Cool Memorial Day Weekend ahead, but not all wet

7pm Tuesday…

The big holiday weekend is approaching quickly! Last year was the 2nd warmest Memorial Day Weekend on record in Portland. That sure isn’t happening this year!


We have seen some warmer weather lately which has been nice. I’ve been able to work in the yard and garden sans mud. But May is still running (so far) the coolest since 2011.


Those numbers are for Portland, but I checked Salem which has been influenced less by the urban heat island. This month was close to the average temperature from the early 1960s to early 1980s. That WAS a cool period, but the point is that this “chilly May” isn’t really all that bad and we’ve sure seen it before.

We’ve all had a chance to get outside and enjoy dry weather for several days now. No measurable rain the last 4 days at PDX is the first time we’ve seen 4 consecutive totally dry days since early February! A few passing showers have dropped a trace today, with some of you picking up measurable rain this evening. Definitely more than I expected. Of course we picked up our typical May rainfall in the first half of the month:


High pressure strengthens a bit tomorrow and Thursday for warmer temperatures. I expect low-mid 70s both days. But then things are going downhill once again. The warm upper level ridge overhead will be replaced by a wet westerly jet stream by late Friday. Even California will get some showers…unusual in late May


By Monday, a chilly upper-level trough is sitting over the western USA. We will be on the cool side of that jet stream Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.


Right now it appears we won’t see that many showers Friday, but an organized (& wet) system comes through the region Saturday. Showers may even show up in the driest parts of central & north-central Oregon Saturday. Then expect lots of leftover showers Sunday. The good news? Most of the cool/wet airmass has moved to the south and east by Memorial Day itself. That means the 3rd day of the weekend could be best.


Weather this long weekend might be better along the beaches…not so many “pop-up” showers Friday and Sunday near the chilly ocean water. This is what I’m thinking for the northern Oregon and southern Washington coastline


With a cold airmass over us through the weekend, higher elevations are NOT the place to be. Expect snow as low as 5,000′ during the overnight hours. Passes will be fine, but it’s a cold/wet camping experience at the Cascade lakes!


By the time May ends and June arrives (Wednesday), the cold trough is gone and that means much warmer and more typical weather.


Just 4 days later the Starlight Parade is on tap…it’s too far out to see if another trough will be dropping in for a visit. For now it seems safe to say that we’ve got a few days of showers from late Thursday through Sunday, then drying the middle/latter part of NEXT week. You can see the gap in the ECMWF ensemble chart



1) A cool and somewhat showery weekend is on tap across the ENTIRE Pacific Northwest. But not a soaker every day

2) Wettest should be Saturday and Sunday. Much more reasonable (or mainly dry?) Friday and Monday

3) Expect mountain snow down to 5,000′ at times


4) Even the driest parts of the region in the Cascade rain shadow (Central Oregon) will get at least a few showers

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

55 Responses to Cool Memorial Day Weekend ahead, but not all wet

  1. Weatherdan says:

    A much awaited warm up appears to be taking shape in mid June. A warm but not hot week is ahead. Then a brief downturn this weekend (of course), followed by our first chance of 90 around mid June. Even in a cooler than normal Summer which I’m not convinced we will have you have some warm or hot weather. To have it continually cool all Summer long would be unprecedented and that won’t happen. Not in a warming climate. In the meantime let us celebrate the real meaning of Memorial day and honor those who gave so much for us. Peace.

  2. West Linn 200 says:

    Most forecasts have backed off on Wednesday’s 80 degree temps compared to a few days ago. Euro even more pessimistic now

    Euro ensemble mean: 73
    KPTV: 81
    KGW: 80
    KOIN: 77
    KATU: 79 78
    Wunderground: 76

  3. Zach says:

    Its weird to see the gfs push for crazy high pressure over the end of the run, mid June only a week or so earlier than last years crazy heat wave. This time though, the heights are at a lower latitude so the worst of the heat is in CA. Fortunately still in clown range so no need to panic yet.

    • tim says:

      The 18z is a bit cooler but still has it, on to the 00z.

      • tim says:

        It’s not that weird with severe drought in California and much of the west, I think most people forget drought or dry soils intensify heat and creates it’s own weather, aka ridging.

        • Zach says:

          I didn’t think the GFS had enough resolution to account for soil moisture.

        • tim says:

          From what I read online the the current soil moisture is feed into the gfs but you should do your own research don’t quote me on that info.

  4. tim says:

    Well would you look at that the 12z euro is starting to follow the gfs and gem ensembles slowly but surely.

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    I think we have a chance here on Wednesday to at least come close to the 80’s. Up in my area, 80+ temperatures can come as late as July. Summers 2011& 2012 I didn’t see that temperature until July 7 and 8th respectively, so if I see it anytime before those dates, I’ll be happy.

  6. tim says:

    12z gfs has first major heatwave for central and northern Sacramento valley with 110s around the 10th, what would it take to push that up in our area? the trend is looking good for heat my garden is gonna be happy.

    • tim says:

      12z has 124 degrees for Redding area on the 14th which would break the all-time record high of 118, the ongoing drought is gonna give the west extreme heat this summer and another heat dome is not unrealistic for us this year.

      • Anonymous says:

        and its only 16 dayss out cannot wiait for it to happen1!

        hope we get atleest 90 in that

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Meanwhile, your heatwave this coming week is obliterated. I don’t think we’re going to even hit 80. Hopefully we can make a run at the latest 80 ever. We’re getting close.

