Busy Weather For First Week of 2022

10pm Wednesday…

It’s been awhile! I took a few days off last weekend (Happy New Year!) and then things got REAL busy weatherwise. Lot of extra work…

Of course 2021 ended very cold. New Year’s Day and last Monday were both the coldest of winter so far…only 34 degrees. And New Year’s Day included a lot of sunshine too! That was a very cold airmass pouring through the Gorge.

We ended up with 0.3″ on December 30th, which made for the snowiest December since 2008 at PDX

As always, some of you saw significantly more, some less. I ended up with 9″ at my home (1,050′) for the month. We never did get a big arctic blast across the entire Pacific Northwest, but the shallow edge of the really cold airmass punched down into northern Oregon a few times last week. PDX dropped to 25 on New Year’s morning Saturday. It was amazingly cold that morning north and east of Portland. The -22 appears to have been an all-time record cold temperature in La Grande.

A surface low pressure system passing by to the north warmed us quickly Sunday night into Monday and we avoided a “transition snowstorm” in the metro area. But that storm also brought a HUGE dump of snow to the Cascades, Gorge, and blowing snow in northeast Oregon. Snowfall on Mt. Hood from Sunday evening to last night when things died down. 3+ feet is a big snow total for just two days on the mountain! At one point US26, OR-35, & I-84 (the entire Mt. Hood Loop) was closed to traffic.

With that cold airmass still locked in over north-central Oregon, big snowfall showed up there too. This was the biggest snowfall in several years. A few picks from viewers

Looks like somewhere between 20-35″ fell in most areas from Bonneville Dam to Hood River. There are very few official observation sites in the Gorge. Hood River had a long term site all through the 1900s but those observations stopped around 2012. Bonneville Dam officially recorded 18.0″ & Cascade Locks 21.5″. When the January stats come in next month, we’ll see how much Parkdale officially picked up.

Lighter amounts fell both east & west of there. BTW, the all-time daily record at Bonneville Dam is 39″, Hood River is 47″, and Parkdale 37″…all in early January 1980. That Hood River number is also the record for the entire state! The TWO DAY record for Bonneville is 53″ during that 1980 event, so this week’s snowfall was the 3rd highest on record during any 2 day period. This WAS a historic event out there.

The very last thin layer of cold air is still in the Gorge this evening. I see 3″ new snow at The Dalles this evening, so it’s safe to assume 3-6″ has fallen deep into the Gorge around Hood River. That changes to freezing rain overnight as much warmer air is arriving overhead.

We are under a flood watch this evening, and it’s been raining all day. Tomorrow an atmospheric river will be aimed just north of us. Latest GRAF numbers look like this…

That’s a lot of rain, but nothing really dramatic in the valleys south of Longview. We should get some flooding north of Portland, especially on streams/rivers draining the Coast & Cascade ranges.

We’re headed into a much calmer weather pattern beginning this weekend. After 3+ weeks of cool and wet systems, upper-level high pressure wants to linger around the West Coast this weekend and all through next week. There’s no sign of low elevation snow for the next 10-15 days…the first half of January, and possibly through the 20th, will be mild. At this point it sure doesn’t look like a cold/wet January is in the works. But a lot can happen the last 10 days of the month…you never know!

I’m watching Friday morning closely too. Models want to develop a surface low offshore and have it race across the region, possibly just north of Portland = strong south wind? We will see. More tomorrow if that’s the case. We haven’t seen a windstorm in the western valleys yet this season!

That’s it for now, the 10pm show beckons… Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

37 Responses to Busy Weather For First Week of 2022

  1. Roland Derksen says:

    One more chance for snow tomorrow morning here, and then starting next week we’re into the usual January Thaw pattern. hopefully it won’t last for the rest of the month!

  2. ocpaul says:

    We AVOIDED a ‘transition snow storm’.

  3. Weatherdan says:

    Daffodils and Camellias are blooming in Salem. Geraniums and Begonias in my yard never died off. After this Winter I expect another hot Summer. However I would like to see another cold snap first. But will we? Aye that’s the rub. Peace.

