Are springs getting wetter? Not really, but lots more rain ahead!

10pm Tuesday…

It was dry today!

Morning clouds gradually broke up to afternoon sunshine west of the Cascades. Tomorrow (Wednesday) should be a spectacular spring day. Dry and about 10 degrees warmer. All of us in the I-5 corridor west of the Cascades should make it into the 70s. I expect little or no morning cloud cover and just thin high clouds drifting across at times.

Today on Twitter I had someone ask if the heavy rain was a sign of climate change (global warming). I promptly said NO, it’s just a return to wet spring conditions we haven’t seen for awhile. But I figured it’s time to take a closer look. Here’s what I found:

1. Total rainfall has not changed dramatically in the mid-late spring the past 100 years, there is very little change in the past century west of the Cascades. That’s at Salem, Portland, or even Redmond (Central Oregon)

2. There appears to be a very slight increase in rainfall during that time.

3. We have consecutive years with wet springs, then a few dry will follow. Or quite a few years wet with a really dry one sandwiched in. You get the idea, it appears to be somewhat random.

Get ready for a few graphs. Here’s the entire April+May rainfall record from Salem. This goes back to the late 1800s. Each bar is one April/May total rainfall. Click for a better view:

(NOAA)

First, notice the wide variation from year to year. Some years very wet (1991, 1993, 1996), some quite dry (last year). The black line is the 10 year average. Not much change right? Maybe a minor peak in the late 1990s? The red line is the long term regression line. There has been a minor increase in rainfall during these 125+ years. What about Portland?

(NOAA)

Similar wide yearly variation. Same up/down motion over the decades with that 10 year average. A bit of an increase in spring rain overall like Salem. We just went through 4 dry springs, so it was time for a wet one and here we are.

In case you’re wondering about east of the Cascades, in a severe drought right now, this is Redmond

(NOAA)

Quite a change from year to year. We’re in a desert environment here, so a “wet” year is 2″ or more. 10 year average peaked around 2000 as well. Still, not a huge change over the past 80 years, but maybe a few more wet springs the past 20 years? It didn’t make it onto this image, but the regression line shows a minor increase across the entire period of record. It’s getting slightly wetter in spring in Redmond compared to many decades ago.

WHAT’S AHEAD

We’ve had some VERY dry May weather the last few years. In fact we haven’t had a wet May since 2013! I think it’s payback time…

May Rain
May Rain(kptv)

We have a LOT of wet weather scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, and possibly next Monday. After the break tomorrow, a strong westerly jet punches right in the PACNW Thursday & Friday. The view Thursday night up around 18,000′

(kptv)

Then Saturday the one upper-level trough is swinging through with a deeper trough developing way out to the west

(kptv)

By Sunday a cold upper-level trough dips farther south with rain/snow way down into Central California. We are in a cool/unstable/showery airmass that day

(kptv)

The ECMWF model is likely too wet, but I think somewhere between 1-2″ rain is likely in the western lowlands by Sunday night. Notice the 3″ of rain in the Cascades. Much of this WILL fall as rain Thursday/Friday since freezing levels will be high

(kptv)

With the cool/unstable airmass, we’ll probably get a round of thunder & hail showers once again over the weekend. And with the large upper-level low overhead, the possibility exists that significant rain COULD fall in parts of Central Oregon. Fingers crossed!

There are hints that we dry out a bit next week. But looking at the GFS ensembles, it’s clear that plenty of members bring more showers overhead later next week.

Rainy
Rainy(kptv)

At this point I’m not sold that we’re entering a warm/dry period starting next week. Models have been putting off a warming/drying trend recently. I’m thinking in this La Nina spring that we’ll see more troughs dropping in from the northwest. We will see.

The main message here is that we have a very wet 4 days ahead…I have plans to clean the garage, maybe catch up on some streaming? I know I won’t be doing any gardening after tomorrow for quite a few days!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

100 Responses to Are springs getting wetter? Not really, but lots more rain ahead!

  1. […] 2022 at 10:23 pm and is filed under Weather. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]

  2. Rick says:

    This spring reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s In those days this wet weather was very normal, some of the older generation bloggers might remember also.

  3. tim says:

    I know it’s the 18z but it’s showing some nice ridging at the end, at some point this pattern has to change and it will.

    • Opie says:

      Reminds me of a broken clock – the end of the run is sure to be spot on eventually.

      • tim says:

        It’s a fact this pattern will not last forever get over your self dude we had ten straight years of above normal summers why should this year be any different a cool.spring does not dictate the following season it will be a hot summer. You act like it’s the end of the world because it’s not Arizona at your house.

        • tim says:

          Damn moron.

        • Opie says:

          Tim,
          I’d bet on a warmer than average summer even though I’d prefer cool and wet.

