Hot, then cool, then hot again: The battle between an upper level trough and ridge this week


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Are you ready for a swing in the temperatures this week? We officially hit 90 for the first time this month on Aug. 10, but we are going to be in the mid-70s this afternoon.

Right when you start to get used to that, we are going to be soaring into the mid to upper 90s by the weekend. Talk about a frog dance of sorts in the middle of August.

As of mid-day, clouds are streaming by but the view overhead is still very nice. Those to the east did have some morning rain, which always helps out when it comes to the wildfire season. The National Weather Service over in Pendleton was celebrating the light precipitation today on Twitter:

The view of the visible satellite above, which is like taking a picture of space, is showing off the stretch of clouds over the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and some foggy conditions along the California Coast. We have an upper-level trough, which is an area of low atmospheric pressure settling in right over us. This generally leads to cooler temperatures and more action for the PNW.

In the summer, that may mean just more morning clouds and some cooler temperatures for the valley with windy conditions for the Gorge and central Oregon. Below is an idea of that area of low pressure to the north moving our direction and a westerly flow. It also is doing a good job depicting the convergence leading to that light rain to the east.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about weather patterns, we have a weather lesson just for that here. Eventually, as the weekend approaches, so does the August heat! An upper level ridge, which is an area of atmospheric high pressure, builds in our direction. This generally leads to warmer weather and sunny conditions in the summer. An idea of that is represented below as the heat takes over the western states.

Although that upper level trough will win the battle midweek, that ridge really hits hard come the weekend. Now that you can see all the heat on the western side of the United States above, here is an idea of what that means for our temperatures in Portland. Driving the afternoon temperature 20+ degrees warmer from Wednesday to Sunday. Courtesy reminder, to be prepared for the heat in four days!

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