New Extreme Wind Locations: BPA Sensors

December 3, 2011

Good news for weather junkies; it appears wind/temp readings from several new Bonneville Power Administration meteorological towers is making it into the MADIS feed today.  Maybe they have been there for a few days, but today I just noticed them while looking at a map.

I’m no expert on the matter, but it appears BPA installed these sensors in several spots to fill some missing gaps in wind readings for our area.  The placement seems a bit random though.  I sure wish we had a good wind reading up on the KPTV transmission tower too!   You can find these observations on any map that outputs the MADIS-CWOP-MESOWEST data such as this one:

There are 5 that grabbed my attention.

Along the Coast, two new spots for extremely high windspeeds, similar to Mt. Hebo:

1. Naselle Ridge (2,000′) Just east of Willapa Bay and north of Astoria, this one recorded a 106 mph gust during the windstorm just before Thanksgiving.  This location had the gust to 140 mph during the Great Coastal Gale of 2007.  A different anemometer though.

2. Megler Hill (1,200′) The hill just north of the Astoria Bridge.  Recorded a gust to 95 mph during the same windstorm a couple weeks ago.

In the Gorge, three new spots:

1. Troutdale (120′)  This is a hundred feet or so up above the old Reynolds Aluminum area.  It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to TTD observations less than a mile away, but down on the ground.

2. Biddle Butte (1,400′)  This is right atop Cape Horn on the Washington side of the Columbia River.  That sharp little cone that I always thought was called Mt. Zion, but maybe this is the real name.  You Washougal types can probably shed light on that.  A well exposed spot above the Gorge (for easterly wind).  This will be great near the end of cold east wind events…one of the first to turn warm as the cold airmass shallows out, we’ll then know how thick the cold air is on the Washington side compared with my 1,000′ location on the south side of the Gorge and the 700′ elevation of Vista House and Corbett.  East wind tends to be lighter on the Washington side too.  Sure would like to see a sensor up on Angels Rest on the south side!

3. Auspurger Mtn (3,000′)  Directly north of Dog Mountain between Stevenson and White Salmon on the north side of the Columbia River.    This is great for hikers; anyone can check and see what the conditions are like up on Dog Mountain before heading up there.  Strong west wind location, but probably real respectable east wind too.  Fun to watch whether wind goes gusty east first up there or down on the river as colder airmasses move in from the NE this time of year.