A cool and wet spring has turned into a hot summer, more heat is on the way

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post. Summer vacation interfered a bit, plus we keep real busy around here lately…lots of newscasts! Not as much time for blogging during the warm season.

That brief heatwave around the 7th gave us another 100 degree day, then temperatures cooled and SOME of you had quite a thunderstorm on Tuesday evening the 9th. That was mainly down around Salem. The Portland metro area has avoided any sort of overnight lightning event this year. Even though technically we didn’t have 3 days at/above 90 last week, anytime we get well above 95 it’s considered a heatwave.


Our 4th heatwave arrived Monday and today we topped out at 98 degrees. That makes today our 20th day at/above 90 degrees this season


August temperatures are running well above normal now. What a string of warm/hot Augusts…we haven’t seen a cool August since 2010!

The culprit is upper-level heights consistently higher than normal since late June. Right now we’ve got a strong upper-level ridge centered over Idaho.


That ridging keeps the marine layer quite thin and right along the coastline. Strong ridging means nature’s air conditioning (cool ocean air flooding inland) shuts down. It appears this setup may continue through the end of August as well. Take a look at the 500 millibar pattern (lines) and anomaly (colors) the next 7 days. This is around 18,000′ overhead


Then the 8-15 day forecast (ECMWF ensemble average) looks similar


Head down to 5,000′, use the GEM (Canadian) model instead, and the temperature anomaly is there for that last week of the month.


This is going to go down as a very warm August…once again. Let’s just hope we can avoid a setup that could give us strong easterly wind for high fire danger, or lots of thunderstorms. As you probably suspect, this is a very dry pattern. Today was our 42nd day without rain…in 11 days we’ll break into the top 5. Keep watering!


Tonight we are seeing a southerly upper-level flow bringing cloud cover and a few light showers north. The cloud cover overnight following a hot day is the perfect setup for a very warm night. We may only drop to 70 degrees…yuck. Of course the all-time record was set last year during the historic late June heatwave.


These records can be tricky to achieve for two reasons; they are based on the calendar day AND on Standard Time. For example, if we only drop to 70 around sunrise Thursday, it must stay at/above 70 all the way until 1am Friday to have that number stay on the books for August 19th. A strong marine push tomorrow evening could drop us below 70 before that time. We will see!

58 Responses to A cool and wet spring has turned into a hot summer, more heat is on the way

  1. Tanis Leach says:

    On a different subject: Hurricane Season:

    I have doubts about how above average this Atlantic Hurricane season is going to be if at all. I’m getting strong 2013 vibes, with how the Saharan dry layer is currently affecting the MDR, and wind shear. Also, it looks like there isn’t going to be a hurricane in the entire month of August or before. With everyone so dead set of above average, I’m going to buck the trend and say not so fast. I’m not saying below average because La Nina years tend to be back heavy. There is a 100% correlation between the first hurricane not happening before Sep 1, and a season being near or below average. Sep. 10 is the peak of the season. Other seasons with a La Nina and these criteria: 1984, 1988 (both near average seasons) So these are my predictions (industry standard margin of error):

    TS: 12 (+/- 3)
    Hurricanes: 5 (+/-2)
    Major Hurricane: 2 (+/-1)
    ACE: 90 (+/- 25%)

    If there are no storms that form in August, it would only be the 2nd time in the satellite era (1997 was the other). Said season was below average but had 2 hurricanes in July.

    Current August record with these margins of errors (1st season predicted 2018): 93.8%
    May Record: 66.7%
    Portland Winter Record: 65%

    • Tanis Leach says:

      Correlations to winter here:
      Only 1 season had an above average water year, and just barely above average (1967, above average threshold is 40 inches)
      Slight correlation of below average temperatures (3/6 years were below average, 2/6 years were above average)
      Slight correlation of above average snow (median snow adjusted to todays average is 5.4 inches, overall median is 2.5 inches). 1 year was snowless.
      No correlations to arctic blast frequency (2/6 years, right at average), however, the median lowest temperature is 3.5°F below the climate adjusted median.
      No correlations to windstorms
      Peak time is not adjusted
      High correlation to a good April 1st snow depth for the mountains 5000 feet or higher. Moderate correlation below 5000 feet.

      • Tanis Leach says:

        Just as an FYI, these will NOT be primary factors in the winter weather forecast but may tip the needle if I’m on the fence about anything as a late tiebreaker.

  2. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    The latest weekly Niño 3.4 reading is -1.2C. Looks like we’re heading into a moderate La Niña this winter. Triple dip. Beautiful. The endless sun and warmth will soon be a distant memory.

    • tim says:

      The effects of la Nina or el nino don’t happen until after the first of the year according to meterogists and models have la Nina weakening to neutral enso by then so don’t get to excited yet.

      • tim says:

        Did some checking and found la Nina has weakened to neutral conditions by the start of winter three other times since records were kept and it’s looking likely this year will be the fourth on record.

        • Timenators says:

          Like you said tim, don’t get too excited about your la nina weakening to neutral by start of winter.

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          La Niña is heavily favored through December/January/February. It isn’t until February/March/April that neutral conditions are favored. It’s normal for La Niña/El Niño to peak in mid-winter.

          Batten down the hatches, Tim. Soak up the sun while you can. We’re losing about 3 minutes of daylight per day now. Meteorological autumn is 9 days away.

        • tim says:

          No, the cfsv2 model has enso above -0.5C in January which marks the end of la Nina and most other models agree, what models are you looking at? not sure we’re your getting your info from.

        • tim says:

          Yes I said la Nina and el nino effects happen in winter but la Nina will be dead by then therefore it will have no effect on our weather.

        • Tanis Leach says:

          I’m assuming Joshua is getting it from here: https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

          Go to slides 23-25.

    • Tanis Leach says:

      Posted this on a local skiers Facebook group since they are hyping up the La Nina winter as a legendary ski season incoming:

      Every time that there’s been 3 La Nina’s in a row, the 3rd one has been the driest of three. This includes 2000-01, the driest water year on record for the Willamette Valley. Also, the temperature affect is exaggerated. Weak and moderate La Ninas have an equal chance of being above or below their decade’s temperature average, but strong La Ninas are twice as likely to have below average temperatures than above average. At this time, it does not look likely it will be a strong La Nina.

      BTW: Neutral years for comparison: Twice as likely to have below normal temperatures compared to above average. However, when its above average, its above average more than La Ninas.

      Below average is defined as -1°F from their decade’s average in this case study.

      • Bethany250ft says:

        The sample size for third year Niñas are very small though aren’t they?

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          Exactly. Plus, analogs are proving to be worthless. We simply don’t have a long enough history of recorded weather history to account for the unfathomable amount of variables.

        • Tanis Leach says:

          56-57, 75-76, 00-01 are the only ones, so yes. 2012-13 was close. 56-57 transitioned to neutral by mid-winter. The precipitation correlation also exists from 1st-2nd year la ninas, which there are far more in the data set.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s hope it’s all wrong and we have cloudless, sunny days in the 80’s though the new year!

    • Snomanski says:

      What’s really remarkable (and depressing) is that we’ve only had TWO nighttime lows below 60 so far this month. 2 of 23. We might get 2 more 58s and that’s it. That would be 4 of 31. I doubt that’s ever happened before, but I’d love it if somebody could verify that.

  3. Roland Derksen says:

    Whenever the last days of August come around, I’m reminded of how we (here in BC, anyway) sometimes get a rainy spell at this time. It doesn’t happen every year, but more often than not, it can turn wet within this time of the month. This year it doesn’t appear to be so, but I’m watching carefully.

  4. tim says:

    12z gfs has a trough around the 7th but but that’s probably a outlier since models have the tendency to break down the ridge too soon.

  5. …crazy electrical storms around La Grande/Cove this morning 🙂

  6. West Linn 200 says:

    Euro is not buying the heat from previous GFS runs for end of the month. GFS is now much cooler as well, so that’s nice.

    I’ve been watching out near the gulf of Alaska for a few weeks and things are quite active out there with moisture, so I would not be the least bit surprised if the faucet turns back on soon just as suddenly as it shut off in June. I mean anything goes with our weather, but with so much activity trying to blast our way, it’s hard to see us staying dry much longer. We’ll see what happens after labor day.

  7. X says:

    Just curious if school schedules might be screwed with if this heat keeps going as we are coming to crunch time for school. I wonder if early releases will happen semi-frequently next month.

    • Lurkyloo says:

      My kids attended PPS all through elementary and high school. My youngest just graduated this year. I don’t recall one instance of an early release due to heat. I picked them up early once because of an incoming snowstorm …

      • JohnD says:

        Likewise. Funny previous thoughts.
        Enjoy it while we have it mates!
        And balmy gorgeous sunsets lately to boot!

  8. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Both the GFS and Euro operational get us above 100 at the end of the month. Regardless of whether that happens or not, we are going to be way above normal indefinitely. We’re already almost 4 degrees above normal this month. No way we don’t achieve the warmest August ever. Our dry streak will push into the top 5 all-time before the month is over. I see no reason we can’t beat the all-time 90 degree day record too. Why not?

