Surprise! Summer kicks off with toasty temperatures

Find out what we can expect for the Independence Day holiday – and for the remainder of the summer. Also, read on for some good ideas about staying cool …

Although weather forecasters promised temperatures topping higher 95º, this reading at Division Station, in mid-afternoon heat, shows it didn’t warm to that degree.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It seemed like the climate over neighborhoods outer East Portland rapidly switched from “winter” to “summer” in mere hours – a week before the July 4 holiday. And forecasters predicted near-record-breaking temperatures.

To get the weather word from the source, East Portland News traveled to National Weather Service, located in Parkrose on NE 122nd Avenue, and spoke with Meteorologist Jeremiah Pyle.

It’s going to be a warm summer, says National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeremiah Pyle – “but we’re unlikely to break heat wave records this week.”

“The weather definitely changed in a hurry,” Pyle conceded. “It’s hard to believe that only a week ago, we were seeing high temperatures in the mid-60s, and lots of rain. In about a three-day period, we saw the weather patterns do a 180° turn – going from a strong low pressure area over the Pacific Northwest to a strong high-pressure center.”

This “instant summer weather” comes courtesy of what Pyle called an “area of abnormally high pressure over much the western United States.”

When the high pressure system installs, he explained, it ‘blocks’ the progression of the weather systems coming in off the Pacific Ocean or from the Gulf of Alaska. “With this high pressure over us, it ‘backs up’ that flow – and any cloudy or rainy weather is shunted off, to well north of us.”

The weather charts, some of them seen here in the Portland National Weather Service “Map Room”, indicate that summer is on its way – but without a major heat wave here.

While it doesn’t look as if Portland will see record-setting heat, Pyle said it has stayed warm overnight, due to the sun warming the earth, pavement, and buildings.

“But also, the warm overnight temperatures we’ve had are, in large part, actually due to having quite a bit of moisture in the air,” Pyle explained. “Normally, with offshore flow, we get a dry flow of air from the Cascades. We’re not seeing that this time. The moisture in the atmosphere helps prevent us from cooling off overnight.”

By Thursday and Friday temperatures should be back into the 80° range, he said. “We’ll be seeing typical summer weather – but it is interesting that it’s here before July 5th.”

Here, inside their outer East Portland offices, weather forecasters say to expect a warmer-than-average summer this year.

About the summer, Pyle said it’s difficult to draw any long-term conclusions from this week’s “short-term weather event. It doesn’t mean the we’re going into a period of extended heat. We can very easily go back into a cooler, moisture pattern in a week or two.” It may start warming up again this weekend.

But, overall, Pyle said, the National Weather Center is predicting an overall warmer and drier summer for the Pacific Northwest.  He conceded, though, “It’s tough to project much beyond seven to ten days out.”

Stay cool, in a Portland Parks pool – or Splash Pad

This Portland Parks & Recreation “Splash Pad” in Earl Boyles Park, located at SE 112th & Boise Street in the Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood, provides hours of cool fun.

A backyard wading pool or garden hose is always a good way to quickly cool off on a hot day. Or, consider checking out one of the “splash pads” now operating in these outer East Portland parks, on ’most any hot day:

  • Earl Boyles Park – SE 112th & Boise Street
  • Raymond Park – SE 118th & Raymond Street
  • Stark Street Island – SE 106th & Stark Street


The City’s oldest outdoor pool, a longtime favorite, is the Sellwood Pool – located at 7951 SE 7th Avenue, at the south end of Sellwood Park.

Many Portland Parks & Recreation swimming pools are open on July 4, starting at about 1:00 p.m. and lasting as late as 5:00 p.m. for “Open Play Swim” (depending on pool, other times available); regular fees apply.

Three pools – open on the holiday – are:

  • East Portland Community Center Pool ~ (503) 823-3450 ~740 SE 106th Avenue
  • Mt. Scott Community Center Pool ~ (503) 823-3183 ~ 5530 SE 72nd Avenue
  • Sellwood Pool ~ (503) 823-3679 ~ 7951 SE 7th Avenue

CLICK HERE to open the “wet and fun” Parks Bureau webpage.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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