Fire season okay so far, plus some “warm” Pacific Ocean water along the beaches

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:44 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

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 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!