A wet & cool Pacific Northwest spring will continue

9:30pm Wednesday…

I’m hearing lots of complaining the past week or so as our chilly spring weather goes on. These last two days were quite reasonable with partly cloudy skies and dry conditions (for most of us). But even with the dry weather, we only made it within 5 degrees of normal today!


That’s because we’re still under the influence of a chilly upper-level low leaving to the south of us. Plus a brand new batch of cool air is swinging in tonight through Friday. You can see that 2nd upper low coming down the coastline


This has been the story for about 6 weeks now. Starting around April 9th, we’ve seen lower than normal upper-level heights over our region. In fact, the anomaly is just about the coldest in the entire Northern Hemisphere over the past month! Along with a cold anomaly over the Arctic Ocean.


So one could argue it doesn’t get much colder than this from early April to early May. I just checked the past 30 days at PDX. Coldest since 2011. For the locals, this is running quite similar to other cold springs like 2008, 2002, & 1996.


How about measuring our spring another way? Number of 70 degree days at this point in spring (at PDX)


Only 4 days at/above 70 degrees. That’s quite a change from the past few years. The average is around 9 days by May 10th. Again, this is similar to 2011, 2010, 2003, & 2002. In the last 10 springs, we’ve hit 80 degrees by May 10th, but not this year. We’ve only hit 75 twice. In a typical spring we see more up/down with chilly troughing followed by warm upper-level ridging.

I think the screaming message here is that WE WERE DUE FOR A CHILLY/WET SPRING AND NOW IT’S HERE. There’s nothing especially “unusual” about this spring. No, it’s not caused by climate change. And we’re not seeing any significant trends with temperature or precipitation in springtime west of the Cascades. Obviously summers are turning much warmer but that’s a different story. As mentioned in a previous post, in general springs have been just a little wetter compared to many decades back in time.


More of the same folks! A cold front moves inland Thursday with another .25-.50″ rain west of the Cascades, then a 2nd (weaker) system comes inland Friday night and Saturday morning. So we’ve got a soaker ahead Thursday morning, then much better by evening between those systems. Behind that 2nd system, a warmer southwesterly flow (no cold upper low!) pushes temperatures up around normal for the weekend. No, I don’t see a warm and sunny weekend, but at least the showers will be warmer and we COULD make it into the lower 70s Sunday IF the showers are widely scattered. So clearly Sunday is the better day of the weekend.

By the middle of next week models agree that another cool trough drops into the region, keeping us cooler than normal through all of next work week.


Many times I’d look a bit farther ahead (beyond 10 days), but the past month we’ve seen models regularly push us back into climatologically normal (warmer) pattern. And each time a cold upper-trough decides to crash the party. For now I think it’s safe to say:

  1. We’ll see below normal temps through at least the 20th of the month
  2. There’s no sign of a sustained dry spell for at least the next 10 days.

I won’t be staining my decks for quite awhile…

47 Responses to A wet & cool Pacific Northwest spring will continue

  1. tim says:

    Big storm for Wednesday with gusts up to 45 mph for Seattle with heavy rain and heavy mt snow, this is absolutely ridiculous it’s May not December for dam sakes.

  2. JERAT416 says:

    Current 7 day looks very average to me. Rain and sun on and off and average temps.

  3. West Linn 200 says:

    Nice weekend overall, I’m happy. Got some rain. Got some cool temps. Got some sun. Got some warm temps. A little something for everyone!

  4. tim says:

    Cliff mass new post today is saying it will be cooler then normal this summer because of la Nina but last summer was la Nina and it was one of the hottest on record so again I completely disagree with cliff that said it still looking warmer than normal based on climate models not one’s opinion aka cliff.

  5. tim says:

    Once again western Wa is getting the brunt of the rain this spring after a very wet winter, meanwhile the rest of the west can’t even buy a drop we’re they really need it. Over a half inch so far today at my house.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    I’m not sure if there’s a change coming late next week yet, but the forecast for my area at least is for a couple of dry, partly sunny days with highs in the mid-60’s(over 70 I’m sure, down your way). Have to wait for another day or two, to see if that holds.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Nope- looks like Sunday we’re back to showers. And Wednesday is coming with a lot of rain. Anyway, so far for the first half of May 2022 I have a mean temperature of 50.9F and a total of 3.45 inches- that’s about average for a whole May here! Interesting to compare that statistic with 2 previous Mays for the same 15 day period: May 2011 with 3.46 inches and 51.6F, and May 1984 with 2.95 inches and a mean of 50.9F. So it’s not a unique situation. If there’s any hope to find, those years didn’t end up with really miserable summers. They weren’t the best, to be sure, but not the worst either.

  7. Paul D says:

    73 for a high today? It just dumped some serious rain in Hillsboro and is 60 degrees.

    • Diana F. says:

      Yup we are getting hammered in east vancouver/Camas! Everything I had washed and put on the patio balcony to dry, is now wetter than ever lol. 59 degrees with massive clouds and rain….started at 12, it’s now 1 pm. So far, not exactly the better day of the weekend…. maybe it will turn around later today? 🙏🏽

  8. tim says:

    Farmers almanac is saying it’s gonna be hot and dry for pnw this summer so i better get my bbq ready. I noticed birds are more active this spring then usual which tells me there’s hot weather around the corner.

    • Diana F. says:

      The bird at my place are very busy indeed…..and loud, even during the downpours today. However, I haven’t seen my hummingbirds for months!

