They left Portland in jeans and jackets — pretty sure it would be even colder once they got to Mt. Hood. We all know mountains are colder, right?
Yes, in general. But on Thursday September 20, 2012–it was totally different. In fact, Mt. Hood was 20 degrees warmer than Portland!
Portland’s high temperature on one of the last summer days of 2012 was just 63 degrees. Almost a record because it was so cool. The city stayed stuck in clouds (after the fog and drizzle stopped!) and continually had an ocean breeze which this time of year is like a giant air conditioner left on. Cool air filled in the Willamette Valley. Jeans and long sleeve shirts were a good call.
But drive about 60 miles east of Portland to Mt. Hood–and up to elevation 4,000′ and you’d feel better wearing shorts and flip flops! At Government Camp and Mt. Hood Ski Bowl the temperature hit 83 for a high. A full 20 degrees warmer than Portland.
The sun was shining bright all day long. And it was one of those days where the air just a few thousand feet up was very warm. Much warmer than the ocean breeze in the valleys below. So that warm air combined with all day sun boosted temperatures like it was a summer day. Which, technically, it still was. Visitors to Timberline Lodge — elevation 6,000′ — enjoyed a high of 77 degrees! Even in July and August it’s not that warm too often.
Now imagine the folks on that road trip, driving back from a very warm Mt. Hood. As they drive down the mountain the car thermometer shows the temperature dropping. They drive into the clouds and say, “That’s so weird. Mount Hood was 20 degrees warmer than Portland!”
It is weird. And it is rare to see that big of a temperature difference. But it’s an inversion–the inverse–or opposite of what’s normal in our northwest air. Ironically, it happened on the day that Timberline & SkiBowl announced their Fusion Pass went on sale for the upcoming winter! I love the timing on that one…
I’m sure this is the first of many weather surprises ahead in the coming months!