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Best Weather of the Year for Oregon, Washington Coast in Sept., Oct

Published 09/08/20 at 5:41 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Best Weather of the Year for Oregon, Washington Coast in Sept., Oct

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Right about now begins the best weather of the year on the Oregon coast and certainly the Washington coast. On the Oregon side it’s been nicknamed “second summer” for a couple of decades now, and it means that September and early October generally have the warmest conditions, bluest skies and least amount of winds than at any other time of year.

It often outshines summer itself, although this past season has been a stellar one for the beaches.

Normally, it comes with other awesome features, such as gradually lessening crowds and much cheaper rates by October. This year, thanks to everyone’s lasting sense of cabin fever from COVID-19, it’s quite likely the crowds won’t dissipate much at all in September, however, and it’s difficult to say what October’s soaring weather will do for those still itching to get out.

In previous years, however, September has been almost as jam-packed as summer, except maybe with some lesser activity on weekdays. Most hotel rates don’t start to go down until after September. Certainly, October meant crowds disappeared, roads emptied and hotel prices dipped – making this the most attractive time of the year to come out.

Whatever happens this year when it comes to over stressed beach towns, the weather will likely stick around the lower 70s on many days and maybe even the 80s at times. If the winds are as calm as they normally are, you’ll see a dramatic heatwave effect especially at the tideline. When there’s no winds around, those 50s and 60s on the sands can feel ten to 20 degrees warmer because of the way the sands and ocean reflect the heat back.

Down on the southern Oregon coast temps can often flare into the 80s or 90s, becoming downright tropical. From Florence southward you’ll find less people as well, leaving you more room to enjoy the full second summer effect.

Granted, not all this is 100 percent. Some years, second summer never really took off. 2017 was a rather humdrum September, and one year several years ago saw enough rough weather that the SOLVE Beach Cleanup was canceled (an absolutely unheard event until this year’s COVID).

In mid October is when the second summer effect usually gets squashed: that’s the general turning point to a more wintry pattern for the beaches of Washington and Oregon. However, thanks to changing climate issues recent years have shown the effect to last longer and longer.

There’s plenty of science behind it, which comes from various interviews conducted by Oregon Coast Beach Connection with meteorologists over the last two decades, including a few from the National Weather Service.

The primary force is that the ocean has been heated up all summer and the inland area starts to cool, which then lessens the temperature differences between the two. This allows more winds from the east to come barreling through, over the coast range and Willapa Hills – a journey that warms them even more.

Those lesser temperature difference also halt that mechanism where the valley is sucking moisture off the ocean (that’s what creates fog in summer when it’s super hot inland and colder on the coast).

Another major factor are the Santa Ana winds from California, which have an easier time to push northwards because there’s little wind pushing back. This is one reason why you may be at the tideline and feel a much warmer wind from the south. These really heat up the south coast, but start to have less of an effect the farther north you go beyond the southern Washington coast.

Essentially, according to regional weather experts, 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. See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

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