Heavy rain soaks the PACNW as “Juneuary” rolls on

7pm Monday…

This weekend I was camping (in an RV) in Northeast Oregon. I’ve never seen it so green in June over there and throughout the eastern Gorge and Columbia Basin. So much water in the rivers and creeks in one of the drier parts of the region. Meanwhile, a massive June soaking nailed the Portland metro area Friday and Friday night. I’ve don’t think I’ve seen so much rain in June over such a large area; typically it would be more isolated thunderstorm events with a soaking in one neighborhood, but much drier elsewhere. Regardless, I’ve always liked the term JUNEUARY, a portmanteau of JUNE + JANUARY. It’s a bit dramatic (it’s not really like January), but it works.

Portland picked up .37″ Thursday evening as the rain began, then 1.42″ Friday, .12″ Saturday, and .05″ today. That makes for 1.96″ at PDX out of this system, VERY wet for June and more than we typically see in the entire month. But wait, there was more…a LOT more in some of the surrounding east metro areas. Strong westerly flow in the middle atmosphere pushed subtropical air up into the Cascades. That squeezes out far more rain in the eastern suburbs than west metro. There were spots that picked up 4″ of rain in just 24 hours! Just a few totals here:

This is why, averaged out over time, that hilly areas and east metro picks up far more rain that west metro. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left home and it’s soaking wet. I get to work (west metro) and it’s been dry all day. The driest parts of the metro area average less than 38″ rain per year, the wettest close to 60″!


Portland NWS put out a statement today that included many other locations: https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecasts/display_special_product_versions.php?sid=pqr&pil=pns

The result is mainly full flood control reservoirs throughout the Willamette Basin. A great video of water overtopping Cottage Grove Dam (it’s supposed to do that) for the first time in many years: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3678519672375179

The Columbia River is also experiencing minor flooding in the metro area due to snowmelt upstream and plentiful rain. We saw it near this level in May 2018 and a bit higher in May/June 2011. That year (2011), it stayed near/above flood stage from late May to late June! Before the dams, the Columbia would rise very high (or flood) almost every late spring and early summer

What’s Ahead?

We get a bit of a break this week, more typical mid-June weather. Although temperatures remain mainly below average over the next 7 days. You’ve probably heard about the scorching heat across the middle of America? It’s because we are locked into a pattern with a large area of hot high pressure (a heat dome) over the continent, but a cool upper-level disturbance (low pressure) over the Pacific Northwest.

We haven’t had a single instance of a strong ridge of high pressure lingering for more than a day or so since way back in March. That will continue this week. At midweek (late tomorrow), that upper-level low is gone…we warm up a bit Tuesday-Thursday (like previous weeks)

But then check out this coming Friday. Another deep dip in the jet stream pushes cooler air inland again; that southerly flow along the West Coast can be wet.

Check out that extreme heat across the USA! Yes the rain is annoying here, but I’ll (for now) take the cooler/cloudier weather instead. It’s too early to know how much rain we might see next weekend. I’ve seen this pattern produce areas of heavy rain both west and east of the Cascades, but often it’s not obvious where the heavier stuff ends up until we’re within just a few days. The big message is…


22 Responses to Heavy rain soaks the PACNW as “Juneuary” rolls on

  1. Mike says:

    I love this. I was checking a trail near the Waldo Lake Wilderness, and there were 3 feet of snow at 5100′. The streams are beautiful. It will be hot enough soon enough. Beats wildfire smoke.

  2. tim says:

    12z gfs is showing some warm/hot weather late June. will Seattle see it’s first 80 before July?, well see.

    • tim says:

      Seattle last hot July was 2018 I think we’re due and Seattle last 100+ in July was 2009 I think we due, hint hint to mother nature.

  3. Weatherdan says:

    Every Winter many people are consumed with concern for the poor skiers. We are supposed to put up with all the crummy weather for the sake of the skiers. Well how about some concern for the farmers who are suffering from all this rain. Or golfers or baseball players or mountain hikers or home gardeners or the rest of us who just want a sunny warm day. I probably shouldn’t complain so much on this blog so I will keep this short. I just want a warm dry Summer from this point on. That,s all. Peace.

    • Gene says:

      Well said, Weatherdan. I think most Oregonians agree with you on this, despite a few commenters here who would plead otherwise. Enough of this June (and May and April) gloom — time for some warmth, sun and blue skies!

    • OC550 says:

      That’s a good point. As a skier, I watch the weather closely during the winter (and of course snow pack is more important than skiing). But this very wet spring has impacted farming, youth sports, hiking, gardeners, etc. I don’t mind the rain, but will be nice to get some 80’s and sunshine sometime soon. Perhaps summer will start on July 5th as the saying goes. Certainly hasn’t felt like summer yet.

  4. Renee Sokol says:

    This reminds me of Junes from the 1979-1989! We could always count on the Rose Festival parades being rainy and the carnival at the Waterfront being covered in mud! So this June is bringing back lots of good memories of my middle school/high school/early 20’s and I appreciate this weather; especially after last June!!

    • Paul D says:

      People that have lived in the area only a few years don’t know what the area is typically like and they expect sunny days before the July 5 Summer Switch flips! 🙂

      • West Linn 200 says:

        Probably closer to 10 years. We’ve been spoiled for a long time now. I was talking to some natives this weekend and the most popular small-talk discussion was about how much the weather sucks right now. Seems many of us have forgotten how this type of pattern was typically expected. Although we complained about the rain 30 years ago too, so I guess not much has changed in that regard.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      I also think it’s helpful to look at the situation from a historical context. We have indeed seen a trend toward warmer and drier Junes of late. However, even Last June up til the mid-point wasn’t an exceptionally warm and dry month. What happened after the 15th, though, was.

  5. ron says:

    According to my rain gauge, we’ve had 93.55 inches of rain in Nehalem since late September.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    Cool but relatively dry up here in my area lately. Can’t say the same further east near the Rocky mountains. Sparwood- a town near the Alberta border got over 2 inches yesterday with some snow reported in higher elevations.

  7. tim says:

    When does that extreme heat move over us? I’ll be waiting and hoping.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Not in the next two weeks

    • West Linn 200 says:

      I take it you didn’t catch 00Z GFS last night, it was pushing near 100 towards the end of the run. You gotta stay vigilant man

      • tim says:

        Let’s see what tonight run shows, maybe the 00zgfs is on to something. At some point the heat is gonna happen before fall, the cfs model is looking hot for July.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        I don’t even bother looking at the operational beyond a week. Neither the GFS nor the Euro ensembles even hint at heat.

        Look at the 18z GFS operational. Showing 850 temps close to 0C at the end of the run. That’s why it’s worthless.

  8. West Linn 200 says:

    Thanks Mark!

    Wow I thought we got pummeled here in West Linn. 5.52in of rain in Corbett is insane.

    I don’t see anything indicative of another rainy weekend on the current 7day though, is it just behind? The 7 day forecast looks great to me, so hopefully that’s how things play out.

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