lets talk about the weather (winters, esp) in Portland, Oregon [edited title]

I’ve heard they’re bad. Real bad. Like you literally don’t see the sun for 4 months.

What’s the straight dope?

I’ve lived in northern tundra (but not like north dakota type, a little more temperate). I can deal with overcast skies for a good chunk of the winter, but there is nothing better, imho, than a snow covered landscape on a bright and sunny (albeit cold) day.

I also am of the opinion that rainfall when it is 35-40 degrees is just about the worst weather in the world. I hear Portland gets a lot of that?

I can compare meteorological observations, and note that PDX gets about as much sunlight as some of the places I’ve lived in in the past (midwest) but it seems that there are significantly fewer clear days (suggesting that there is more perpetual overcast in Portland, but it’s not as thick overcast)

so, what’s it like?
alternatively, I’ve heard that the Summers are fucking gorgeous. But it seems a bit chilly. Can you safely walk around with shorts and t-shirts at night during the majority of the summer?
Oh, and lastly! How is it for sunlight hours? Is it pretty bleak in the winter, and super sunny late at night in the summer? or is it at a good longitude for the timezone?

anyone? bueller?

Since you finally mumbled something about PDX, I can now tell you are talking about Oregon, and not Maine.

I grew up in Portland, OR but I haven’t lived there for 31 years. I don’t expect the climate has changed that much.

Snow is not usual in the winter. Rain that freezes at night when the temps drop is not, however, unusual.

Mostly, though, it is cloudy and cold and often wet (but not freezing). Yes, you can go four months without significant sun, although when I lived there it seemed like there was always one week of beautiful weather in February.

Summers, when I was there, were very iffy. It might be cloudy for weeks; or there might be a hot spell that would last for weeks. I always had an air conditioner in my apartments, which I used a fair amount in the summer. The weather in the summer can be fine and can be shorts weather, but it’s just not reliably that way.

Hope this helps,

yes, I forgot about that other Portland!

[li]People in Portland sweep the excess water out of their common parking places just so someone else can park there. It’s so rude.[/li][li] People in Portland use those big golf umbrellas that standing at an intersection wait to cross the street, total strangers sneak under just to stay dry. It’s so rude.[/li][li] People in Portland ride the Max trains and actually talk with each other. Total strangers! It’s so rude.[/li][li] Geez, if it actually snowed for any length of time in Portland, Portlanders would shovel their streets just to make it easier for the snowplows to get through. It would be so rude.[/li][li]At least they enjoy their constitutional rights to ride bicycles and jog naked.[/li][/ul]

I award you zero points. Thanks for contributing nothing of substance.

Well, the 7 day forcast is for rain, rain, rain, mostly rain, probably rain, maybe it will stop for awhile, and nope, more damn rain.


To add to what the others have written: as far as snow, in December '08 we got a good amount, a couple of feet, that stuck around for most of the month and pretty much shut down the city. This was an extreme case. Usually, it might snow a few times each winter, maybe an inch or two, sticking around for a day or two at most.

Highs are usually in the 40s and lows in the 30s. For a few days, up until Tuesday, the highs barely got above freezing; they kept saying on the news it was going to snow yesterday, but it didn’t. And right now, at 1:30 in the morning, it’s 51°, which is very unusual.

As for the summers, yeah, it’s very pretty. From just after July 4th through some time in September it’s hardly cloudy at all. The rest of the year, though…

They say we have an average of 13 days each summer where the temperature gets above 90°. This past summer was less than that, but the summer before was brutal. I really, really hate heat, though, and tend to whine a lot when it gets above 80°, so take what I say with a grain of salt. :slight_smile: It rarely drops below 60° at night, I’m always fine in just a t-shirt.

And sunlight: on the winter solstice the sun sets around 4:30, and on the summer solstice it sets around 9:30 or 10:00. I couldn’t tell you when it rises, it’s always up by the time I finally wake up. :wink:

Added “Oregon” to the thread title at the OP’s request.

We’re just a bit above the 45º latitude so our daylight hours are quite varied from season to season. It’s bleak in the winter. Lots of grey, lots of drizzle. Sometimes there’s actual rain, and every so often it’s so windy the clouds are gone for a day. GESancMan described it to a T. The last three years winter has started in gone on right until June, and that’s when it gets sunny and warm. Usually before that it’d start getting warm right around the end of March, but still lots of clouds and drizzle. If you have a regular day job, you can easily go 4 months without seeing much sunlight due to our 7 hour days and heavy cloud cover.

Snow around here cripples the city like you wouldn’t believe. Even the threat of snow will close the schools the next day. It’s really annoying. We had freezing rain the other day, which shut down the schools too.


I am a native Oregonian and will add that although it is certainly overcast a lot, it is hardly without a break. There are definitely days with beautiful blue skies, even in the depths of winter. I’m not saying there’s a lot, but for example, I was back in Oregon over Christmas break and we went to the coast (maybe an hour or two from Portland) for a short vacation–it was clear and sunny three out of four days. I’m not saying it was warm but it was sunny. We got lucky there, and it could have been the other way around easily enough, admittedly, but it’s not like a death march to spring. There are beautiful days.

