The strongest east wind so far this winter is blowing through the west end of the Gorge this morning and spreading out into the Portland/Vancouver Metro area. It’ll continue through this evening, then die down dramatically overnight. Luckily it’s not the beginning of several strong wind days.
Peak gusts as of 10am were 79 mph at Vista House and 60 at Corbett. The highest we’ve seen so far this “east wind season” up at the Crown Point sensor is 81 mph back in mid November. A few weeks ago when a bunch of us were up there, someone caught a gust to 87 mph on the steps while the sensor showed 72 mph, so we know it’s significantly stronger a good 10-20 feet away from the building. It’s safe to say it’s gusting in the 90-100 mph range “on the railing” today!
Today’s wind is caused (as usual) by strong high pressure east of the Cascades, but is enhanced by low pressure far offshore. The difference in pressure, we call it the pressure gradient, is up to 9.9 millibars from PDX-DLS at 10am. We haven’t seen it up around 10 millibars much this winter, in fact I have a feeling there have been far fewer east wind days than normal this winter. That’s due to the regular storms and westerly flow in November, and often flat gradients in December. I’ll have to check out the info on this…I feel a special graphic coming on for the 10pm newscast tonight.
Long range…well, the last few runs of the GFS and ECMWF have been nothing to write home about. Exceptionally dull weather continues through the next 7-10 days. MAYBE something interesting beyond that point. I’ll add my thoughts in again this evening. Otherwise, enjoy the low dewpoints and refreshing breezes!
6:00pm Update: It was an epic New Year’s Day for the weather weenies! Numerous gusts 90-105 mph. Here’s the proof, Steve Pierce sent this pic in showing a high quality Maximum anemometer reading to 105 mph. The peak gust at the sensor about 1 foot off the south side of the building is 80 mph so far. 64 is the next closest gust at Corbett Elementary School about 2 miles west of Vista House. Here’s a link to that wind graph: http://www.cascadeaccess.com/~mnelsen/screenID005.gif
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen