High Winds in The Gorge and Clearing Skies

January 20, 2013

Sunday 12:30pm…

We expected a little stronger Gorge wind today to blow the fog and clouds out of the metro area, but it’s getting crazy.  Peak gust of 66 mph in the past hour at Corbett and regularly gusting 60-70 mph at Biddle Butte (28 degrees!) across the river.  Vista House has been down for the past week; might be a power issue. 

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It’s likely gusting in the 80-90 mph range there.  Meanwhile, just 4-5 miles west at Troutdale Airport it’s calm!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a strong Gorge wind with the gusts not even making it to the mouth of the Gorge there.  The flow of air is just riding up and over the colder air over the metro area right now; quite interesting.  The pressure gradient from Troutdale to The Dalles is up to 9 millibars at noon, plenty strong for 70 mph gusts under an extreme inversion.  While Biddle Butte is 28 degrees, 3 miles across the river on the Oregon side it’s 44 degrees just 400′ higher at 1800′ .

I’ve noticed and mentioned here in the past that strong inversions produce quite a bit stronger wind in the Gorge compared to the same gradient with light or no inversion.  This is a good example of that.  It also appears that the fog/clouds have now retreated down into the Willamette Valley as a result of the stronger easterly flow.  Washington and Multnomah counties are totally clear of fog and clouds at noon.  Poor Clark County is still struggling as most of the drier air is directed down into Oregon.

This easterly flow keeping us sunny will last through Tuesday morning, so we’ll stay mainly cloud-free here in the metro area, but hold on in the east wind areas!

I might blog again this evening since I’m working later; lots more time on weekends since now we only have 10pm shows on those days.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


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