Possible Windstorm Friday Night

A disturbing (or exciting) convergence of mesoscale models suddenly occurred this evening; they all show the potential for a signficant windstorm on the coast and possibly a windstorm in the western Valleys late tomorrow night.

The WRF-GFS and our RPM both show almost exactly the same thing.  A deep low tracking to about Astoria and then moving inland over SW Washington.  Timing is the same too, with strongest wind here in the Northern Willamette Valley sometime between Midnight-3am.  How strong could the wind be based on these models?  The WRF-GFS shows 17 millibars from Olympia to Eugene!  A common calculation for a possible peak gust at PDX is about 3.15×17 in this case.  That would be between 50-60 mph, maybe similar to the Hannukah Eve storm in December 2006 (for Portland).  Our RPM is slightly farther south with the low, showing 16 millibars from just Kelso to Eugene!  That’s real impressive. 

Now the MM5-NAM is a bit different, more of an open wave (not a closed area of low pressure), but it’s farther south.  I’d put the strong winds somewhere down in the Valley, more like Salem and Eugene.  It shows 11 millibars just from Portland to Eugene with a strong surge from the southwest behind the wave.  It’s just slightly later too, closer to 3-4am.

So the possibility of a significant windstorm is definitely there; I’ll get more excited about it if the 12z runs all come in similar or stronger.

Other than that, today has been consumed by flood coverage.  It has been the biggest flood since 1996 in the central valley.  In some areas worse than 1996.  Here are the 3 day rain totals:

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

69 Responses to Possible Windstorm Friday Night

  1. Kyle says:

    By the way: I bear no ill towards the weather man that actually look and try to reason why their forecast was blown instead of pretending nothing is wrong.

    If you want to be a weatherman you better learn how to interpet the models on your own if you wish to be taken seriously so you can figure out the reasons why this or that didn’t work out.

  2. pappoose in scappoose says:

    What about this? Hahaah!

    Thursday, January 19, 2012
    Now I hate to bring this up…. but the forecast models for the next week indicate some intense weather in store for us. Heavy rains, strong windstorms, and the arrival of frigid arctic air. Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel may have to come back for another visit.
    Posted by Cliff Mass Weather Blog at 10:38 PM

    • Kyle says:

      Then it’s not going to happen! Seriously:

      Here are two catagories with two scenarios each of a weatherman being wrong.

      Version one with weak weather fronts/systems approaching City X using the models :

      If the weather man predicts it’s going to be a little rainy and not much sun (if at all) breaks then it will instead be mostly sunny with a drying wind with the humidity dropping slowly throughout the day and a pretty sunset to add.

      If he forecasts that it’s going to be a little sunny with a weak storm or upper low steering away with (more sun then clouds)
      then that forecast will be blown to smittherins with scattered showers and gloomy skies making one feel like they are trapped in a tomb.

      Version two with strong weather fronts approaching City X on the models:

      If the weather man predicts there will be a major storm striking then the storm will pass or flatten out and if a major storm is predicted to miss then the city the weather man is predicting for will get the worst of it.

      No matter what the weather is always opposite of the weather man.

  3. Roman~Snow-Zone-Monmouth, Elv. 223' says:

    Two nice deep lows way out to our west.


  4. 3 Day rainfall/precip

    Tuesday: 2.76″
    Wednesday: 5.39″
    Thursday: 2.12″

    Total: 10.27

    I am at 1600′ near Silver Falls State Park.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Mark mentioned you on the 6 o’clock newscast last eve. Commented on the 30 some inches of snow melting as per your snow depth report. Can I have your autograph?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I couldn’t remember your last name, so I mentioned (mumbled) something about Andrew out near Silver Falls SP. Then mumbled some more…

    • snowlover says:

      What’s Mark Nelsen’s last name?

  5. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Cherie, Batten Down the Hatches!

    344 AM PST FRI JAN 20 2012


  6. W7ENK says:

    Issued for the Columbia River Gorge

  7. Tyler Mode says:

    I’m near Pdx now and the east wind is blowing and it’s 39.  Its 49 in BG.  I was going to make a loop trip up 14 over the BOG then back 84 but it looks too icy!  Snow is one thing but I don’t want to be driving in the ice!

  8. michelle says:

    My Mother is a Fire captain for a small town just south of Florence. She informed me this morning that hwy 38 is closed due to a sink hole. Also the town of Mapleton has been evacuated due to flooding. My thoughts go out to everyone effected by these storms….

  9. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    ‎12z WRF-GFS 12km cross section suggesting 25 knot winds at the surface. Looking at the WRF model and using the 3.15xOLM-EUG gradient formula, I come up with 32 mph max gust. So 35-40 tops? That’s what I come up with anyway.

    Cross section:

    Looks like the central coast could see gusts approaching 80mph…

  10. Officeman says:

    What’s precip looking like for the next 48 hours?