    • Bethany250ft says:

      Using the NWS forecast and the weather.com forecast after that, August 2022 would end up as the warmest month on record, beating July 1985 by more than a degree!

      • tim says:

        Cpc week 3 and 4 has us warmer and dryer then normal it probably won’t be until October before things finally change.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Holy smokes. I didn’t know that. Not too shocking though given the relentlessly warm/hot days and nights.

        Disgusting that we will have had the hottest week ever in July followed by the hottest month ever in August. No need to even mention all the other heat records in the past few years. Our summers are no longer pleasant.

        • tim says:

          And just think this is a la Nina summer how much hotter will next summer without la Nina.

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          I don’t think the niño status meaningfully impacts our summer weather one way or another. We are wayyyyyy overdue for a cool summer if that’s even possible anymore.

        • Bethany250ft says:

          Just a year after the hottest day and night too!

    • JohnD says:

      PDX has 20–90’+ days so far this season. Record 31. Seems like a stretch to expect 12 more at this point on. But who knows?!

  9. tim says:

    80’s through the first week September in Seattle and beyond November will seem cool with highs in the 70’s, love climate change.

    • Michael says:

      About climate change, have we had near world wide droughts in history? What was it like for the rest of the northern hemisphere during the dust bowl years. I understand it lasted quite a few years and was a bad one affecting many states but, did it affect other countries as we are seeing now? Thanks in advance.

      • JohnD says:

        Good questions. Considerable time/motivation required to investigate this—for someone so inclined.
        Maybe you—yourself—can be the guy, Michael!

      • X says:

        I believe the Midwest was partially in the dust bowl and partially not. Whenever it got weirdly hot in northern climates: factories and other places often altered schedules…including schools if they were in session whichthey would shorten days if temps went much above 80F in the classrooms or too many teachers complained,etc. Rural schools were impacted more.

        Governments would often give people choices to shut down early or not. You can find it in a lot of news archives during bad warm waves of the 1920s and 30s.

  10. Weatherdan says:

    Beautiful day today. 76 and partly cloudy. Should get to about 84 today. My vegetable garden is just going nuts. Looks like a nice extended Summer this year. Peace.

  11. Roland Derksen says:

    A chance of showers here this morning- but I doubt it’ll be more than a random splatter. At least, however, it’s a cooler day.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      A sprinkle this afternoon from the heavens (about 3:15pm) followed by a soft peal of thunder. The atmosphere is definetly more unstable now.

  12. Opie says:

    The record warmest August at PDX was set in 2017…. 73.6 F

    The average so far this month is 74.7, so a decent chance to break it.

  13. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Epic bust on the right side of things for once. Thank you clouds. Looks like I will max out at 79 here.

    I will take any little win we can get since we have another heatwave next week and then what is looking like yet another one to end the month.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Rains a’coming, looks like its getting stronger too.

    1 hour 20 minutes ago

    10 minutes ago

    About to start raining here in Aumsville

  15. Zach says:

    The cascades have actually been getting some rain today which is nice for the fires. I have a feeling todays temps will underperform if the clouds don’t burn off soon.

  16. runrain says:

    A sign of the times when we declare 83° is “much cooler”. Huh…

  17. Eugene Dave says:

    I haven’t posted here for a few years, but I figured you guys would like to see this. On Aug 9th, Eugene had a brief severe thunderstorm. At one point we had lightning about every 2 – 3 seconds or so, which pretty much never happens here. For once, I actually lived in the bullseye of the storm. We had huge hail for western Oregon standards. Just below ping pong ball sized. It sounded like someone was throwing large rocks all over my roof. They were big enough to explode when they landed on pavement. I even got bonked in the head by one trying to find the biggest ones. Didn’t feel great. I had no damage, but some of my neighbors had small dents on their cars. Here’s a pic I took after they already melted out a little bit.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Wow, incredible 😳 there is a slight possibility of thunderstorms today in the Willamette Valley (and in the Portland area). I really hope we can see some since we haven’t seen much this year. I’ll keep an eye on the radar today 🤗⛈️

      • It is good to see you back on the blog Ken. You have been missed.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Thank you 😊 been busy with work and not a whole lot of weather activity lately. Plus I moved on the 2nd of July. Didn’t move far but moved closer to work.
          We are having a couple of sprinkles right now 🤗

    • JohnD says:

      Great report Dave. I had heard you scored in Eugene Aug. 9. The storm was largely under-reported by Portland media—which is, sadly, not untypical.
      I was in the west mid Valley at the time. Looking at the storm to the east—with the sunlight flooding through the spectacular churning cloud formations—made for great photo ops.
      I was not under the actual storm though—as you were in Eugene. I’ve never experienced that kind of hail. Really terrific!

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