Cue the “it always rains on the Rose Festival” jokes right? I’ve been in Portland for 30 of the last 31 Rose Festivals, and lived within two hours of here most of my younger years. I know it’s not true that it’s “always wet” in early June in Portland. But this year that WAS pretty much the case. The stats below are from a brief report I sent to the folks over at the Rose Festival, all based on PDX weather station records.
The Portland Rose Festival normally encounters changeable weather since it occurs during the seasonal transition from spring to summer in the Pacific Northwest. Typical high temperatures during Rose Festival are in the lower 70s. Some years are showery, some almost all dry; but most years it’s an agreeable mix of the two. This year was much different. Frequent showers, steady rain, or even downpours fell at the worst possible times. This included: opening night and ribbon cutting, during the Starlight Parade, and record rainfall in the 12 hours leading up to the Grand Floral Parade. One bright spot was the Junior Parade; skies were partly cloudy with comfortable temperatures and no rain.
- This was the 3rd wettest Rose Festival since at least 1940, only exceeded by 2010 & 1997. 3.67″ rain fell from May 26th-June 12th (this year’s dates)
- 12 of those 18 days saw measurable rain
- The 1.42″ rain on Friday, June 10th, was the 4th wettest day recorded during a Portland Rose Festival.
- Temperatures were the coolest in several years, but not “record setting cool”
- Most notable was that coolest temperatures occurred on weekends with warmer midweek days; poor timing for those weekend events Take a look at high temperatures since Memorial Day weekend
During the 11 main “event days”, rain was recorded on ALL of those except one. That was Junior Parade day. These 11 days include: Thursday-Monday opening weekend (Memorial Day Weekend), Friday-Sunday 1st main weekend, then Wednesday-Saturday ending parades/weekend.
Opening weekend: A downpour for the ribbon cutting was followed by a well-advertised cool and wet Memorial Day weekend. High temperatures struggled to get above 60 degrees Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, well below normal for late May.
Starlight Parade and weekend: A steady and/or heavy rain was forecast for Saturday evening and it arrived. It was a very wet evening. That was followed by frequent showers on Sunday. On the parade block KPTV was set up on this year, attendance appeared to be 1/3 to 1/2 of previous years.
Junior Parade: A great day! Partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 70s
Grand Floral Parade: This weekend was forecast to be a “cool and showery” weekend, but not excessively wet. Parade forecasts called for just a few light showers or even mainly dry. Little or no rain fell on the parade. But extremely heavy rain fell all day Friday and into Friday night leading up to the parade. As mentioned, that rainfall was some of the heaviest observed in the month of June in the Portland area. In fact it was the 4th wettest day in June history. This may have led to the perception of a “washout weekend” ahead for many Portlanders as they slogged through a Friday evening commute.