January Heat and High Winds

January 16, 2009

Snapshot Quite a contrast in weather conditions across the area today.  Summer-like temperatures in the 70s in the mountains versus windchill values in the teens in the Gorge.  Let's chat about wind and then temps:

1.  Gradient through the Gorge eased down to around 7mb. earlier today, but has now shot back up to 10mb PDX-DLS as the cold pool east of the Cascades has thickened.  It has pushed up to 3,000' and above…evidenced by the freezing fog and NW wind showing up at Redmond this evening, plus I notice Mt. Wilson on the Warm Springs Reservation at 3800' is 10 degrees colder tonight.  Wind is now as strong as it was during the arctic blast at the west end of the Gorge…regularly gusting 60-70 mph at Corbett, with one gust to 72 mph.  It generally doesn't get much stronger than that without a deep low approaching the coast.  The strong wind is confined pretty close to the Gorge…probably due to the very low inversion top.  WRF-GFS implies a more widespread east wind across the metro area tomorrow…we'll see.  Either way, for those of you out in the Gorge wind "blast zone", it's going to stay rough through early next week.

2.  Temps…airmass coming through the Gorge has cooled a bit further compared to 24 hours ago, so I dropped high temps for tomorrow a few degrees further as well.  Highs should range from upper 30's in Gresham to the upper 40's on the far west/south sides of town.  It's going to be a cold day in the windy areas, and comfortably cool elsewhere.  Fun temp forecast challenge for a couple spots.  For one, Redmond, which was in the lower 60's today will probably be within the cold pool tomorrow.  That would give a high in the lower 20s!  So about a 40 degree drop over there.  Bend may stay above the cold air, so highs there still make it into the 50s.  This happens a couple times a winter.  Good times.  The other spot is Government Camp.  It made it well into the 60s today, but if the cold airmass deepens to 4,000', the very cold air could spill through the pass there.  So Govy should be somewhere between 35 and 65 for a high…"where she stops, no one knows"!

Okay, I need to finish the show.  It's a tough evening with the 1st of the last 10 episodes of Battlestar Galactica starting during the 10pm show.  I'm going to force myself to leave it off and just record.  I don't know if I can handle that…Mark Nelsen

By the way, I'm guessing some of you might consider driving up to Crown Point or Women's Forum Viewpoint to check out the wind tomorrow.  I might be interested in a brief (cold) get together since it's only a mile or so from home.  Maybe midday?  If so, let me know via email.