          My comment was only about how unreliable the models are past 10 days out or so.

  4. Roland Derksen says:

    Not a whole lot of rain here so far this week, but every day has some amount from the showers. What’s the latest on the supposed “warm up”? Will it arrive before the next Long weekend? 🙂

  5. MasterNate says:

    There is nothing in the current models to suggest we get any sort of warm up and long stretch of dry weather. When something does pop up 10 days out its the same old tease. Just like we are use to in the winter. Looks like a continuation of cool and wet for the next 10 days with a day or 2 of dry and normal temps. Meanwhile, check out the SWE in the mountains!

    Click to access or_swepctnormal_update.pdf

    • Zach says:

      Yeah. No sign of any “Warm” weather for this time of year, but at least it does appear as though we will be back up mainly in the low 60s. So just a tad below average.

    • lurkingsince’14 says:

      The 10 day model tease is definitely no longer just a winter phenomenon.

  6. Opie says:

    The wind anomaly at bottom left is almost as strong as predicted –

    I think this will nudge ENSO to the warmer side of neutral by fall

  7. Andrew says:

    I would find this weather slightly more bearable if we didn’t have such a mild and boring January and February. Temps now are close to same as they were in second half of winter. That just shouldn’t be happening in mid-May. I’m ready for sun and 70s. Even the “improvement” in longer range models keeps us at best average temps wise. I need 80s for a few days just to remind me that there is light at end of tunnel.

  8. lurkingsince’14 says:

    Looks like we’ll be hitting a balmy 52 today, slightly warmer than the 50 forecast for Thursday 🥶

    Happy Monday!! 🤣

  9. tim says:

    On cliff mass new post today I said at some point we’ll make up for this cool wet spring this summer and that there always two sides of a coin cliff replied and said that’s not true there’s no ying and yang in weather, I completely disagree because nature does in fact like to balance itself out.

    • Opie says:

      How often has a cool, wet spring been followed by an unusually hot and dry summer compared to what you’d expect by random chance?

  10. Paul D says:

    Just hailed in Hillsboro!

  11. Jimmy Johns says:

    Posting a warning before Tim notices…..The Adirondack climate center is forecasting 100 degree temps in August. This trend looks to stretch in to early November. It’s going to be a warm dry fall. Tim can’t wait. Book it!

    • tim says:

      With climate change and la Nina it’s very likely. in the words of frankie McDonald, Be prepared.

  12. North Portland says:

    I wake up and it’s 40F outside and rainy absolutely amazing. April showers bring May rain, which brings June gloom and June gloom brings Christmas in July and that brings a cool cloudy August. So ready for a epic cold summer let’s set a record it might help get rid of pests and the homeless criminals on our streets.

  13. tim says:

    00z gfs is showing 80s for Seattle second half of May, finally this cool wet spring is over my vegetables can’t wait.

    • Jimmy Johns says:

      Dude, you have been saying one model or another has been trending warmer for the past month. Just look at your past posts. It’s unbelievable. Yet here we are another cold day and another cold week…..I can’t wait for your next post where you say the kfd and xck models from the Uzbekistan institute of weather says 90 degrees by end of May.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Jimmy, you should see the 18z Zimbabwe model. 130 degrees for a week straight in August, 2024. Book it.

  14. tim says:

    Isn’t ridging more common and presistance then troughing anywhere on earth?, you here about a presistance ridge much more than a presistance trough.

  15. Zach says:

    Here is the reality: Most of the state is still in drought even after the past 5-6 weeks of wet and cool weather.

    You cannot make up such a massive precipitation deficit by just having “average” weather following multiple years of compounding drought. It is impossible without cooler and wetter than normal years to make up the difference. Sure it sucks for recreation and fruit trees right now, but it is still beneficial in the long term for water resources. Not to mention stream flow and the steelhead / salmon populations which depend on it.

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Thank you, Zach. I totally agree. Saw pics of California’s two largest reservoirs (Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville), one being at only 40% capacity. Don’t want to even look at Lake Mead. We should all be loving this rain (or at least appreciating it), and be thankful we’re not down there. I’m hoping for a July, August, September summer, then bring on the Fall.

  16. Stanley Watts says:

    I’m a native. I been here all my life. 67 years now living in Oregon. This weather is not good.
    Too much of anything is never good. Constantly cold and rainy is not good for this region. A dry season like last year was also very bad for us.
    We grow a lot of things in the Willamette Valley and the weather has a big effect on those things.
    Our fruit trees don’t take kindly to the cold. Our pollinators don’t do well with the constant rain.
    The US population is already low on Vitamin D, by a lot.
    For those of us up here in Oregon, this type of weather makes lack of Vitamin D even worse and that leads to all kinds of health problems.
    Some of you might be loving this, but it’s having tangible negative effects on others. It may also have side effects on you, that you’re not considering.

    -Stan

    • Oliver Watson says:

      This weather seems alot more kind on the environment than drought and excessive heat

      • West Linn 200 says:

        Yeah and cocaine is kinder on the body than meth. Doesn’t sound like you’re disagreeing with anything he said here, so are you just stating the obvious?

    • West Linn 200 says:

      All great points Stan! It seems people here are stuck on arguing for one extreme or the other. Maybe those of us that understand the need for a balance are just too boring for these folks. I guess that’s what keeps Tim around to stir things up every now and then so the folks here don’t fall asleep lol

    • Zach says:

      Hard disagreement from me. I expect from Joshua as well.

      This weather is perfectly fine. I know there was some damage to the orchards in H. river valley from that April snow event, but other than that agriculture will be OK in Oregon. If anything this above average rainfall we have been getting the past 6 weeks is tremendously beneficial to the reservoirs across the Willamette valley and Cascades. Which agriculture heavily relies on.

      I get what you are saying about vitamin D, but really this is far more “normal” weather than what we saw last spring. That was extremely “abnormal” if you ask me, and it also certainly had a very damaging effect on the native plant species here.

      • diane says:

        it is not fine. you are wrong thats not true at all. we grow and sell cherries, pears, apples, apricots, figs, grapes regionally. we expect 70% compared to last year in the best case. what stan said is true.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Indeed, Zach. The benefits of above average rainfall (we’re actually less than 2” above normal for the year) and snow water equivalent in the mountains far outweighs a reduction in fruit yield and an unquantifiable and avoidable Vitamin D deficiency.

        Our native flora and probably fauna have taken an absolute beating over the last few years. It won’t look like “Oregon” soon if we keep having warmer and drier than normal weather. Do you think Sacramento is beautiful?

        This is long overdue. Unfortunately, no amount of rain or cool temps can reverse the damage already caused by drought and persistent warmth.

        As far as temps go, March was +1.6 degrees, April was -3.1, and May is almost exactly average. So, it objectively has not been that cool this spring.

    • Tanis Leach says:

      Have to disagree as well. It seems that people have gotten used to the dry springs here of recent, so this is a shock to the system.

    • Cc says:

      Totally agree with you! Extremes are never good in any direction.

  17. North Portland says:

    Long range models looking good for a very green tomato summer. Should be cool and very wet up through mid August then some drier 60f degree days into early September before wet fall starts again. Gosh absolutely loving this the more the better.

    • JERAT416 says:

      We have no way at accurately predict weather that far ahead. It’s unlikely we will have an 1816 summer.

    • Anonymous says:

      How could anyone want this, wouldn’t you rather have average weather because that’s what the plants and animals here are designed for? What about the kiddos who want to be outside because it’s summer break, or the normal people who enjoy normal weather. I don’t get how anyone is liking this weather, it sucks.

  18. tim says:

    Cliff mass new post about la Nina and our cool wet weather. summer might not start until July 5th this year.

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Lmao. You’re like the Jim Cramer of weather nerds 🤣

      “Recession coming July 5th, better sell now”

  19. Weatherdan says:

    Today’s weather in a word. Bleeeeep. Peace.

  20. Opie says:

    I’m with Joshua, loving this rain!

    • Michael says:

      It used to rain so much in Oregon that folks that moved here would leave after a couple years. Others hearing the news would stay away and we had a nice uncrowded state for a very long time. It was nice like that but, I can remember many days coming home so cold and wet, all I wanted was a hot shower. I’m glad oregon is making a come back.

      • Jj78259 says:

        Here Here Cheers!

      • Anonymous says:

        You make it seem like it rains 100 inches every year back in the 1900s, and now we get 10 inches of rain every year. There’s some wet years and dry years, but no obvious trend, everyone makes it seem like we’ve dried so much more than we have, and that’s just not true.

  21. Anonymous says:

    i would rather it be 110 degres than this

  22. Roland Derksen says:

    On this day 20 year s ago, i woke up to snow on the ground. 6 days later , I saw my first 80F of the year. So, the weather certainly CAN change quickly, but I’m still not convinced it’s going to happen next week.

  23. tim says:

    The latest cfsv2 model is now showing la Nina rapidly weaking in June so our hot summer should be on schedule, my tomatoes be Cain t wait.

    • Anonymous says:

      we want el nino for now then come mid June la nina stay, remember what happened last summer with a la nina? and after summer then we need el nino

  24. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Amen! Beautiful spring so far and I want exactly what you want for the next few months. I would love a couple of wetting rains during the summer too. No 90s. A man can dream.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      That was supposed to be a reply to Roman.

      • JERAT416 says:

        I’m ok with a few 90’s, but hopefully NO more heatwaves to where a few days in the 90’s feel like a cool down.