  7. tim says:

    The weather channel released there summer outlook which has us and most of the west above normal temps I think by mid to late June things will finally change.

  8. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Pretty monumental rainfall bust for Portland. .26” in the bank and another .10” in the next 24 hours if we’re lucky. The “soaker” of a day today ended up being two hours of moderate rain and dry the other 22 hours.

  9. Roland Derksen says:

    4.91 inches of rain in total for this month, and a few days with showers yet to come. I’ll reach that 5 inch total I think! 🙂

    • Peter Christenson says:

      If I get an inch from the weekend storm I’ll hit 5 over here on beautiful Bull Mountain. Fire season will hold off till Midsommar.

    • boydo3 says:

      8.81″ so far here in Port Orford. Double the average..

  10. West Linn 200 says:

    KPTV 7-day has 80+ degree temp listed again. Seems to be the highest one amongst the local stations too.

    Let’s see how this turns out next week. Here are the current forecasts for Wednesday 6/1

    Euro ensemble mean: 74
    KPTV: 83
    KGW: 78
    KOIN: 79
    KATU: 81 81
    Wunderground: 81

    • tim says:

      I think everybody forgets the euro is a cold bias model always has been I never liked the euro for that reason it’s incorrect, even mark says to add 3 to 5 degrees for the highs.

    • Opie says:

      I’ve been impressed with lately so I’ll go with 81

    • Opie says:

      Whoops, I was looking at the Salem forecast. Weather channel is right now showing Portland at 83.

      • tim says:

        Yes they are right not the arctic cold stupid wrong euro that should be dismantled forever and ever.

      • West Linn 200 says:

        Yeah I think all the other stations changed to 83 by the evening, but they’re slightly back down.
        Euro not budging by much.

        Here’s what it looks like this morning

        Euro ensemble: 76 (GFS Operational is also showing 76)
        KPTV: 83
        KGW: 82
        KOIN: 80
        KATU: 82 81
        Wunderground: 81

  11. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Some spots in Newberg picked up a quick inch of rain under that line of heavy showers. The dome held strong here. .02” on the day.

  12. tim says:

    It’s looking likely will have our first heat event next week with 80s for both Seattle and Portland, let our long hot summer begin 🙂.

    • Jimmy Johns says:

      Atta boy, keep swinging. You’ll be right one of these times.

      • Snomanski says:

        I’ve not seen any predictions from you, JimmyJ. Better get into the contest so we can judge you!

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Heat event? We will maybe have one 80+ day. Maybe. That would be a heat event in January, not June.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Not so fast- remember even in last June, the really hot weather came in the second half of the month.

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  14. Opie says:

    Thanks Mark,
    A few rainy days to keep things green and my garden watered, then a stretch of warm and sunny. Doesn’t get much better!

  15. Roland Derksen says:

    Some light showers here this morning (0.07 inches) and clearing skies this afternoon. My total for the month so far is 4.10 inches- so it’s unlikely we’ll see a record wet May, but with more precipitation coming, I’m expecting at least 5 inches in total.This spring has had so much more rain than last year’s.

  16. Paul D says:

    Much nicer than last year!

    • Gene says:

      Such a dumb thing to say, especially when thinking of all those people who work hard all week and all year, and look forward to a warm, sunny Memorial Day weekend to enjoy outside activities such as barbecues, picnics, golf, tennis, hiking, biking, softball, yard work, lounging on the back deck, etc. Paul, how many people do you think will be doing any of these things this weekend? Stuck inside all day reading or watching TV is fine for December or January, but people are ready to get outside and enjoy some fun activities in the warm sun during a holiday weekend such as the one coming up

      • Tanis Leach says:

        Nice is relative based on the person. Some people really don’t like 80 degrees or higher. Plus, areas east of the cascades, and south of US 20 need the rain.

      • Zach says:

        They literally had all of April, May, & June last year so this is just make up time. Too bad for them

      • OLIVER WATSON says:

        Getting enough rain and wet weather to really damper fire season trumps any desire one may have to enjoy a nice sunny weekend . I used to complain about the rain but after the last few years of fires, smoke, and drought I say bring it on.

        • West Linn 200 says:

          You’re giving yourself a false sense of security. If we go through July completely dry and especially with a stretch of 90+ degree weather in there, fire season will be even more dangerous because the shrubs, grasses, and ground-level vegetation are thicker than they otherwise would be; these plants unfortunately dry out quick and catch ablaze easily. That’s why you see many road-side fires in the summer… one spark from a flat tire or chain scraping on the freeway and up in flames it goes.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Regardless of how incredulous you are, Gene, there are indeed those of us that consider cool, grey and wet weather to be nice and preferable to warm and sunny.

      • West Linn 200 says:

        I would love warm and sunny at this point as well, but your comment seems unnecessarily mean honestly. I think you can make a case for your opinion without telling people they’re being dumb or saying dumb things.

      • JJ78259 says:

        I enjoy 90 degree Memorial Day long weekends. Hanging by the pool with family and friends. Fun in the sun! Great way to start summer.

  17. West Linn 200 says:

    Thanks Mark!

    Latest GFS runs show this pattern will go on through mid June. Given how June is technically a summer month, I guess we are at least starting summer cooler. Not that it’ll stop the continued “Hot dry summer” propaganda

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