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s nothing extraordinarily historic about these thunderstorms, and why the hell do you want an EF-5

    • geo says:

      How about a historic May snowfall then a killer EF5

      • Tanis Leach says:

        EF5/4/3 needs to be off the table to begin with. The only way an EF5 gets confirmed is with damage. Would you like to see that? I don’t. Tornadoes is something I don’t even joke about.

        And for those saying I’m a hypocrite for wishing a cat 5 hurricane (see a particular comment I made 2 summers ago), a hurricane can be confirmed a category 5 without any damage taking place and can stay over the open ocean.

  19. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I looked at the HRRR and there is a good shot for thunderstorms today (remember, thunderstorms are isolated and they may not be in your area) I don’t have time to post images but you can look at the models and see what I’m talking about 🤗⛈️

  20. tim says:

    There’s always two sides of a coin at some point will make up for this cool wet spring aka a very hot summer on the way, what goes up must come down or in this case the opposite.

    • tim says:

      Be prepared, to many deaths occured last summer when it could have been prevented what a shame.

  21. West Linn 200 says:

    If last year wasn’t so dry, I would be upset at this wet weather pattern. I’m grateful for it this year though. The cold temperatures, on the other hand, can get lost! 60-70 is ideal for me. 55 is tolerable. 50 and below? Forget it! Let’s keep that in winter where it belongs. The current 7 day forecast looks great 👍

  22. JERAT416 says:

    This is desperately needed ! No need for the dry season to start yet. Nature is balancing us out.

  23. Paul D says:

    A really awesome April so far! Love the below normal temperatures!

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