  4. Mountain Man says:

    Snowing again here already last hour and a half inch. That was quick!!! Better than more rain though I think.

  5. Diana F. says:

    Hey has anyone else discovered this guy yet? He’s got a huge love for weather— he’s a flight weather guy that started doing YouTube a few weeks ago, lives in Normandy Park— highly recommend!! He goes long range too… also, has anyone watched the Leavenworth cams lately 🤣 #snowcity

    • Andy says:

      Been watching his updates daily and he is very detailed about his reports for Oregon and Washington.

    • ocpaul says:

      Yes. He does great model analysis.

    • Patrick b says:

      Yes, he is very good! I discovered him two weeks ago, and I watch him everyday. I really like to see the weather maps he presents, and he is focused on this part of the country.

    • Diana F. says:

      Hey Andy and OCPaul~
      Glad to hear you watch the Channel!! I hope everyone takes a quick look!
      I very much enjoy that he does a video every day. He’s also doing very interactive Lives- he patiently answers question after question. He’s very good at conversing in an “everyman” language, while it’s clear he’s naturally (& academically) very skilled in the science of meteorology and general science too, PLUS the aviation component is a bonus. We chatted a bit about adding pireps to the discussions! ✈️⛈

  6. W7ENK says:

    It appears the only way to travel between Seattle and Portland right now is by air.

    WSDOT: Extreme weather affecting highways across the State


    Amtrak Advisory: Train service halted between Portland and Seattle


  7. Andrew says:

    Still liking the long term trend in models of ridge moving northwest around weekend of 22nd. Such a pattern exposes our region to colder, continental air. Right now, 850mb temps aren’t particularly impressive but much will depend on polar volatility over next couple weeks. Pattern is promising now just need cold air.

  8. MasterNate says:

    That was some squirrely wind early this morning. Best this year in my neck of the woods. Power is out of course. Looking forward to a slow period coming up. Looks like western Washington took a direct hit with this AR event. Sounds like some historic flooding possible in some areas.

  9. Mountain Man says:

    I know some of you are only interested in snow and that’s fine, it’s my favorite too and not in the cards for a bit, and I know some things are happening tonight that are just outside the Portland television market. Major floods are happening, some rivers are expected to crest well above (the great flood) 1996 levels, some business and residential areas are already feet deep in water. Be happy if you’re weather is boring, because this is looking really bad for your neighbors 80 miles to the north.

    • Mountain Man says:

      Wow I told you guys that was a lot of rain! My brother-in-law just told my wife we’re trapped, he lives nearby, road out of here, asphalt and all is completely gone a few miles from my house. Schools are flooded, roads are washed away. Gonna be an interesting few days ahead to say the least!

  10. oldwxwatcher says:

    One interesting thing that happened here in east Portland on Sunday was the battle between the east and south winds during the early afternoon. At 1 PM the temperature was 33° and a few minutes later it shot up to 48°. A short time later the east wind kicked in again and the temperature dropped to 36°. A bit later it went up to 46°. The temperature yoyoed one more time before the south wind kicked in for good.

    • Gene says:

      I live in east Gresham and noticed the same thing on Sunday. I watched the thermometer flip-flop wildly during the day as the winds changed, and wondered if anyone else noticed the same thing!

  11. JohnD says:

    No one knows beyond the present limited window! Given the overall volatility so far, I’m personally betting on another regional heavy hitter before we are out of prime time. Maybe next time too, Portland will get closer to the bullseye.

  12. tim says:

    Im not complaining about the coming spring preveiw for the next two weeks after there cold\snow we had and really nobody should especially with the record warmth back east, we got spoiled didn’t we.

  13. Mountain Man says:

    Well… this place is dead. Event totals, first accumulated snow was the 9th, first snow that stayed on the ground a bit through the beginning of about the three week event here was the 17th. Total accumulated snow for December was 41.5 inches (January 5.5 inches so far, 47 inches for the season). I had almost twice that in February/March 2019 so this wasn’t that excessive. Further comparison, my maximum snow depth Was 21 inches, almost equal to February 2021 from just those 3 days then, but a very different kind of snow, that was all powder, this was deep slush that froze, followed by wet snow, followed by powder, followed by wet snow and finally more slush in layers, which literally made a brick of snow. I’m now down to 9 inches of snow! That took what transitioned into rain last night and all day to accomplish and I’m at 5.9 inches of rain since midnight!

