What You Don't Know About Oregon Coast Weather: Second Summer

Published 09/10/2015 at 4:04 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff


(Oregon Coast) – A popular myth about the Oregon coast is that summer is the most pleasant time to visit. In fact, the best is yet to come just after the summer vacation.

September and early October are actually the warmest time of the year on the Oregon coast, according to scientists and local officials. It's called the “Second Summer” of the Oregon coast, where the skies of September and October are at their clearest, the winds are at their calmest, and the temps often loiter into the 70's.

It's also a time when the crowds are far less, traffic is (mostly) on the lighter side, and the lodging prices start to dip from summer's highs.

For decades this was quite the secret, but it's becoming more publicized each year. Social media passing along weather reports certainly doesn't hurt.

Some, like Newport Chamber of Commerce head honcho Lorna Davis are quick to point out this not-so-well-known wonder of weather, while other locales stay rather silent on the matter. The fact is, even many of the tourism officials like to keep this time of year to themselves a bit.

The science behind the second summer phenomenon centers around a unique set of circumstances. The valley starts to cool off in September, but the waters off the Oregon coast have heated up over the summer. This makes the temperature differences between the two regions closer to each other, and that, in turn, changes the interaction between them. Warmer air from California more easily comes up and warms the Oregon coast further. This evening out of temperatures also decreases upwelling, which in turn decreases wind. Meanwhile, less differences in temperature kill out that phenomena that sucks in unevaporated air off the ocean, which is what makes the beaches get so foggy during the summer.

Granted, this year has been extraordinary weather since late winter. And nothing much will change in that way, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Colby Neuman. He said the long term trends are pointing to a fairly average weather pattern for September.

Even now, the north Oregon coast looks to hit close to 80 in some spots later this weekend, as a small heatwave hits the inland valley and Portland area.

About October 15 is often the turning point for the Second Summer, as things start to get blustery and in a more wintry mood. Most of the last 15 years or so have boasted at least seven days worth of sunny, warm weather beyond that point, however.

Weekends in September still tend to get more crowded as word about this time of year gets out. But if you're lucky enough to be able to hit the beaches during the weekdays, you often have nearly tropical weather mixed with empty roads.

Lodging prices take another dip in early October, as the Second Summer is still simmering. Weekend traffic drops quite a bit, making it the most enticing time of the year. Some larger towns, especially Seaside, don't drop lodging prices much until the end of September, however.

A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive the place, the more it will drop in price. Less expensive hotels or motels will drop less.

Over at the Newport Chamber, Davis said wait until the tourist population drops and you'll see a difference. And it doesn't take long.

“Certainly after September 15 there are some reductions, there are more discounts, and you’re more apt to find two-for-the-price-of-one specials to entice people to come out,” she said. “This also a really good time to book conferences and meetings, and you see a lot of those happening because the lodgings aren’t as packed, or they are attracted to the place by the lodgings’ sales efforts.”

Another awesome aspect of Second Summer: whale watching.

Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said he sees more whales at this time of year than at any other.

“Not because there are more whales,” he said. “But because the east winds make for less white caps and calmer waters, so it’s easier to spot them.”

Keep up on Oregon coast weather.




 

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