6pm: Peak North Coast Gusts

November 22, 2011

One last surge of strong wind nailing the Oregon Coast right now as the front has pushed north into Washington.  Highest gust at lower elevations today was an 81 mph on the Astoria-Megler Bridge.  But that was around 3am before the wind sensor failed (a salmon nibbling on it now?).  The 78 mph gust at Astoria is an exposed ham radio site, but in the city.

4:00pm Update: Heavy Rain Moves North

November 22, 2011

A soaker of a storm so far…here are the rain totals since midnight:

 Notice the sharp increase in rainfall from Salem north…we’ve received almost twice as much in Portland and Vancouver compared to Salem.  Now, as forecast by models, the main rain band had slipped north and should stay there through at least 10pm.   Later tonight, towards daybreak, the whole system slides down to the southeast.  That brings one more round of heavy rain over us for at least a few hours…probably during the early part of the morning commute.  

At PDX, the storm total is about 2.50″ so far…add another 1″ to that through tomorrow morning.  3″ plus for a storm is definitely impressive; luckily all rivers and creeks were quite low to start with due to the drier than average November.

Right now the NWS has 4 flood warnings out for rivers in FOX-12’s viewing area: Nehalem, Wilson, Grays, and Naselle rivers.   Note also the Chehalis River has a flood warning out, forecast to rise 2-4′ above flood stage at Centralia.  This is an important one to watch, because another 2-4′ above that level is when Amtrak and I-5 start getting inundated.  That would be particularly bad on one of the busiest travel days of the year.  Let’s hope the heavy rain band doesn’t sit over the Willapa Hills too long overnight.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

10am Update: Rain Too Far South

November 22, 2011

Everything is going MOSTLY according to plan this morning; models did an excellent job showing the front moving down the Coast and cutting off wind north of about Tillamook.

Big problem with the placement of the main rain band.  Here’s the problem, the front (and center of heaviest rain) has been about 50 miles farther south than expected, leaving the heaviest rain band directly over the top of the Metro area.  In 3 hours (ending at 10am) we’ve received 3/4 inch of rainfall here in town.  Another 2 hours of this and we’ll start seeing flooding.  This afternoon the band of heavy rain SHOULD lift north.  If the rain doesn’t back off by noon, WE will be the hotspot for flooding, not up north.  There is no other populated area seeing more rain than we are seeing here.

 COASTAL WIND: Coastal wind is raging south of about Pacific City.  Peak gusts were 60-70 mph most spots, little less than I expected.  The wind did go just about calm from Tillamook up to Astoria; that’s why we sent our television crews to Lincoln City.  Brian MacMillan getting blown away was a great choice for the morning show.  It’ll continue to blow all day long; more of the same.  Probably not any stronger than what we’ve already seen.

METRO WIND:  Hasn’t been too strong (over 40 mph) since the front has been a little closer to us than expected.  So it may pick up some this afternoon as the front lifts north.  Gusts 40-50 still possible.  A few power outages still likely here and there.  Then it’ll go calm late tonight or tomorrow morning as the front finally pushes through.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen