Oregon continued its string of historically hot temperatures in 2022, recording the 10th warmest year on record while overall, precipitation patterns trended close to normal across the state.
Oregon’s statewide average temperature was 48.4 degrees, which tied three other years for the 10th warmest in data that goes back to 1895, according to weather stations statewide and compiled by Oregon State University.
Of the 13 hottest years recorded in Oregon, nine have come since 2000 and seven have come since 2010, as climate change makes its impact on the Beaver State.
In 2022, Portland recorded its seventh warmest year (55.9 degrees), Salem had its 10th warmest year (54.8) and Eugene had its 12th warmest (53.9).
Overall, Oregon was close to normal for precipitation, recording 91% of normal statewide, with the central and southern parts of the state below normal.
A year of contrasts
The biggest weather story of 2022 was the extreme contrasts, said Oregon State climatologist Larry O’Neill, specifically the cool and wet spring followed by a boiling hot late summer and early autumn.
“Oregon received the most precipitation from April to June on record, and it really was impactful at reducing projected drought severity in much of the state,” O’Neill said, noting that temperatures were also cool during that period.
But it was followed by a historically hot summer of “four months from July to October that were the warmest such period in state history,” O’Neill said.
Wildfire season follows the heat
Oregon’s wildfire season largely followed that pattern, as damp conditions kept fires to a minimum through much of the summer, until hot temperatures dried out fuels and a strong east wind event fueled the blowup of multiple wildfires, including the 127,283-acre Cedar Creek Fire outside Oakridge.
All totaled, Oregon burned roughly 442,366 acres in 2022, which is a modest amount compared to recent years but still well-above average compared to the past century in Oregon.
Oregon Coast stays cool, Bend and Medford bakes
It wasn’t particularly hot everywhere in the state, however. At the Oregon Coast, Seaside was actually slightly cooler than normal and Astoria was just 0.7 degrees warmer.
The warmest towns included Bend and Redmond, which at 49.8 degrees, tied for sixth warmest on record, and Medford, which at 54.5 degrees had its seventh warmest year on record.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. To support his work, subscribe to the Statesman Journal. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or 503-399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.