The Wind Keeps Blowing & The Power of a Blog

January 8, 2010

I checked the numbers today, wondering if it really has been windier in the east wind parts of the Metro area.  Sure enough it has.  In El Nino years we see more splitting of weather systems offshore and ridging over or near the West Coast.  This has been the case most of the time the last 6 weeks (since Thanksgiving).  Look at the last week and forecasts for the next week.  Most of the time we have low pressure systems SOMEWHERE offshore, instead of traversing inland to our north, which is more typical in the wintertime.  Add to that the tendency for surface high pressure to develop in the Columbia Basin in the wintertime and you get the wind.

Anyway, the east wind is still cranking bringing the cool air down through the Columbia River Gorge tonight.  In the last two ours the Corbett sensor has gone from gusts over 50 mph to calm.  Really?  No, it’s freezing rain up there this evening.

So I see that several of you have made it big time this evening…appearing on the Weather Channel!  So how did you get from the FOX12 Weather Blog to National TV?  I think it points out the amazing power of this weather blog.  Now let me make it real clear that I’m referring to the community of weather folks that come here to chat weather; not me.  I consider myself the moderator/facilitator here, and I do host the site, but that’s it.

Look at string of events/communication that led from this blog to some people from Portland showing up on national TV: 

1.  Tuesday at noon Steve Pierce mentioned in the comments that he was headed up to Vista House on Wednesday due to the strong surge of cold air and sudden increase in easterly gradient forecast.  He invited anyone else to join.  2.  Wednesday the wind shows up, not unusually strong, but enough to get 10-15 of you up to Vista House.  You recorded gusts in the 65-89 mph range.  3.  Pictures of Rian the ninja and the peak gust display are sent to several TV stations that decide to use it in their evening weathercasts.  4.  Thursday: One of those stations (KGW) decides to send up a crew after seeing the pictures.  Steve, I, and several others show up; I leave for a haircut.  They record a 101 mph gust,  Keely falls, Steve attempts to hold her, he falls too, and a wonderful video clip is created.  5.  KGW plays it on the newscasts last night and it also gets on the internet.  6.  CNN and the Weather Channel see it on a feed and decide to use it.

All from Steve’s initial comment…see what I mean?

9:30pm Update:  I finally watched the video from KGW online.  Good TV for sure and Keely deserves kudos for dealing with that wind!  But a bit misleading.  The impression is given that this was some sort of unusual event.  The clue should be when Keely mentions at the end that there is no damage or there were no power outages.   Well…that’s because we now know (after the last couple of days) that gusts of 100 mph must occur regularly up there each winter.  So anytime you see winds gusting 60+ mph at Multnomah Falls, Corbett, or Cape Horn, you can go up to Vista House and find gusts over 90 mph.  WE just discovered it, but it’s always been there.  You could estimate that 20-30 days each winter it blows that hard over Crown Point.  I don’t want to sound cranky, but I also don’t want to see inaccurate information out there.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen