I’d definitely put Portland’s Summer 2011 in that category, wouldn’t you?
Just look at this first graphic. While much of the country was smashing hot weather records in July, people in Portland and Seattle were wondering: will summer ever start? Will this be a repeat of 1954–the only year in history when Portland never hit 90 degrees?
It’s easy to see why we were thinking that, isn’t it? What was missing was a lack of a big ‘summer’ ridge of high pressure that clears our skies, warms our air and works with small scale features to kick up some east wind that generates heat and sends temperatures soaring. For Portland’s July 2011 weather, that just wasn’t happening.
Slow Star To Portland Summer 2011, Strong Finish
June highs were 4 degrees below average, July was 3 degrees below typical high temperatures, then August was 1 degree above average with consistent heat and sun. But September was summer’s star if you like hot weather. The long-term average high for the month of September is 75 degrees. And as you see in graphic number two, we blew that away!
Portland’s 90 Degree Days, Hottest Stretch Of Summer And Hottest Day
This bar chart shows the impressive September heatwave that started September 6th and lasted for nearly a week. Some years this would not be a big deal. But this summer, a string of 90s like this seemed impossible to believe until it happened! Only Troutdale set a single day record during this stretch by hitting 92 degrees. So it was hot–but not record hot for most of us.
Overall, Portland had 7 days that hit or topped 90 degrees this summer. Our average is 11 days. This year we had five days in September (see the bar chart!) and two days in August. And what’s funny is that our first 90+ degree day was also Portland’s hottest day of 2011: 96 degrees on August 20th.
And then there’s the rainfall for Portland, Oregon during the summer. We are totally opposite most of the country because they have their wettest months in the summer thanks to moisture streaming in from the gulf of Alaska. But not us. We’re dominated by comfortable airflow from the Pacific Ocean and during the summer, the main storm track stays north most of the time. So storms go north, too.
Overall, Portland rain was just 64% of average which is why fire danger suddenly spiked by Labor Day weekend.
Be Sure To Tip Your Local Weatherman
Northwest holiday weekends and wet weather go together like a hot day and sunscreen. But not this year. Nope. Both the long Fourth Of July Weekend and Labor Day Weekend were sunny and dry, with temperatures in the ‘warm to hot’ zone. Shouldn’t I get a little something extra for that? Hey, it was worth a shot.
So goodbye summer 2011. You were a little late showing up–but then you really brought your ‘A’ game. See you again, next year!