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Portland Heatwave in 2021 [Infographic]

By Bill Tran, Aug 17, 2021


The Portland heatwave is a part of a bigger heatwave sweeping over the U.S. west coast.

Portland has seen temperatures rapidly rise as spring turned to summer, culminating in a string of three days where the city recorded its hottest temperatures seen in the month of June since (at least) 1938, which is how far back the OregonLive dataset goes back.

While setting a new June record, Portland has seen its share of intense heatwaves over the last eight decades.

To learn about Oregon’s record temperature trends, check out our infographic below:

portland heatwave


Portland heatwave trends since 1938

Portland, Oregon may have had June temperatures higher than 100°F at some point, but the OregonLive dataset only goes back until 1938. From the data available, we can say with certainty that from 1938 onwards there were several instances of 100°F weather (and hotter).

The first time there was a Portland heatwave reaching a high of 100°F was in 1942, on the very last day of June. It took another 40 and 50 years before it happened again when 100°F was reached. It happened on June 18, 1982 and June 22, 1992.

Then, it wouldn’t be until the 21st century where those temperatures were seen again in Portland. Near the end of June in 2006, two consecutive days saw a Portland heatwave hitting temperatures above 100°F! On June 25, the temperature hit 101°F and on June 26, 102°F.

In 2008, the temperature reached 100°F on June 28. Portland would see 100°F again eight years later on June 5, 2016. This was the only time that 100°F was reached in the first week of June. All other occurrences were at least mid- to late-June. On June 25, 2017, the temperature was recorded at 101°F.

While not a common occurrence, the city of Portland has seen its share of blistering heatwaves. However, when we consider the gap between previous heatwaves and the more recent ones, one has to wonder if heatwaves are occurring more frequently in Portland and if those weather patterns are tied to the effects of climate change.


Relevant infographic stories:

The PNW Heatwave, Explained [Infographic]

PNW Heatwave and one billion dead animals

Rising Gas Prices in the US, Explained [Infographic]

Rising Gas Prices blog header

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portland heatwave


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About Bill Tran

Bill Tran is a mechanical engineer turned information designer whose work upholds the importance of communicating complex ideas in engaging ways for all sorts of audiences. Using data visualization as a core communication tool, he enjoys exploring data to find hidden stories and trends. His data visualizations can be found on The Win Column. Follow him on Twitter @mrbilltran.

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