A Windy Day

January 6, 2010

I’m disappointed that I missed the fun today up at Crown Point.  Steve Pierce tells me 10-15 weather freaks showed up at Vista House to experience the wind.  So who feels like the cat licked your face for two hours? The guy in the picture is Rian Muleback…not a ninja.

There was some debate earlier on the blog about the wind speed up there.  Peak gusts were recorded on several anemometers in the 65-89 mph range.  Of course I was initially doubtful for two reasons.  1.  Peak gusts at all the “usual” locations (Skamania, Corbett, Rooster Rock, Troutdale) were all in the 40-50 mph range, hardly a big east wind day, and 2. The gradient never got past about 9 millibars PDX-DLS.  Those big days are always accompanied by 11-14 millibars gradient.

Now that relatively weak gradient, by wintertime Gorge standards, would account for the relatively low peak wind gusts at the usual sites.  That leads me to believe that several of your anemometers are crap OR the wind must funnel up and over the ridge, plus around the Vista House far more than any of us would think it would.  I believe the 2nd is more likely.  I see the quality Maximum wind instrument was involved.  Those things are great and have a good reputation, just a bit expensive.  So this makes me wonder if 100 mph gusts are a regular visitor when other spots are in the 70 mph range.  I have read that gusts over 130 mph were recorded when there was a weather station in the restaurant just above in the 1930s.  I’m going to have to pull out my old Maximum anemometer, buy some new wind cups, and get down there one of these days to check it out myself.  I think my son found the box when he was about two years old and broke the cups somehow.

Today was also more of a “downsloping” wind day.  Note the peak gusts at PDX and spots in the West Hills were about the same as the locations in the west end of the Gorge.  The wind might increase a bit in the Gorge tonight, and that reminds me…I have some serious surgery to do on the overnight forecast graphics.  Wind everywhere with some cloud cover means a mild night ahead.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen