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Best Weather of the Year for Oregon Coast Approaches: Second Summer

Published 08/27/2019 at 4:43 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Best Weather of the Year for Oregon Coast Approaches: Second Summer

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(Oregon Coast) – It used to be the Oregon coast's best kept secret: the best weather of the year on these beaches is always around September and early October.

It's still not widely known and a thorough surprise to many, and really the biggest secret is that it's had a name for over 20 years, called Second Summer. This season even positively affects whale watching.

Sometimes locals refer to it as the “first summer on the coast,” especially if it's been one of those bummer summers of lots of overcast and rain. One fact about it remains constant, however, and that's that it's the warmest weather you get all year along the beaches and the least amount of wind. If you throw in much lesser crowds and not-so-heavy traffic, then you have the most inviting time of year.

Even better: these conditions often last through mid October, and that's when lodging prices really start to dip along with the crowds. Second Summer in the first half of October is downright jaw-dropping, and you're apt to find yourself alone or nearly alone at many usual hotspots.

You'll find less winds, a higher number of sunny days, temps often around 70 or more - even hotter down south around Brookings and Gold Beach, where it becomes rather tropical. The effect gets even more remarkable when you're at the breakers, right at the tideline. If there's no wind and temps are in the 70s or even upper 60s, it will feel as much as ten degrees warmer because the ocean and the sand reflect the sun back.

It's hard to say if it's simply cyclical or actually climate change, but recent years have had the warmer days go well into later October. In previous decades, the middle of the month is when the coast shifts to more blustery, fall-like weather. Often, this still begins in October, but the rainy patterns get interspersed with the warmer, Second Summer-like days in between the storms.

Lodging prices begin to drop a little in September, but often larger towns hardly see any drop because hoteliers know they can get the room nights now that the word is out. Weekdays tend to drop more, because not everyone can play hooky from work on a nice day. Look for great deals then.

Larger price cutbacks for weekends begin later in September and certainly by early October. By November you're looking at full winter price reductions.

Granted, the Second Summer doesn't always occur like clockwork. 2017 was a much wetter September than usual, and another year actually saw the SOLVE Beach Cleanup canceled because of an early major storm.

The science behind it is real and kind of a kick. Primarily behind this is the fact the ocean has been warming up over the summer while the inland region is cooling. This lessens the temperature differences between the two, which squelches that tendency for fog and decreases winds. Less winds from the north or west mean the warmer eastern winds come in more easily, which warm things even more. Part of that action is that they are heated up by coming down the west of the Oregon Coast Range.

These weaker wind patterns from the north or west also allow warmer winds from California up here – yet another warming factor.

Essentially, according to regional meteorologists, the normally tempestuous coastline calms down because of these heating influences. As long as a more sunny weather system comes in, that is. If weather patterns have something different in mind, it's simply rainy.

Whale watching is also another major highlight of this season. Calmer conditions mean they're more easily spotted. If warmer waters stick around, baitfish move in (as often happens in September) and Humpbacks may hit the north coast in droves. The central coast sees more gray whales. In any case, whale numbers are high.

Even dragonflies get in on the act. There's a major migration of them for a week or so as they head southward, resulting in spectacular sights.

Add to all this the lesser crowds on weekdays, whatever the weather. Even weekends can be less in density than summer – but not always by much. In this information / internet age, everyone has access to Oregon coast weather information inside their back pocket. Once the word gets out, the people come out in droves.

Still, you're apt to find warmer temps and less crowded beaches throughout much of September. The later you get in the month, the more this is true. Keep an eye on Oregon Coast Weather during the week and weekends, and be prepared to head on short notice.

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