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Yeah you guys are insane. Day after day of cold precipitation in May is obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong, a soaker 2 or 3 times a week in the Spring is great, but more than that is annoying for those of us with various outdoor activities. I wouldn’t mind a couple soakers a week in the summer either, that would be nice. Totally agree on the no 90s. 85 is plenty to go swimming in rivers here.

    • Anonymous says:

      only somebody who doesnt enjoy outside would say that

      if you want weather like that, you can find it in alaska, because that isnt our climat

  25. tim says:

    What I noticed the past few years is when Mark says we due for a cool summer it ends up being a hot one or record hot, I’ll be interesting to see what he says this year.

  26. Opie says:

    Tim on April 22,
    “06z and 12z showing 80+ for Seattle on the 4th tru 6th….”

    • tim says:

      Well It could have happened just like when the gfs showed the heat dome at least ten days out so what’s your point?. its what the models showed at that time.

      • Opie says:

        I’m guessing that for 2 weeks out the 30 year average would be more reliable than a model run.

  27. Absolutely loving this wet spring. As a native here I was getting really tired of these dry and warm springs. Last year I had to start irrigation in March and this year haven’t had to touch it. Hoping we get a soaker of a month for May and all of June and then warm a little into the 80s for July and August.

    • lurkingsince’14 says:

      All of May and June a soaker? Man you must not have outdoor activities high on your list. Soooo many rained out baseball/softball games for the kiddos, no picnics in the park, etc. It’s been brutal. Normal spring showers are great, a repeat of April for two more months would be absolute misery.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This weather sucks, come late may it better be as hot and dry as last summer, preferably hotter, we deserve it.

    • tim says:

      So 116 wasn’t hot enough?.

      • Anonymous says:

        i recorded 118, and no its not warm enough i want to see the warmest temperature ever recorded happen in the willamette valley, we have all dealt with terrible weather this winter, and we all know we deserve temperatures in the 130s now, and its gonna happen, if it got 117 in JUNE it can get 138 in august easily, we all want it happen and we need happen

    • UGH says:

      I know this is a dig on my comment, but that’s not what I said or meant, but thanks for taking it out of context and completely missing the point. Yes, this weather sucks, so instead, how about just AVERAGE weather for the time year? Does that work or is that too much to ask for?

      NO heat domes, droughts, record rainfalls, wind storms, freak snows, unseasonable cool/cold days or warm winters…. Just boring average weather: Wet when it’s supposed to be wet, cool when it’s supposed to be cooler, cloudy when it’s supposed to be cloudier, dry when it’s supposed to be getting dry, sunny when it’s supposed to be getting sunnier and warm when it’s supposed to be getting warmer.

      Is that easier to understand or do I need to just say “I wish it would be cloudy, cool and wet 12 months out of the year, but throw in a devastating wind or ice storm just for fun” is that better? Please tell me because I am tired of offending people like I’ve blasphemed the sacred weather gods of the Willamette Valley when I say I just want average weather.

      • Anonymous says:

        its just the weather i want happen did you see me use youre name in my comment

      • Registered Nerd says:

        There is no “average weather”, the average is all the years past smushed into an “average, but each year isn’t average, so wishing for average weather is like wishing for something that doesn’t even exist.

  29. UGH says:

    Everywhere else gets to enjoy spring, we get winter. This weather sucks.

  30. Roland Derksen says:

    A wet May or a dry one doesn’t foretell the summer. I just have to look back a few years ago. May 2017 was wet (at least for me, with 5.30 inches). That summer was warm and dry. May 2018 was very dry (0.12inches for my place). Also a dry warm summer. I don’t have a lot of faith yet in long range forecasts. Was anyone forecasting a hot summer last year at this time? I can’t recall- maybe someone else?

  31. West Linn 200 says:

    Anyone have data on the latest 80 degree day on record? Would be interesting to me if we never hit 80 in May.

    • Zach says:

      From what I see, it appears to be in 2010 where PDX didn’t hit 80 until June 12th.

  32. Zach says:

    Wow, and now the Euro wants to bring in another system midway through NEXT week. This pattern just doesn’t want to let up. Great for water resources throughout the state though.

  33. tim says:

    Then boom summer hits and it’s in the 100s so enjoy the cool wet weather now it won’t last.

  34. tim says:

    Then boom summer hits and it’s in the 100s so enjoy the cool wet weather now it won’t last.

  35. JERAT416 says:

    We definitely need it ! No need to start watering west of the cascades anytime soon, or install window AC units. I’m not worried. Summer can start July 5th like the old days

    • Paul D says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. The gool ‘ol July 5 “summer switch”.

    • Anonymous says:

      ac units starting next week pleas I know it you know it we all know it this weather sucks

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