The Pacific Northwest is known for warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters -- and Portland is no exception. Compared with Seattle and Vancouver, however, Portland is both warmer and dryer all year round.
A quick comparison of averages tells us that Portland gets much more rain than the average American city (42 inches versus an average of 37 inches). But then again, there are 144 sunny days and an average temperature of 71 degrees.
And even though many days may be cloudy and drizzly, it's rare to hit stormy weather or a full day of heavy rain.
A "Mediterranean" Climate
Portland is near both mountains and sea, which means it has what is called a "Mediterranean" climate--though the reality is that Portland is nowhere near as warm as southern Italy! In general, Portland's summers are warm and dry, its winters are cool and rainy, and snow is rare.
Summer is a great time to visit Portland. There is little rainfall (only about 4.5 inches during the entire summer), and days are warm and dry. Even better, while the weather is warm, it's rarely hot: high temperatures in June, July, and August generally top out in the low 80's. August is the hottest month, but if you're from the broiling mid-Atlantic, south, or southwest, you'll find the weather refreshingly cool.
As you move into later September, you'll find the weather a bit more unpredictable.
Heat waves and cold snaps are not unusual. At the same time, the clouds will begin to move in. Expect drizzle -- but no major weather events. Hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes are very rare.
By December the weather is fairly cold (though not by Minnesota standards!). Temperatures hover around the mid 40's, and it's rare to have a true freeze.
Even in mid-winter, rain is more likely than snow. In fact, the average snowfall in Portland is just 4.3 inches, and that little bit of snow generally falls over the course of just a day or two.
When to Visit
The sunniest times of year are October through May. Most visitors arrive in Portland during the summer months, which is a terrific time of year. You'll find plenty of outdoor festivals, natural areas for hiking and boating, and outdoor restaurants and bars.
On the other hand, summer is more crowded -- and for many people, the misty green forests and mountains of winter are even more attractive than bright summer days. And even in the depths of winter, you'll almost certainly be able to hike and explore the gorgeous scenery of the Pacific Northwest.
What to Expect When You Visit
These averages should give you a good sense of what to pack on your next visit to beautiful Portland, Oregon! No matter what time of year you arrive, though, it's always best to bring clothing you can layer. You never know when the sun may break through!
Average Temperatures and Rainfall
|Average Temperatures and Rainfall in Portland, OR|
|Avg. High Temp||45°||51°||56°||60°||67°||74°||78°||80°||74°||64°||52°||45°|
|Avg. Low Temp||34°||36°||38°||41°||47°||52°||56°||56°||52°||44°||38°||34°|
|Avg. Precipitation||5.4 in.||3.9 in.||3.6 in.||2.4 in.||2.1 in.||1.5 in.||.6 in.||1.1 in.||1.8 in.||2.7 in.||5.3in.||6.1 in.|