As others have mentioned, though, we don’t get a lot of snow, though, so you’re probably going to be out luck with regards to “snow covered tundra.” Portland is only a few hours away from the Cascade mountain range though (skiing and snow a plenty.)

But if you don’t like temperate rain, please don’t come to Oregon. There are temperate *rain forests *in the mountains. It rains a lot. But we like it that way. :slight_smile:

I just moved to Portland about 18 months ago from Northern Arizona. We live out at the edge of the east side (Troutdale), where weather is generally regarded as worse than Portland proper.

Most days are mostly overcast, but there are regular breaks for 3-4 days with clear sunny skies as well. I don’t find the weather that bad, but my wife has a little more trouble with it. It doesn’t bother me because I’m one of the few people actually enjoys the rain and I love the greenery you never could hope to have in AZ. I think your definition of rain matters also; for me, ‘rain’ meant “heavy, drenching monsoon-type downpour”, but we rarely have rain like that up here. Mostly it’s just a slow off/on drizzle, I usually don’t even bother to bring a rain jacket or umbrella when I’m around town. Sometimes it does get fairly cool though, days in the low 40’s with showers are fairly common.

Temps can vary wildly, mostly in relation to clear/cloudy skies. Wednesday morning we had iced up cars and roads and today it was in the high 50’s. They do get some occasional snow here, but it’s so infrequent that it tends to snag things up even when it’s only a couple inches. I can see how 8 inches would shut the city down.

Summers are awesome and it can stay light from about 5:30 to 10:00 or so, which makes up for the comparatively dark winters. The weather is definitely warm enough to allow for sleeping in a hammock all night with shirtsleeves and shorts, at least IMO. I love that OR has four distinct seasons, compared to the two I got in AZ.

One thing I will note (and my wife has noticed this also), is that people in Portland (and Oregon in general) love to complain about the weather. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this exact conversation:

Oregonian: So where did you move here from?
Me: Arizona
Oregonian: WHAATT?? Why on earth would you ever do that?? You must be hating it up here! I can’t believe anyone would move here from such a great climate, You’d have to be crazy to do that!..etc
Me [trying to be polite]: Yeah, I guess it is pretty rainy sometimes… So how long have you been here?
Oregonian: Oh, my whole life. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. There is literally nothing in the world you could give me that would make me move away.
Me [to myself]: Then why the hell are you making it out to be so terrible?

We actually have a running joke about who will get the “weather exchange” most in a single day.

I’ve heard (as a joke) that people up in the PNW exaggerate how bad the weather is as a means of keeping everyone else from finding out how sweet it is up here. Maybe they’re all just mad because we broke the code and came up anyway. I can confirm that it still works against in-laws; mine “can’t stand the rain”, so they refuse to visit except during July and August. They’ve never even bothered to ask us how the weather actually is, they’re just running on the idea that it’s completely miserable the majority of the year.

First off there are “2” seasons to this Hell On Earth…Winter of 40 degrees and rain for “9” months and Summer for 3 months with ok temps but still cloudy! You better have a strong tolerance to shitty weather and shitty people to live here…thank GOD my partner and I are going to San Diego for October and NEVER coming back to Oregon! Talk about suicidal thoughts? People being unfriendly because of the weather, etc…truly a dark dank over-rated hell on earth! Be Well! LoveUGodBless T and J kabbalah matthewshepard madonnalicious

PS…I MOVED TO OREGON IN 1998 FROM Wisconsin…needed this many years to get the income to move south to Sunny San Diego CA! Amen And Hallelujah to 60+ degrees and Sunny for all year:) !!! Let me say that again…61 days until we MOVE TO SUNNY HAPPY SEXY SAN DIEGO! Amen and Hallelujah!

PSS…Do not get fooled by the green trees crap people talk about…the trees do not give sunlight…to me…too much green! UGH!

um u r about as lost as anyone—read my post below! you make your wife suffer in this shit climate? repentage! thx loveugodbless tj kabbalah matthewshepard madonnalicious

Don’t you mean mackdonna handheld shoehorn butterhorse?

I’ve lived in the Portland metro area for about 12 years, and came from an area in the central prairies. All I can say is one of my biggest peeves is listening constantly to native Oregonians whine about how bad the weather is here.
The real scoop on Portland weather…

  • It is rarely windy
  • It rarely rains hard
  • There is almost always breaks from the light drizzle they call rain every single day
  • There is almost always a few days with some sun in every single week. Might not last all day but it it there.
  • It barely ever freezes or snows. But good news if it does, they City may well shut down for the day and you can stay home. Certainly your kids will be.


  • the most temperate pleasant weather. Not too hot, but never too cool. Never muggy, but never too dry either. Goldilocks would love it here.

Your post is above you my wayward son. Carry on.

Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain’t love then tell me what is? You don’t love Portland, you don’t know love AFAIC. And no, I’m not from Oregon.