Big weather slowdown as mid-January approaches | FOX 12 Weather Blog

Heavy rain came as expected. An atmospheric river of moisture, also known as the Pineapple Express, has hit southern Washington and far northwest Oregon over the past two days. Rain totals were not excessive from South Portland but very heavy rain fell in the West, North and East (Cascades / Gorge). Figures for the last 3 days

Notice those numbers around 7 ″! Astoria had its second wettest day on record at the airport.

January Astoria Rain 2nd Wetest.PNG

When records were kept in the city prior to this date, there were 2 wetter days in 1919 and 1904. Either way, this was a high end rainy event over the far north of Oregon and the south coast of Washington. Check out the REALLY big numbers. Over 9 in multiple locations including the South Washington Waterfalls and the Willapa Hills in Southwest Washington

heavy rain

The I-5 at Chehalis just closed briefly today as the water from the Chehalis River rose to the sides of the highway, but luckily it was 4 feet lower than during the huge flood from 2007. Just about every river is receding now and I think we dodged a bullet this time; no widespread heavy rains as in 1996. That year, over 15 ″ of rain fell over the Cascades over a 4 day period, melting much of the snowpack.

The good news is that the snowpack is still there in the Cascades, well above normal.

January 7 Snowpack.png


  • The next 7+ days present a very calm weather pattern; no major storms / weather systems moving in the area
  • Temperatures remain close to normal until at least 15
  • There is no sign of a cool / wet OR low level snow / ice pattern west of the Cascades
  • All models agree that the next 10-14 days will be characterized by mild weather with relatively weak weather systems
  • The “holy grail” of a cold / snowy January (for weather geeks like me) won’t happen this year

This is quite the model change to come. We have had a cool high altitude trough near / above us most of the time since around December 10th. Now for the next couple of weeks it will be more like that balmy weather we started with in November and early December. Here is the 500MB model on Monday


Warm elevation ridges above our heads, but it’s a ‘dirty’ ridge meaning weather systems are brushing against us early next week (red lines). We also don’t tend to have incredibly strong easterly reversals with this setup. On Saturday NEXT 15, that hasn’t changed much. It’s time for winter to arrive in the eastern United States! It’s quite the flip of the last month.


Then even further, on Friday the 21st. This is the 500 mb average height anomaly of the set, showing heights above and below normal. Same GENERAL pattern continues (Canadian sets shown)

500 MB_Ven_21st_CMC.PNG

Is winter over? Of course not, it would be ridiculous to proclaim it on January 7th. But it’s a big slowdown after the weather drama of the past three weeks!

Looks like ONE member of all 30 members of GEFS is trying to bring snow down the valley… in the next two weeks!


Seems like a great time to have my snowblower repaired. I used it with this single snowfall of about 4 ″. I know… sad.

So… take advantage of the much slower weather this coming week. Sunday WILL BE spectacular with mostly sunny skies all day long across much of the metro area. We have a strong offshore (easterly) flow, which should dispel the fog over most areas west of the Cascades. Too much wind in the Western Gorges of course, but it’s January, it happens.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Copyright 2022 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.