Stormy Night Ahead

January 9, 2006

Isn’t this great?  One system after another crashing onshore…ahh, the good old days (1970s) that I remember as a kid.  I used to actually go out in the farm fields where I grew up near Mt. Angel and play "flooding rivers" in the adjacent farmer’s field. I’d dam up the little furrows and then let all the water go, chasing it down to the creek.One system after another crashing onshore, some bringing strong winds to the Coast, some inland…Ahh the good old days are back again!  I’m sure the farmer appreciated the well-compacted field the next spring.

Okay, let’s pull it together and out of memory lane…I’m pretty much fully grown now and forecasting our stormy winter weather. 

As of 8pm:  Frontal system is hung up right over the top of us this evening, with tons of subtropical moisture streaming inland with it.  Snow levels are over 6000′ in the Oregon Cascades right now.  A strong wave, or area of low pressure that has been well progged by the models is riding along the front and should move inland somewhere between Astoria and Hoquiam around newstime (10pm) tonight.  It’s actually deepening as it moves onshore, so we should get quite a rush of south-southwest wind behind it.

Earlier today it looked like the path was Astoria-Yakima.  But now it’s more up towards Seattle.  This saves the metro area from damaging winds, but I still expect strong gusty wind between 11pm-2am.  Probably no stronger than gusts to 40 mph unless the low deepens rapidly the next 3 hours.  From Kelso-Olympia I think 50-55 mph is quite likely.  Either way a rainy and windy night ahead.

Lots of flood warnings coming in the next 24 hours, but with a quickly dropping snow level tomorrow, we should avoid big trouble.  A similar episode to last week’s flooding.

We (meteorologists) are being hampered by several offshore buoys out of service.  This is one area where we are somewhat blinded and have to rely on models and 3 hour pressure fall maps.  The maps tell us which part of the coast has the fastest falling pressure, which generally indicates where a low is heading.  Someone asked about "exploding buoys".  Here is a link to a NWS warning about those buoys.  http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/hydrogen_hazard.shtml

Cooler weather coming up Wednesday-Thursday, but still no sign in RELIABLE long range models of any really cold weather here in the metro area.  GFS is doing it’s usual now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t, but I’ll discount that for now since ECMWF & CANADIAN are milder next week.

Oh, and for you BSG Fans…sorry, it’s Admiral, not Commander Cain.  I was 27 years behind…Mark