Eugene, Oregon has a lot of things going for it, including a unique culture, laid-back vibe, great access to nature, and plenty of highly livable neighborhoods.
Eugene isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, though. If you’re thinking of relocating to Eugene, you’re probably busy researching every factor that might impact your quality of life here. Weather, of course, is a big one, if not one of the biggest.
Like with so many things in life, different people like different kinds of weather. Eugene has four distinct seasons, each with its own charms – and also its potential challenges. We’re going to cover all of the possible permutations of how the weather might affect your experience in Eugene.
We work with a lot of out-of-area clients. If you’re considering relocating to Eugene from afar and only have a couple of weekends to get to know the area, it can be hard to get the bigger picture.
That’s why we want to offer as clear a sense of possible of what will be in store for you as far as Eugene’s weather, climate, and everything else you might might want to know about Eugene. So without further ado, let’s cover the ins and outs of Eugene weather.
How Much Does it Actually Rain in Eugene?
Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat: when people think of the Pacific Northwest, they tend to think “rain.” Eugene, of course, is no exception.
If you’re not willing to get a little wet, then sure, Eugene might not be the best place for you. Eugene gets an average of 47 inches of rain per year.
That’s somewhat higher than the national average of 38 inches, but at the same time, it’s nothing too crazy. New York, Houston, and plenty of cities in the Southeast all get more rain than Eugene.
More noteworthy, though, is that Eugene gets some form of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet or hail) an average of 151 days per year. That’s significantly more than the national average of 106 days, though Portland has it beat with 164 days of precipitation per year.
Okay, so we’ve established that it rains in Eugene. An important question, though, is when does it rain in Eugene?
The answer is that the vast majority of the area’s rainfall happens between November and March. Eugene is actually fairly dry from May through September, and precipitation averages only half an inch in July and August.
In other words, you’re going to have approximately 5 months out of the year where things are relatively wet. November, December, and January are the wettest.
Eugene hardly gets any snow, averaging just 3 inches per year, though we do have our freak snowstorms every now and then. So almost all of that precepititation will come in the form of rain.
Eugene doesn’t get that cold in the winter, with lows averaging 34 in December and January. It’s a relatively humid cold, though, which feels different (and probably colder) than comparable temperatures in an environment with low humidity.
So How’s Eugene’s Weather Outside the Rainy Season?
If you don’t like rain, five months might sound like a long amount of time to have to deal with it on the regular.
But the fact of the matter is, if you spend enough time in Eugene (or anywhere in Oregon west of the Cascades) you’ll get pretty used to it, even if there are some stretches that are mostly overcast for days on end. People do tend to exaggerate just how long those last.
In exchange for those 5 rainy months, there’s a tradeoff that in our opinion is more than fair: Eugene’s weather is actually pretty great 7 months out of the year.
Our summers are some of the most gorgeous you’ll find anywhere. Eugene’s summer climate is classifed as “Mediterranean,” and though we’re not on the sea, the vibe is a bit similar. With Eugene’s proximity to mountains, rivers, lakes, wine country, the Pacific Ocean and more, you’ll be able to enjoy the season to its fullest.
All-in-all, Eugene’s climate is relatively mild year-round. Once we hit April, average highs start to climb into the 60s, rising to a peak of 83 degrees in August. Even at the height of summer, things cool off in the evenings, dropping to an average low of 51 degrees.
September is still pretty warm, with an average high of 77 degrees and less than 1.5 inches of rain. The average high drops to 64 degrees in October, and while the rains start to pick up, it’s still one of the most beautiful times of year.
Really, the changing seasons are an opportunity to reconnect with the wealth of nature available both inside and outside Eugene’s city limits.
When the rains do start, you just might find yourself putting on your rainjacket regardless and climbing local landmark Spencer’s Butte or going into the woods to pick chanterelle mushrooms.
How’s the Air Quality in Eugene?
Rain or shine is one thing. But especially if you have respiratory issues or allergies, one of the main questions you’re probably asking is – how is the air quality in Eugene?
Eugene was in the news several years ago after the American Lung Association ranked it number 24 out of 201 in its list of American cities with the worst short-term air particle polution.
The key word here is “short-term.” Eugene experiences an average of 6.2 days per year with unhealthy levels of particle polution 2.5 microns or smaller.
Wildfire smoke is the big factor contributing to that statistic. When it hits hard, like it did in the summer of 2020, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible. When inversion layers hit in the winter, woodfire smoke can also be a source of high particle pollution.
But there’s one factor making Eugene’s pollution seem higher than it actually is: the small town of Oakridge 40 miles east is technically part of the “Eugene Metro area.” According to the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, Oakridge’s high numbers for particle pollution skew Eugene’s numbers unfairly upward.
It also matters where in town you live. Pollution will be higher along Highway 99 in the Bethel neighborhood, where there is more industry and car traffic, than it will be in the hills of South Eugene.
One other factor deserves mention in discussing Eugene’s air quality, and that’s pollen. We won’t mince words: in the spring and summer, there can be a lot of it. Eugene regularly tops the charts for highest pollen counts in the nation, particularly during grass pollen season from May to July. Tree pollen counts can also spike during the spring.
But while you’ll see plenty of headlines proclaiming Eugene worst in the nation for allergy sufferers, these are actually a bit misleading.
The site these news stories point to, pollen.com, ranks cities for their pollen counts at a particular point in time. Just because Eugene’s pollen counts top the charts during the height of the grass pollen season doesn’t mean Eugene is a terrible place to live year-round if you suffer from allergies.
It’s difficult to find data averaging pollen counts in the Eugene area across an entire year. LiveScience, however, ranks Portland way down at the bottom of its list of the 100 worst cities for allergy sufferers.
With 99 cities worse than Portland in spite of it’s high concentrations of grass pollen, that bodes well for Eugene. But of course, it all depends on what you’re susceptible to.
As with so many things in life, the question of “How’s the weather in Eugene?” is a bit more complicated than it first appears. It rains – but not all the time. The air quality can be low at times – but it’s also pretty good most of the time.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the choices that best fit the needs of you and your family. It’s good, though, to have a clear idea of what you’re in for while being able to accurately weigh all of the pros and cons.
We’re here to give you the data points you need to make that determination for yourself and assist you in your exploration, whether or not you end up deciding to relocate to the Eugene (or Bend) areas.
There are many steps in the process, from all the initial research to learning more about our housing markets and neighborhoods and getting into homes. Wherever you are in your process, we’d love to help, so reach out anytime.