A slow fire season so far, plus some “warm” Pacific Ocean water along the beaches

It’s been a hot August, with 6 days at/above 90 degrees in Portland so far. I expect at least two more 90 degree days tomorrow and Thursday before a late week cooldown.

Right now (on August 23rd), Portland, Astoria, & Redmond are not only experiencing the warmest August on record, but the warmest MONTH on record too.


This month (so far!) is beating out the all-time hot month of July 1985 in Portland. The entire Pacific Northwest has been quite warm.


Does it seem like it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen a “cool” August? Sure enough, the last one was August 2010 in Portland. Not every August has been scorching hot, but a bunch of them HAVE been hot.

Now keep in mind that we still have 8 days to go this month. There have been many Augusts where cooler weather, clouds, and even showers have shown up in the last week of the month. I don’t think that’s going to be the situation this year, but we WILL see a brief cooldown this coming weekend. For now we’re under higher than normal upper-level heights = warm/hot weather


But by Saturday a couple of weak disturbances are moving down through SW Canada.


The result is LOTS of cool onshore flow Friday through Sunday leading to cooler days and cloud cover. I don’t think it’ll be a “gray weekend”, but plenty of morning clouds. There is a good chance we see a few sprinkles or areas of drizzle Saturday morning too. You can see about 1/2 of ECMWF model ensemble members give us at least a trace of rain Saturday.


Don’t stop watering…that’s the best we’re getting rain-wise in the next 10 days. It’s back to upper-level ridging early next week, this map is for the last day of August 2022…next Wednesday



Are you surprised how quiet this fire season has been so far? Yes, lightning strikes have been a bit less frequent, but it’s amazing how quickly fires have been discovered and quickly brought under control across the region. Right now Oregon has 8 large fires burning, but none of them are “raging out of control”. The important number here is the last one…less than one square mile of Oregon has burned in the past 24 hours.


This graphic is about 5 days old, but it gives you the idea…we’re running well below normal for acreage burned as of mid/late August


I don’t see any big rounds of lightning in the next 8 days, and that takes us to the beginning of September! Fingers crossed…


One last item…

If you’ve stepped into water along the far northern Oregon coastline or the Washington beaches, you’ve probably noticed it isn’t as ice cold as normal. You aren’t crazy. Take a look at the northern Pacific temperature anomaly chart. Almost the entire basin has warmer than normal surface water.


Now look at the actual temperatures (yellow is 60-70 degrees) and you see some 60s from about Manzanita north up onto the Washington coastline. The central and southern Oregon coastal waters ARE in the 50s (green)…more normal there.


I don’t have any great thoughts about WHY the water is running warmer than normal. Usually this is caused by the typical north/northwest wind along the coastline turning weaker than normal. But I haven’t noticed that this year. Regardless…should be something interesting to watch

That’s it for now…enjoy the cooler weekend!

50 Responses to A slow fire season so far, plus some “warm” Pacific Ocean water along the beaches

  1. K says:

    And… that’s another 100 degree temp at PDX. Puts us on par with the record last year.

    • Opie says:

      100 for a high at the airport, but Weather.com only showed a high of 95 for Portland. Does anyone know which station they use?

  2. Bethany250ft says:

    Sacramento could break some heat records on the holiday weekend

  3. Roland Derksen says:

    As the month of September is about to arrive, I’m thinking about last September- which turned out to be the wettest I’ve ever recorded. I’m hoping (almost desperately) we don’t get a repeat this time. After a long dry summer, I want a near normal September in terms of precipitation.Last year we had some deluges in the second half of the month. And, of course the rest of the autumn was rainy as well.

  4. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently 68.0

  5. Opie says:

    It’s looking like this month’s average temp at PDX will end up about the same as it was when Mark wrote this post.

    • Bethany250ft says:

      Hottest day and night on record last year, Hottest week on record last month and now the hottest month on record.

      • Opie says:

        Our area hasn’t really had an extreme rain event since 1996. I remember the first day – driving to work Monday morning around 8:00 am, slipping and sliding on icy roads. 60 degrees and heavy rain by noon!

        Parts of Salem had picked up about 14” by Friday night, with more than twice that in the coast range and Cascades.

        If the same event had happened in the early 1900’s, when there were still very few dams or reservoirs? The whole Willamette Valley would have probably been under water.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Don’t forget that we’re about to hit at least a top 3 all-time dry streak.

        • tim says:

          Thank God.

