Strongest East Wind Of Winter Arrives With New Year

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

38 Responses to Strongest East Wind Of Winter Arrives With New Year

  1. Julie Snelling says:

    Can you recommend something to monitor wind speeds? I live on the western edge of an open pasture where a swale comes up from the river. The exposure feels similar to areas near WF and Crown Point. Happy new year!

  2. Derek Hodges says:

    Here I am fighting out the winds, sorry for the rotating of the video towards the end, not my fault!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Hahaah! Great job staying vertical. Looks like you’re in training for an old time rock & roll show! Must be the Vista House two step!

    • Austin-Felida says:

      great acting i see that fan over there to the left lol and it was soo funny seeing that one guy just run by u lol

  3. WEATHERDAN says:

    Don’t give up on the cold weather so easy. I still see colder weather coming in around the 11th of this month. for the last week the models have been showing that. The thickness and the snow amounts change from day to day. Not however the overall cold pattern. I have noticed that when you get such a long pattern of several days in a row, that pattern usually comes to fruition. Now it might not be a week or more of highs in the 20,s and a foot of snow. But I believe in the January 11th-21st time frame we will see a few days with highs no warmer than about 36 degrees and lows in the 20-25 range. And some snow on the valley floor. As for another cool and wet spring I feel it is doubtful. Three such springs in a row hasn’t happened in decades. Most likely it will be fairly normal. Back in June of 2011 Many posters wrote that we we going to have the coldest summer ever. Instead it turned out just about normal. I can remember many winters when our snow came late in the winter and not before. 67-68 8 inches very late January, almost none before. 71-72 almost now snow until late January, then almost 10 inches. 84-85 cool but dry January, several inches of snow in eary February. 88-89 no high colder than 42 until late January. Then over a foot of snow in Salem, highs in teens and a minimum of one below zero. 89-90 no snow until february, then several days with sticking snow and highs 30-35 degrees. 94-95 a small amount of snow in December, but a big Arctic outbreak in February with 8 inches of snow. 2005-2006 no really cold weather until an Arctic outbreak in February, and a snowstorm about March 8th with some of the latest sticking snow ever in Salem. And hey today is only January 1st. So before we declare this winter a bust let’s wait until the end of winter. Happy New Years Day everybody.

  4. o.c.paul says:

    Jan 1, 2011-walked our two Airedales at the LaCenter bottoms. Felt like April.
    Jan 1, 2012-walked our two Airedales at Molalla River State Park. Felt like April.
    And we all know how the rest of the 2011 winter went.

  5. Sucked I had to work today! Plus, I really didn’t think the winds would get that strong. Just yesterday morning I said the wind may reach 70-80 mph, but I didn’t foresee 100+ mph winds.

    As for the cold, nowhere in sight today with a high of 53 degrees. My peak wind was just 6 mph. Made today feel somewhat spring-like.

    Cold in the future? Not really. The 18z has our previously 516-520 thickness up to 545. However, winter is just 14 days away now.

  6. …meanwhile, while those lucky b*&@ds are up at crown point, those of us stuck at work can only envy such a day well spent!…here in the clackamas river canyon east winds are also howling, there’s been branches breaking off, and the trees are doing that wonderful how-are-they-not-snapping-in-half action…….

  7. PaulB/Eugene says:

    18Z GFS ops run looked good for arctic weather in PacNW…beyond day 12. 18Z GFS Ensemble still the same as previous runs with 850mb mean temps over pdx…about -4C…so still ways to go before I get overly excited rather than cautiously optimistic…ECMWF extended 12Z run was foul smelling with big ridge over W USA. Hopefully 00Z brings even more cold……

  8. Derek Hodges says:

    I spend a good while out there at the vista house, it was a lot of fun. Nearly knocked over multiple times, I saw the 101mph but see its been topped with a 105. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some higher than that as some of the biggest gusts didn’t even read all that high on the handheld units. At any rate it was a lot of fun.

  9. Hi today 54.2F, sunny skies thanks to offshore wx up here, feels like march. Seems like the calm before the storm, as it seems that pattern is a changin’, with arctic wx looming in the 2 week time frame. It’s snotime!

  10. Mark Nelsen says:

    Steve Pierce got a 105 mph gust.

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      Well, that will certainly mess up your hair. How far do you live from the Vista House Mark?

    • Yeah 105 is impressive. But it’s time to put the hand held anemometers back in the drawer, time to dust off the rulers and check those thermometers, as arctic wx seems increasingly likely in the extended, maybe send the anemometers to our Bellingham friends, they will need them!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I live about 1.5 mile SE. In fact family and I took a quick hike/walk on a ridge halfway between Vista House and my home…couldn’t have been gusting over 20 mph…just a bit breezy up in the trees. It’s amazing how close the wind hugs the Gorge. At home I had a peak gust to 22 mph today, and no trees in the way.

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      That is pretty incredible Mark.

  11. Very boring weather the next 7-10 day and then the notorious arctic blast shows up once again in the long range. Oh boy!

  12. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    2012… Weather MUST be gett’n exciting sometime soon! Hahaha I wonder what Herald Camping is gonna say when all we get is SUN on Dec 21st.

  13. bgb41 says:

    Here is a recent video from Crown Points 100mph gusts via W7ENK

  14. Steve Pierce says:

    URGENT —-

    A KEELY CHALMERS WIND WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR CROWN POINT EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. Spread the word! Head for Crown Point ASAP. With over a 10mb gradient and winds over 80mph on Mark’s gauge, winds should easily be 90-95mph on the steps! I am getting ready to head out shortly! See you all up there! Lets rally!

    Steve Pierce
    Oregon AMS President

  15. Kyle says:

    Happy New Years! Hope your so far enjoying the exciting/awe-dropping La Nina winter of 2011-12!

    Let the good times roll!

  16. EmzinTigard says:

    45 degrees & relatively calm wind-wise here. A nice late morning to take the little ones out to ride their new tricycles!

  17. bgb41 says:

    Gradients -9.3mb in the gorge.

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