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Three Weather Facts Oregon Coast Officials Won't Tell You

Published 09/14/2011

Three Weather Facts Oregon Coast Officials Won't Tell You

(Oregon Coast) – Sometimes, tourism officials on the coast aren't really aware of certain aspects of that area or its relationship to the valley because they've been living there so long. It's not that coastal locals are unwilling to impart information or are forgetful about some parts of a visit to the Oregon coast, it's simply because they're around these conditions every moment and may not notice (above: Astoria during a balmy second summer eve).

Thus, there are a few things you need to know about a visit to the Oregon coast you probably won't hear from visitor centers - things about weather that will surprise you.

Similar Skies Between Coast and Valley. One long-standing myth about visiting the Oregon coast is that if it's sunny inland, it's dreary or drizzly on the coast – and vice versa.

Not always true.

Although that perception is a bit more understandable during summer because if the valley is baking in 90-degree heat or higher, those weather systems tend to suck ocean air and create fog on the beaches. So you get more foggy, apparently opposite conditions on the coast.

Cannon Beach

The fact is the coast – more often than not – shares the same weather systems as Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, etc. Indeed, cloudy conditions or sunny systems often come rolling in from the west, so the beaches will get them first.

Granted, this isn't all the time, and there are other varying factors. This translates to if you want to know what the weather is like on the beach, you're often getting a preview if you're in the I-5 corridor.

Since the coast is more temperate than the valley, it's much less likely to go outside a 20-degree range. During the winter that's 30's to 50's and summer that's around the 40s to 60's. So keep in mind that summer it's going to be a cooler version of what you see inland, and in winter it's often a little warmer.

The coast has its exaggerating factors, however. Windy in the valley will mean extra windy on the coast. The same goes for rain and other storm components. Those wild, weather mood swing days of spring where rain alternates with sun are greatly exaggerated on the coast.

Then there are definitely instances where the east winds whipping through the Gorge and Portland don't hit the coast, and the opposite conditions are in place again.

Depoe Bay

However, by and large, you can often get an idea what you're going to find for coastal weather by looking at conditions inland. It's true whether you're heading to Cannon Beach, Seaside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Newport, Yachats or Bandon.

Second Summer. Indeed, this one is played a bit up more as the facts are coming to the foreground more in recent years.

September and early October are typically the warmest times of the year on the coast. Thanks to a variety of weather conditions that have piled up in combination over the summer – and the fact that inland Oregon has cooled off – there are less temperature differences between the coast and the valley areas. Those differences in summer drive things like fog on the coast, but with those gone you get a greater number of warm, blue sky and windless days.

Statistics show this, and it's often quite spectacular. These conditions last through mid October – usually. Then more wintry, stormy weather kicks in. But many years find these warm, mild days lasting well into a couple days before Halloween.

This is also the time of year when visitor numbers drop off sharply, leaving great deals at lodgings, fairly empty roads and deserted beaches. Word is getting out more and more each year, so these aspects seem to be waning as demand for these beaches under sunny conditions shoots upward.

Between Yachats and Florence

The “Secret Spring” of February. One very little known pleasantry about the coast is that February can feature up to as many as 14 days of extremely warm, sunny and cloudless skies – like the Second Summer transported to February. These occur in between the more tempestuous days that are typical of this time of year. They're not consecutive: they happen throughout the month, and usually around ten days of this weather.

You get a series of conditions and days that are fairly windless, often clear blue skies, and temps in the 50's and even high 60's. Once you get out on the beaches or away from any wind, it can suddenly feel really balmy at times.

What's really interesting is that the valley can be freezing and frosty but with sunny skies, and this often translates to nicer weather on the beaches.

The reason is that the coast's temperate climate is reacting to the slow warming of this region and longer days. Since the coast doesn't vary nearly as much as parts of inland Oregon, those sunny skies in the valley – even if it's around 30 degrees – can create stunning balmy conditions on the beaches. Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour



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