        • Chris says:

          I’ve got to hand it to Tim. I’ve been reading this blog for about 20 years and I can’t remember anyone who’s delivered annoying comments with greater consistency than him. GOAT

  6. tim says:

    This week is looking hotter with each update.

  7. Bethany250ft says:

    2022 is probably going to end up as the 3rd hottest summer on record, after 2015 and 2021, but hotter than 2018.

  8. tim says:

    Interesting the the cpc favors the cfs model more than the euro and gfs model for the week 3 and 4 outlook but with some uncertainty of course bottom line I always thought the cfs model was a decent model and the cpc seems to agree, king cfs.

  9. tim says:

    Cliff mass said we won’t have highs in the upper 80’s again after next week which includes Portland I’m assuming.

  10. tim says:

    The trusty 12z brought the extreme heat back for the first week of Sept.

  11. tim says:

    The good news is will above normal temps are gonna continue thru September at least with no sign of change so bring on the heat.

    • X says:

      And that’s good news how? Do you REALLY want half the state on fire again? It sure seems like your asking for it. Watch my comment get censored.

      • Michael says:

        Glad to see the temps cooling off this morning with some cloud cover. Very nice! Hopefully a sign of fall starting to set in. Im putting on a new roof and need the cool weather to get it going.

        BTW, a ‘negatron’ solves problems, is often first to identify them.

      • Jim says:

        Tim is so into hot weather it’s all he sees. It’s either hot, gonna get hot, or long range is hot. Never changes

        • Michael says:

          Tim is right in many ways though as the heat seems unrelenting in recent times. It’s unlike Oregon to be that way for so long.

          Recent satilite animation shows a dynamic change in the weather. You can see it sheering off the monsoonal cloud development down south around Arizona/ Mexico and at the same time watch cooler air mass moving into the PNW. It’s an interesting change.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Good news? Hmmm… I think we need a change by the time of equinox arrives.

    • Tim D. Williams says:

      Not seeing the heat as you say tim after 9/2. Trending cooler vs hotter through 9/8 and beyond.

  12. Roland Derksen says:

    I didn’t think august 2010 was a ‘cool’ month for my area: it was dry and warm, until the last few days of the month and especially the 31st which had a lot of rain. (over 2 inches)

  13. tim says:

    I just look at the 18z gfs and it has multiple days in the 100’s for Portland for the first week, no wonder the cpc has a slight risk of excessive heat, on to the 00z.

  14. Opie says:

    Weather.com extended forecast for PDX shows little chance of rain through Sept 7th. If that holds it will tie the second longest dry streak.

  15. tim says:

    Today’s Cpc hazard outlook has us under slight risk for excessive heat sept 1-6, I suspect models will pick up on that soon they haven’t yet not for Seattle anyway.

  16. Jake says:

    Hey every1, haven’t posted here in some time so busy with career stuff.

    Mark, great post. I can’t remember where I read a scientific article that was about a study that the oceans have essentially absorbed as much of the green house gases as they can.

    The expected result was that now the oceans will on average oscillate into warmer temperature ranges.

    If I can find it I will post it but the summary is the oceans have absorbed a massive amount of carbon and are the key to knowing our climate patterns over the centuries.

  17. OC550 says:

    I’m ready for Fall. Too many 90+ degree days for my liking. Thank goodness for AC.

  18. tim says:

    2015 warm blob is back and we know how bad mt snowpack was that winter let’s hope it won’t be another 14/15 winter’ but history does repeat itself, well see.

    • tim says:

      That well above normal sst offshore could keep ridging over us for the next several months to come just like 14/15 don’t be surprised if it happens.

      • Jim says:

        It’s all you talk about. Warm, hot above normal. Really gets annoying

        • Michael says:

          It is a real issue these days, facing possible world wide drought. I just started irrigating my cedar and Doug Fir Forest the best I can. I saw native plants dead and dry in the shade yesterday. Tim is just right on top of the real news and it’s appreciated!

        • Peter Christenson says:

          Sometimes negatrons are right.

    • Zach says:

      The whole north pacific is warm, but the highest anomaly is further west towards Japan.

      • X says:

        Let me guess. Fukushima? They are still chucking ice into that thing it’s far from done. If you look at archived ocean maps prior to the disaster you’ll see a lot more blue then you get today.

  19. JohnD says:

    Thank you much Mark—as always.
    Such compelling stuff—to say the least!

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