After a record-hot October, Oregon could be in for a cold, wet winter

By Jeff Thompson (OPB)
Nov. 2, 2022 8:54 p.m.

The first three weeks of October were hotter and drier than normal, then winter weather set in immediately.

Despite the cold, wet end to last month, it was still the hottest October on record for Portland.

The average high temperature, measured at Portland International Airport, was about 1.5 degrees hotter than the previous record, according to Andy Bryant with the National Weather Service.

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“We also had 12 days with high temperatures of 80 degrees or more,” Bryant said, “and the previous record for the Portland Airport was six. So we didn’t just break it by a little, we broke it by a lot.”

Falled trees, stuck cars and downed power lines led to the closure of W. Burnside Rd. at NW Skyline Blvd, April 11, 2022.

Falled trees, stuck cars and downed power lines led to the closure of W. Burnside Rd. at NW Skyline Blvd, April 11, 2022.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

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He said the first three weeks of October were abnormally hot and dry, then there was a very abrupt change at the end of the month.

Bryant said the current run of cold and wet weather will continue in the Northwest through at least the next couple of weeks. Snow levels will intermittently drop, and the Cascade Mountains’ passes could see up to a foot of snow by next week.

As of Tuesday, studded tires are permitted in Oregon, and chains or traction tires are required for anybody driving over the passes. Bend and some parts of Eastern Oregon have already seen snow.

“I encourage people to be prepared,” Bryant said. “This is the time for thinking about what your plan is for winter preparedness. Because it really stinks when all of a sudden the forecast says 6 inches of snow or freezing rain, and you haven’t really done anything to get ready. Now is the time to think about that.”

For the longer-term forecast, Bryant said this will likely be the third winter in a row to see La Niña conditions.

“La Niña just means cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, and typically the impact of that for the Pacific Northwest is cooler and wetter conditions,” he said. “I would qualify that though … We’ve seen everything ranging from warm and dry, to very cool and wet. But on the whole, the average La Niña ends up cooler and wetter than what we would see otherwise.”

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How Oregon Dungeness crab make the journey from sea to table.
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