PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — We kicked off the weekend with one record high temperature Friday, and of all places, Astoria Airport came in hot at 82°. The previous record was 75° degrees (2015). What’s the 30-year climate normal high for Astoria in early May? A cool 59° degrees. Portland International Airport was only slightly cooler by one degree, with 81° for a high Friday. We know our forecast was spot on but the calendar for these temperatures is way off. Normal daytime highs for Portland are in the low 80’s in July, not early May.
Forecast temperatures this weekend for Portland and the valley are expected to reach the mid 80’s. With 86° in the forecast for Portland, that’s above normal by 20° degrees! If we reach 86° at PDX, that will tie the record high for May 9th. Examining the frequency of these hot temperatures at PDX – the maximum temperature in May is more than or equal to 85° degrees only 5% of the time. In other words, it happens but not often.
Another consideration is wind. Winds were gusting out of the east up to 35 mph in Vancouver Friday. We’ll likely see a repeat performance Saturday afternoon. The strongest winds will be found at the west end of the gorge and spill over to the Portland and Vancouver metro areas. While the passes through the coast range will also experience strong easterly winds, a change is coming to the coast. The thermal trough transitions to the east which will allow westerly winds to return to our beaches. That cool, moist air will bring a drop in temps to the immediate coastline this weekend but it will still be warmer than normal with highs in the mid 70’s.
There are more clouds in the picture Sunday. PDX is expecting 84° degrees. With more of a southerly flow taking over Sunday and moisture coming up from a system offshore, thunderstorms are possible for Linn and Lane counties over the Cascades and foothills.
When it’s suddenly warm like this, you may crave a nice body of water to chill but those river temps will give you a rude awakening. Yes, river temps have increased a few degrees over the last two days, but that still leaves you in the 50’s at best. Look at the graphics below. Sandy river is the coldest listed on this map. At 49° degrees you have 30 – 60 minutes before loss of consciousness. For rivers in the 50’s you have 1 – 2 hours before loss of consciousness. These immersion times assume you survived the initial cold water shock. Not everybody knows how to swim and not everybody wears a life jacket. Consider these risks before you go in.
One last piece of advice from this mom on Mother’s Day weekend: Keep a safe distance from others. Keep a mask handy. We all have to adopt this new spatial awareness, be extra mindful of our personal hygiene, and darn it, stop touching your face!
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