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What's Up with This Oregon Coast Mini-Spring in February?

Published 02/12/2018 at 4:15 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

What's Up with This Oregon Coast Mini-Spring in February?

(Oregon Coast) - What's up with this remarkable spring-like weather on the Oregon coast in recent days? Highs around 50 degrees or higher, calm, almost non-existent winds and lots of blue sky much of the time. It's actually been warmer here than inland areas like Portland or Salem at times. (Photo above: this morning on Oregon coast, courtesy Rock Your World Gallery).

This nice run won't last for long: the sun will hide away again on Tuesday. Yet it's not that unusual for February, either. Some on the Oregon coast have nicknamed it the “mini-spring” of February.

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Statistics show you get an average of seven to fourteen days scattered throughout February that are extraordinarily warm and inviting. They also show that while Portland can have a sunny but chilly day in the 30s in February, the coastline is more often than not basking in temps well over 40.

Even more extraordinary: windless beaches (like recently) will feel as much as 20 degrees warmer. Hit the sands and you'll notice. Part of this is the fact the ocean reflects the sun back and can really heat things up.

Much of the country starts to exhibit a warming by February, but the moderating factors of the ocean can keep this climate shift above average.

It all begins with the fact this of year is starting to see longer days, which continues warming things up. Weather is simply warmer, on average. February moves over a kind of tipping point, with the daylight hours having been on the increase for several weeks.

When those clear days of late happen – and it’s not all the time, that’s for certain – they’re colder in the valley because of the east winds bringing colder air. Basically, cold air settles in the valley. But on the coast, weather is automatically more moderate because it’s next to the ocean, which is about 50 degrees, keeping things from straying too far away from that temperature. Because of this you get a lot of days on the coast more around 50 in the winter, while the valley regions are much colder and more winter-like. In the summer, this same dynamic keeps the temperature down.

The coast range also blocks the cold air dynamics from the east, helping to keep the moderate temps trapped by the seashore. It also keeps the chilling winds away to some degree, if they're coming from the east.

Almanacs back this up, in general. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

The irony is it can often be warmer in February than during spring break.

Temps inland and on the Oregon coast have been rather extreme as of late, however. Nights have been close to freezing while days in the 40s in Portland but above 50 on the beaches. Tuesday during the day will see more clouds on the coastline, and that will stick around until Monday, when a nice run of sun seems again in the works. See full Oregon Coast Weather.

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