  9. boydo3 says:

    For the record we’ve had 8″ of rain for the first two weeks of May here on the south coast. We also had more 60+ days and 70 deg days in January and February than we’ve had in April and May.
    Upside down it is.

  10. Andy says:

    Currently a monsoon is going through Albany…Doesn’t feel like May.

  11. tim says:

    Cfs climate model update May 13th, is still showing well above normal temps July trough September, I’ll drink to that.

  12. Paul D says:

    No complaints here. Still have the flannel sheets on the bed – pile on the covers and I’m a happy camper!

    Staining the deck? Never again for me! Converting to composite this year!

  13. Roland Derksen says:

    Yesterday my maximum temperature was 50F(10C) and I had a total of 0.70 inches of rain. That’s pretty typical for a mid-November day! Actually what I find annoying isn’t so much the daily rain amounts- it’s that i haven’t seen more than 2 days in a row without rain since February.

  14. Opie says:

    January 12 at PDX:
    Low 43 high 56

    May 12 at PDX:
    Low 43 high 56

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Wow 56? I topped out at 51.
      That’s what annoys me about this setup. I can handle the rain, it’s the 15-20 degrees below normal weather I loathe.

      • Opie says:

        Yeah, I guess PDX was a “warm” spot. Average at Mcnary Field yesterday was was almost 5 degrees colder than Jan 12

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  16. The longer this lasts the better. Really it keeps the dust down, air fresh and vegetation happy. Too many desert people have moved into the western valleys of PNW and got spoiled with the last few springs of dry and heat. We can get our summer days of 80s in July and August that’s fine then.

    • Opie says:

      Hopefully some of those desert folk will decide to leave. Oregon’s population has grown by more than 800,000 since the millennium, most of those along the I-5 corridor. Too many.

    • Oliver Watson says:


    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      I need to buy you a beer, Roman.

    • Mike says:

      I moved here from Tucson for precisely this weather. I do trail work, and it’s great seeing a lot of water in the streams. Who knows, we may make up for the 7 week dry spell in the winter.

      • tim says:

        We already did and this summer will make up for a cool wet April and May with extreme heat, can’t wait.

  17. West Linn 200 says:

    You guys can replace your KPTV 7-day forecast bookmarks with this image

  18. Gregory Carich says:

    No ac, quilts, fires, cooking/baking, furnace still clicking on a bit…soo nice.

    Livin’ the dream! (Give the deck a rest, Mark.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Save that for winter, there is no reason whatsoever that we should still be heating our homes in mid-May, this weather is beyond annoying.

  19. Peter Christenson says:

    Our cool and wet spring (and yes, I too would like a bit more golf weather) has exactly zero predictive power in terms of summer. I “predict” persistence–that is, a July-August that is safely above the new 30-year norms, but is near the norm for the last decade. No reason at all to expect a cool summer. And by the way, I believe in science.

  20. JJ78259 says:

    I remember people on this blog saying that 2010 to 2012 weather probably won’t happen again as temps heat up due to global warming. It is nice to see that the more things change the more they stay the same!

    • Rob - S.E. Portland says:

      Exactly. All of the fear mongering global warming, climate change, whatever they want to call it, it’s all nonsense.

      • Jim says:

        California would like a word with you Rob

        • tim says:

          It’s a fact our climate is warming, melting polar ice, rising sea levels oh and of course our increaseinly hotter summers including lasts June never before heat wave and other factors, dam climate deniers.

  21. Roland Derksen says:

    There’s still a few days to go, but it seems likely that this spring will see my latest date for the first 70+F daily maximum temperature. My current record is May 19th in 2011.

  22. West Linn 200 says:

    Ah yes, another lovely February day before we transition back into March

  23. UGH says:

    Not sure why I even checked the blog, just more disappointment. I’m tired of the “we are due for a payback” rhetoric, why can’t the PNW just have normal weather, ever….

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah the frustration isn’t out of step with historical averages and all that business. It has everything to do with fact that in Jan and Feb when sun is low and days are short and we actually WANT cold and wet, we instead get persistent ridging. When days get longer and sun gets higher we can’t get a ridge to save our lives. I’m happy that we’re raising snowpack and protecting ourselves for fire season. But give me the snow in Jan and Feb so we don’t “need” it in mid-May. This weather is terrible.

  24. lurkingsince’14 says:

    Grumble grumble. Time to up the Vitamin D dosage.

    Warm rain actually sounds delightful at this point. That’s pretty sad 🤣

  25. Rob - S.E. Portland says:

    Thanks, Mark

    Yep we were definitely overdue. This is looking like a May-vember to remember. Look how chilly it has been!

    Last May
    70 degree days: 5
    80 degree days: 8

    This May
    70 degree days: 1
    We MIGHT see one more 70 degree day Sunday, but 80 degrees looks unlikely to me. Enjoy the cooler Summer ahead. I’m going out on a limb stating PDX will see NO 100 degree days! MBG Money Back Guarantee.

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Hi Rob!! I would love no 100 degree days! Bring on cool summer — this weather reminds me of 20 years back.

      • tim says:

        Anything thing below 116 would be a cooler summer or 108 for Seattle and even if it doesn’t get to a 100 80s and 90s will be very common.

  26. JERAT416 says:

    Thanks Mark! Yeah we are due for this. Nature is balancing us out. I wouldn’t mind more 70+ degree sunny days, but unless we get to the beginning of July without any warm, dry pattern likely, I’m not gonna gripe TOO much.

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