Portland and L.A. – What’s Different: Summer

Well, it’s summer now, and so I thought it would be interesting to look at how summer is different between L.A. and Portland. While there may be the fewer differences between summer in L.A. and in Portland than in other seasons in each city, there still are differences.

For those of you who live outside the West Coast, there is a general dry season on the West Coast during summer and residents can count on less rain at this time than in other seasons, but the similarity ends there. The main differences is in the duration and amount of rain in each given month of the dry season and it’s effects.

In L.A., the rain generally shuts off for June through mid October, and sometimes shuts off as early as March and sometimes doesn’t start again till late December! In those rare instances when rain falls here in July, August, or September, it is usually from a straying of part of a monsoonal system coming from further east or a broken up hurricane from Mexico.

Also, the grass can turn golden brown as early as late March and last through the start of November, hence the term, “The Golden State”.

Hollywood Sign at 20x zoom. 6/24/2012

Hollywood Sign at 20x zoom. 6/24/2012

In Portland, the rain doesn’t really shut off but does lessen significantly from mid June through mid September, and you can see a decent rainstorm even in July, the driest month. And the grass usually doesn’t start turning gold until July, and, if it’s a rainy summer or one where the lesser amount of rain is fairly evenly distributed, the grass won’t turn as brown or gold. However, if there’s what would be considered a drought for the area, the grass will turn gold for the summer, though it still won’t be as prominent as in California due to the extensive tree cover, which keeps the area looking far more green than L.A., even in drier years.

But, in exposed areas, the golden grass will show if you look for it. This was the case in the summer of 2015.

Views from Marina Drive at west end of PDX Airport. 9/3/2012

Views from Marina Drive at west end of PDX Airport. 9/3/2012

In terms of temperature, L.A. is definitely warmer than Portland, and, the topography can mean large differences in temperature between locations just a few miles apart. West Hollywood and Encino, in the San Fernando Valley, are just separated by about 4 or 5 miles. Yet, in the summer, it can be 80 degrees in West Hollywood and 95 degrees in Encino on the same day! And Santa Monica on the ocean about 8 miles away, may be at 70 degrees at the same time! Then, there are the area’s infamous Santa Ana winds, which can come at almost any time of year, but when they come in September, they often bring the area’s hottest temperatures, well over 100 degrees, and can last over a week!

In Portland, temperatures tend to be cooler overall and, while one can see triple digit temps here, there are fewer instances and heat waves are of shorter duration than those in L.A. Oftentimes, the major heat waves in the Portland area are caused by the area’s East Wind, which can also occur at any time of year, but only in summer does it act like a Santa Ana and bring excessive heat.

Also, there is less difference in temperatures around the Portland area and it’s suburbs. Hillsboro, in the western part of the Portland area, tends to be the warmest, but it is not much hotter in summer than the downtown area or the other suburbs and it is usually rare for a difference or more than 8 degrees.

Finally, there’s the length of daylight, especially in June. There’s not a real large difference in the time of sunrise, but, in the evening, there’s a large difference in the time of sunset. In L.A., it gets dark by about 8:30pm, while in Portland, there’s still plenty of light at 9:30pm and you can still see a little light in the sky at 10pm!

So, here you have summer in L.A. and Portland. Wherever you are, in Portland, L.A., or anywhere else, do enjoy your summer!

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.

And thanks for reading!  🙂

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