10 p.m. Wednesday …
It’s been a long time! I took a few days off last weekend (Happy New Year!) Lots of extra work…
Of course 2021 ended very coldly. New Years Day and last Monday have both been the coldest winter so far … just 34 degrees. And New Years Day also included a lot of sun! It was a very cold mass of air pouring through the Gorge.
We ended up with 0.3 on December 30 which made the snowiest December since 2008 at PDX
As always, some of you have seen a lot more, some less. I ended up with 9 at home (1,050 ′) for the month. We’ve never had a large arctic explosion throughout the Pacific Northwest, but the shallow edge of the really cold air mass has hit northern Oregon a few times over the past week. The PDX dropped to 25 on New Years Saturday morning. It was unbelievably cold that morning north and east of Portland. The -22 seems to have been a record cold temperature at La Grande. A surface low passing through the north warmed us quickly from Sunday evening to Monday and we avoided a “transitional snowstorm” in the metro area. But this storm also brought a HUGE dump of snow to the Cascades, Gorge and blowing snow in northeastern Oregon. Snowfall on Mount Hood from Sunday evening until last night when things calmed down. Over 3 feet, that’s a big total of snow for just two days on the mountain! At one point, US26, OR-35, and I-84 (the entire Mount Hood loop) were closed to traffic.
With that cold air mass still locked in north central Oregon and the gorges, heavy snowfall also occurred there. This is the heaviest snowfall for several years. Take a look at some photos of spectators, these from Temira Lital in Hood River
Stevenson – Jodeen Lowrie
Stevenson – Kevin Waters
Looks like it fell between 20 and 35 ″ in most areas from the Bonneville Dam to Hood River. There are very few official viewing sites in the Gorges. Hood River had a long-term site throughout the 1900s, but these sightings stopped around 2012. The Bonneville Dam officially recorded 18.0 ″ and Cascade Locks 21.5 ″. When the stats for January roll in next month, we’ll see how much Parkdale has officially picked up.
Lighter amounts fell east and west of there. BTW, the all-time daily record at the Bonneville Dam is 39 ″, Hood River is 47 ″ and Parkdale is 37 ″… the very beginning of January 1980. This Hood River number is also the statewide record. ! Bonneville’s TWO DAY record is 53 ″ at this 1980 event, so this week’s snowfall was the 3rd highest on record in a 2-day period. IT WAS a historic event there.
The very last thin layer of cold air is still in the Gorges this evening. I see 3 ″ of fresh snow at The Dalles tonight so it’s safe to assume that 3-6 ″ fell deep in the gorge around Hood River. This turns into freezing rain overnight, as a lot of warmer air comes in overhead.
We are under flood watch tonight and it has been raining all day. Tomorrow an atmospheric river will be directed just north of us. The latest GRAF issues look like this …
It’s a lot of rain, but nothing really dramatic in the valleys south of Longview. We are expected to have flooding north of Portland, especially on the streams / rivers draining the Coast & Cascade Ranges.
We are heading towards a much calmer weather setup starting this weekend. After more than 3 weeks of cool and humid systems, the upper level high wants to linger around the west coast this weekend and throughout next week. There is no sign of low level snow for the next 10-15 days… the first half of January, and maybe until the 20th, will be mild. At this point, it doesn’t look like a cold / humid January is in the works. But a lot can happen on the last 10 days of the month… you never know!
I also keep a close watch on Friday mornings. Models want to develop a small area offshore and run it across the region, maybe just north of Portland = strong southerly wind? We will see. More tomorrow if that’s the case. We have yet to see a windstorm in the Western Valleys this season!
That’s all for now, the 10pm show awaits you… Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen
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