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View Poll Results: Which has the least crappy weather?
Vancouver 22 15.28%
Seattle 24 16.67%
Portland 98 68.06%
Voters: 144. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-15-2012, 08:52 AM
 
Location: roaming gnome
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Pac NW can be hit or miss, but does the weather in these cities vary that much? Also if you could choose to live in any of them, which one would it be. Personally I think I'd be partial to Vancouver given all of their high rise living. If you wanted to visit what are the best times? How long is the actual "grey overcast" season in these cities? They are arguably the most beautiful areas on the continent, but the weather for many leaves them underpopulated.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grapico View Post
Pac NW can be hit or miss, but does the weather in these cities vary that much? Also if you could choose to live in any of them, which one would it be. Personally I think I'd be partial to Vancouver given all of their high rise living. If you wanted to visit what are the best times? How long is the actual "grey overcast" season in these cities? They are arguably the most beautiful areas on the continent, but the weather for many leaves them underpopulated.
Underpopulated? Well thank you for that then. But by virtue of the traffic and growth the secret got out a very long time ago I'm afraid.

As a 4rd generation native I am a lifelong member of "Lesser Seattle" That being the clandestine group whose soul mission is to spread the myths regarding the suicide rates (nowhere near as high as you'd think), SAD (this can be real), and the "Seattle Freeze" (total BS in my opinion).

All seriousness aside. The weather is mild in comparison to all other areas. By mild it lacks extremes. Seattle for example has had one day in its history over 100 degrees. That's right, just one. The summer are glorious. Typically in the mid 70's, no humidity and no bugs.

As to the grey season. It's not for everyone to be sure. On the other hand, statistics that show the NW as perpetually grey can be very misleading as well. Often days listed as overcast have what we locals call "sun breaks". To go from blah to spectacular here happens in an instant. When the sun is out, is as pretty as a postcard around here.

I have traveled extensively. and when I meet other folks and they ask "How do you deal with all the rain there?" Mind you, when they are asking it might be 20 degrees and snowing & blowing sideways...I simply, would you prefer this, or 45 and drizzle? Or I might find myself in the sweltering heat and humidity of summer and I mention that I don't own an air conditioner and neither do 95% of those who live in Seattle.

The overcast days in the late fall to early spring are a real part of living here. So too are the days when the sun breaks out and you find yourself in complete awe of your surroundings. The natural splendor in the NW is eye popping.

As to your question which weather is better? Subjective really. The differences are subtle but a general rule is that Portland is 5 degrees or so hotter in the summer and winter. And while they get less snow (which in Seattle's case isn't much anyway) they are prone to an occasional ice storm.

Vancouver is a few degrees cooler still than Seattle.

Keep in mind that there are many micro climates in the NW The San Juan Islands for example are in the rain show of the Olympic Mountains. And while they sit in the middle of The Puget Sound, part of them get rain in the teens per year. Locals know this secret all too well. Some outsiders visit them never to leave.

As to the towns. Seattle and Vancouver are much more comparable to each other both in size and cosmopolitan feel. Busier downtowns, larger cities, worse traffic, etc. and major universities in their midst. Portland is growing, but still is more of a large town in my opinion. Great foodie, micro brew and coffee scene there. In that sense they compete well with their larger bretheren.

Bottom line. Well worth a visit. If you want specifics on great places to visit...pm me.

In general terms, the very best time to visit is the summer of course, which in these parts start July 5th. (a local joke as it often rains on the 4th) and runs through the later part of September.

Last edited by Bill Loney; 03-15-2012 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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It's easy. The type of weather is similar in the region. It's truly a matter of degrees...usually TWO degrees. That is, I find that when it's 46 in Seattle, it's 44 in Vancouver (north), and 48 in Portland (south).
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:17 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
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Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
It's easy. The type of weather is similar in the region. It's truly a matter of degrees...usually TWO degrees. That is, I find that when it's 46 in Seattle, it's 44 in Vancouver (north), and 48 in Portland (south).
I didn't know it was that similar, I thought the locations near water might change it more drastically or something. Similar to how Sacramento can have drastically different weather on the same day as San Francisco.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Spain
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Originally Posted by grapico View Post
I didn't know it was that similar, I thought the locations near water might change it more drastically or something. Similar to how Sacramento can have drastically different weather on the same day as San Francisco.
Can't really comment on Vancouver, though I'd imagine its very comparable with Seattle. As for PDX vs Seattle:

Portland is located in a valley, not on the water like Seattle. Thus, Portland is usually hotter by a few degrees which means slightly longer summers and slightly warmer summer nights. I think the difference is pretty negligible though. Both cities enjoy the treat that is having warm summers without bugs or humidity, pretty perfect honestly.