    I’m so in need of a break! Anyone complaining about this potentially stubborn ridge coming, I am so looking forward to it. I finally got my truck all the way back up my driveway today, no more transporting my goods in a sled, and now parts of my driveway are washing out. I need a break, give me a little sunshine please! Some more fun is fine when I recover lol!

    • Gene says:

      It’s dead here because the weather is “dead,” so to speak. This area has only about a 2 1/2- to 3-month window of possible cold and snowy weather, and we’re facing at least two weeks coming up — during a prime time in our small winter weather window — with no threat of lowland snow or Arctic conditions. That’s why commenters aren’t engaged much, and it’s likely to be that way for the foreseeable future

      • Mountain Man says:

        I appreciate your point of view Gene! I just know there’s plenty of time, and I chose this life, but if you all got what I got, you’d welcome a break. I hope next one is more equal for everyone!

    • Mountain Man says:

      PS I’m only .2 inches from my all time record 24 hour rainfall record for both here and when I lived on Archer mountain in the gorge at just a little lower elevation. I recorded 6.1 inches once in October in the gorge and 6.0 once here (I’d have to check the dates) in my 16 years between the two places. That’s a lot of damn rain! And no, I cleaned my Davis gage off of any anow at dark last night so it’s fairly accurate. 7 inches by midnight? Probably! Gonna be some news tomorrow, I bet the Chehalis River is raging!!!

      • Mountain Man says:

        And 6.1 inches of rain so far with 4 hours left before midnight. The rate has slowed, but while I can’t say I haven’t seen more rain in my life in 24 hours, I can say that in the last 16 years, that’s the most I’ve lived through. Not quite dead weather here! The nearest creek of three on my land to my house is threatening to go over the driveway, about two inches to spare of headroom in the culvert. It’s 150 feet away from the house, but so loud I can hear it roaring loud from my bedroom.

        • JohnD says:

          Wow! Be safe and take care—to say the least, Mountain Man!

        • Mountain Man says:

          My wife says they are evacuating parts of Chehalis right now, yes that’s some weather news! Don’t wish for that in your neighborhood in place of dead weather.

        • Mountain Man says:

          No worries JohnD but some people are gonna have a hard night!

  14. Zach says:

    Fortunately with this AR event, the mountains don’t appear to be terribly warm. Around 40 at G. Camp (January average high is 37), and Timberline is just above freezing.

    So it doesn’t appear snow pack damage will be that bad. Granted it looks like they could pick up another 12″ of snow later tomorrow evening.

  15. Good news, our PDO is -2.73! Which makes it the coldest PDO during December ever!

    And the Snowpack is the best I’ve ever seen for the west! Besides parts of Wyoming and a little bit of Montana and New mexico the Snowpack is amazing for everyone!

    • Mountain Man says:

      2680% in the coast range 🤣 I know the bar is set pretty low, some years there’s almost none, but that’s still just crazy!

  16. Chuck Dethloff says:

    At our property located in western Washington County (600 feet elevation), I recorded just over 24 inches of snowfall in December, 17″ of that from Dec 25-27th. Most snow I have had in December since 2008 when nearly 48″ fell over ten days!

  17. Roland Derksen says:

    We got more snow here last night- my estimate is 4.5 inches, which is actually a bit below expectations- and the snow changed to freezing drizzle here by 3am. That’s quite rare for my location, as I am usually too close to the ocean to ever get much.

  18. Zach says:

    Amazing. At the Gresham fire dept. rain gauge, we have seen over 4.5 inches in the past 5 days.

  19. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Pretty impressive stuff from the mountain, gorge and eastern Oregon. If only the low had been further south…. I guess we probably would have ended up with ZR instead of snow but who knows.

  20. W7ENK says:

    Thanks Mark, it’s about dang time!!!

  21. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Thanks for the update Mark 🤗 it’s been a very interesting winter season. It’s not over yet 😉

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