OR-AMS Meeting Summary


“Rose Festival Weather – Will It Always Rain?”


  On May 14, 2009, 18 members and guests gathered at the Old Spaghetti Factory-Clackamas, in southeast Portland.  President Bobby Corser welcomed everyone and made announcements.


  George Miller, retired NWS-Portland MIC, past OR-AMS President, and now college professor and historian, talked about the weather patterns during Portland’s annual Rose Festival, early June, over the last 100 years.  What is typical for Rose Festival – rain, thunderstorm?  Will it always rain or maybe sunny?  Will a persistent Rose Festival “Low Pressure” center lurking off our coast pounce on us?  The Rose Festival weather often determines its success (in profit) or as a bomb (debt).  The insurance costs during the Rose Festival are heavily tied to the weather.


  In June 1925, it rained 11 out of 13 days but not on the Rose Festival.  On June 6, 1958 (Golden Anniversary), it rained 1.7 inch at the Portland Airport and 1.58 inch in downtown.  On June 11, 1914, there was a balloon race and thunderstorms.  Two balloons were struck by lightning.  One balloon was found near Mt. Hood.  There were Rose Festivals during World War II but no parades.


  Three events were almost canceled due to weather: the 1948 Vanport Flood, 1977 Drought, and 1980 Eruption of Mt. St. Helens.  The June 6, 2003 Rose Festival saw the hottest temperature ever, 98 degF.


  So, does it always rain on Rose Festival?  No!  There has been no measurable rain on 24 of the 101 Rose Festivals, and 40 out of 101 with rain less than 0.10 inch.  Some events have been very warm: 14 out of 101 saw temperatures greater than 90 degF.  For the Grand Floral Parade, the usual highlight of the Rose Festival week, the 101-year record shows: 31 mostly sunny, 19 morning clouds/afternoon sun, 22 mostly cloudy, 14 rain (most of the parade), and 10 light rain (start of the parade).  After the Parade, it rained 41 out of 101 years.  For the Junior Parade, only 14 out of 85 saw rain.  For the Starlight Parade, it has been dry 46 out of 56 times.


Note-taker: Kyle Dittmer, 2009-2010 Oregon-AMS Secretary (and Past-President)