Seattle also gets more rain and less snow than Portland, but again I think the difference is unimportant. As far as winter gloom, I think its pretty hard to overstate it. Most of the Fall, Winter, and Spring will be cloudy and/or drizzly. Sunbreaks just don't do it for me. I once saw one of those "you know you are from ___ when..." lists and for the Pacific Northwest one of them was "you know you are from the northwest when you know what the word 'sunbreak' means and can actually use it in a sentence".
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Grand Forks, ND
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The weather in all three of the cities is very similar due to the fact that they are usually all affected by the same weather systems. However, there are some noteworthy differences. Portland, being separated from the Pacific by the coast range is usually somewhat warmer in the summer and somewhat cooler in the winter. However, Vancouver is also slightly cooler simply due to the fact that it is farther north. Seattle and Portland are both under the influence of a significant rain shadow caused by the Olympics and Coast Range respectively. Vancouver does not as significant a rainshadow and therefore receives about 20 more inches of rain a year compared to Seattle and Portland. Vancouver's weather is somewhat similar to Olympia, WA which is too far south to feel the full effects of the Olympics rainshadow. All in all, the variations in both precipitation and temperature will only vary slightly across the region to the west of the Cascades. There are of course localized influences that can create differences such as the Puget Sound convergence zone which creates a localized area of heavier precipitation as air coming around the Olympics from the north meets air coming around the Olympics from the south. Also, Portland has the Columbia River Gorge to deal with which can funnel cold air down from the north creating freezing rain events that Seattle and Vancouver generally do not experience. (This winter being an exception)
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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Portland can be warmer and drier on average in the summer than Seattle and Vancouver because of it's inland location. Things can get pretty dried out and hot by late summer--and you don't really have the coastal cooling effect--which is why a lot of people get out of Portland for the coast on the really hot summer days. But it can also get hammered by rain and cold weather in the winter(due to cold air coming from the Gorge) sometimes more than Seattle, although in general they're pretty similar. Vancouver on average is going to be cooler than Seattle or Portland--I go up a lot in the summer and it seems like they can get much more frequent rainfall in even July through September. Summertime in Vancouver can feel like late spring in Portland sometimes, with a sunny day here and there, but a constant chance of rain.

The funny thing about Vancouver's weather is that it's similar to Portland and Seattle, but slightly colder--which both have a reputation for bad weather--yet when I lived in Edmonton, Alberta people looked at Vancouver and coastal BC as akin to being downright tropical! Vancouver and Victoria were considered Canada's banana belt--because 50 degree winter weather starts sounding like Florida/Hawaii when you're dealing with 0 degree winter weather on the icy cold Canadian prairie.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
The funny thing about Vancouver's weather is that it's similar to Portland and Seattle--which have a reputation for bad weather--yet when I lived in Edmonton, Alberta people looked at Vancouver and coastal BC as akin to being downright tropical! Vancouver and Victoria were considered Canada's banana belt--because 50 degree winter weather starts sounding like Florida/Hawaii when you're dealing with 0 degree winter weather on the icy cold Canadian prairie.
Yeah, I heard the same from Canadians as far as Toronto. I think why Seattle/Portland have reputations for bad weather is that people from California/Southwest tend to move there. They're used to mild winters and a lot of sunny days. I don't think someone from Midwest or even Northeast would be quick to say Seattle has bad weather. Its summers are nice and winters very mild.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
The funny thing about Vancouver's weather is that it's similar to Portland and Seattle, but slightly colder--which both have a reputation for bad weather--yet when I lived in Edmonton, Alberta people looked at Vancouver and coastal BC as akin to being downright tropical! Vancouver and Victoria were considered Canada's banana belt--because 50 degree winter weather starts sounding like Florida/Hawaii when you're dealing with 0 degree winter weather on the icy cold Canadian prairie.
And that's why I abandoned the thought of trying to move to Vancouver BC, which I mulled over for a year or two. It was the realization that it was Canada's "Miami"...essentially one of the milder/warmer areas in the country.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PosterExtraordinaire View Post
Yeah, I heard the same from Canadians as far as Toronto. I think why Seattle/Portland have reputations for bad weather is that people from California/Southwest tend to move there. They're used to mild winters and a lot of sunny days. I don't think someone from Midwest or even Northeast would be quick to say Seattle has bad weather. Its summers are nice and winters very mild.
That's true and the Midwestern transplants do make that comment frequently about the Northwest--that they don't find the winter weather that bad out here. But I always hear Northeast/East Coast transplants complaining that they'd rather have a cold, brisk yet sunny day(below freezing even) back East than the constant grey skies of the winter in the Northwest.

But perception is everything--I spent most of my childhood on the California coast or in Canada--and it really wasn't until I moved to inland Oregon in Ashland and then to Portland that I lived somewhere through the summer that had weather hot enough to need air conditioning. Yet when I'd tell people from Oregon I was from Santa Cruz, they assumed that it got much hotter down there in the summer than anywhere in Oregon--when in reality the coast was foggy much of the summer and then would rarely get to 80 degrees...
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