  11. David B says:

    36 and very slowly melting in Seattle this morning. Should be in the 40s by the end of the day. Bellingham still below freezing but the cold snap is not long for this world up there, either.

  12. pappoose in scappoose says:

    National Weather Service Portland or
    850 am PST Friday Jan 20 2012

    The low level jet ahead of the front reaches around 75 knots at 850 mb along the coast late today and tonight. Believe this supports 65 to 75 miles per hour at coastal headlands and beaches…and 60 to 65 miles per hour in
    the coastal communities. Strong winds will develop at The Headlands late this afternoon…but may take a bit longer to develop in the coastal communities due to the initial easterly orientation of the surface gradient.
    It now looks as though strong winds will push into the Coast Range
    tonight through early Saturday. As the front moves through
    the inland areas…the southerly gradient will increase with good
    pressure rises from the south overnight tonight. Winds will be
    easterly in the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan areas through much of this evening before the southerly winds develop…while the
    southerly winds will develop quite a bit earlier in the south and
    central Willamette Valley. The winds could cause extra problems due to the saturated soils with falling trees and power outages the
    likely impact. Will issue a Wind Advisory for this. A few spots
    could come close to warning criteria but would like to see stronger
    pressure rises behind the system before issuing a warning.

    • Crackleberry says:

      So you risk sounding like a complete fool especially to those who don’t frequently read the blog very often, just to get the blog going? Thank you for giving us another worthless comment to ignore!

  13. Runrain says:

    Damage from high winds affects those who CHOOSE to live in places with trees, etc. Same with forest fires and floods. Yes, I know some of these folks have no choice but most DO. They, therefore, have bought into the risk if natural extreme events. Hard to have much feeling of worry for them. Even harder to have to pay to take care of them with our tax dollars. I know this sounds cold but…

    • wwm says:

      for real runrain?! come down from the pedastal in your glass house. where would you suggest everyone live? all in high density housing I am sure.

    • gidrons says:

      So where exactly should we live that we can’t be affected by a natural disaster? Earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wind storms, lightning, extreme heat — take your pick

    • Runrain says:

      Many disasters DO affect us all. Many we can limit our exposure to. Choices… Just like those yellow/red lights MANY choose to run 🙂

    • Hal in Aims says:

      uhh..I don’t recall ANYONE’S tax dollars paying for ANYTHING on my property……don’t know where you get your info……can guess tho’…….

    • Runrain says:

      Primarily referring to public services like fire, police, utilities, etc. If you don’t use these then yes, you are owed a heartfelt apology.

    • Ron says:

      Wow, I can’t believe what I just read. You got to be kidding, right?

    • WhiteEagle - Garden Home/SW Portland says:

      This comment is so absurd that it defies response. I can’t even come up with a sarcastic one.

    • Joel Caris says:

      Well, Runrain does have a point. Clearly no one should live near a tree. Dangerous, dangerous things, those are. And a real menace to society, anyone who dares live close to one.

      Why, just the other night a tree burst into my room and tried to take me out. Had to wrestle that sucker for a good five minutes before I was able to get the knife away and . . . well, let’s just say he’s missing a few limbs now. No worries though, Runrain, I didn’t call the police and waste any of your tax dollars. Bootstrapped it myself.

    • WhiteEagle - Garden Home/SW Portland says:

      I take that back, partially. I grew up in northern California near the Russian River. A town named Guerneville was notorious for severe damaging flooding every 2-5 years. How is that possible? The government subsidized residents along the banks of the river to rebuild in the same place, each time it flooded!!! I think they have since gotten a little stricter.

      Is that what you’re getting at, runrain?

    • “places with trees”… Dude, this is the Pacific Northwest.. get a clue.

    • Listen Carefully Run, We are in the midst of some VERY DIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. I am here to share WEATHER information. If you must blog about the frailties of human behavior please do so elsewhere. Your comments may serve well in another venue, but NOT HERE, NOT NOW.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      I could be struck by lightning. Guess I won’t go outside anymore. Suppose I could build a dome over my house as well…or move to Milwaukie.

    • Runrain says:

      Just wanted to get the blog going this morning. Worked!

    • W7ENK says:

      It’s for circumstances like these I’m glad for the dome over Milwaukie. Incessant clouds and light rain; no snow, no ice, no wind, no trees, no rivers, no fires… Milwaukie is just a vast, wide open expanse of cool damp earth with houses full of grumpy people! And for that, today, I am happy.

    • Kyle says:

      Pssssstt. What they diddn’t want you to know was the KPTV weather bloggers CANNOT handle criticism and will act like 14 year olds on riddelin.

  14. Mark, with the thick ice build-up, we’re teetering on th edge out here. Large branches are crashing down all over the area every few minutes. Do you anticipate strong winds in the Central/Eastern Gorge as well?

  15. PaulB/Eugene says:

    mm5 GFS in….does not really have any triple point low at all, so therefore nothing to enhance gradients and winds. Looking at the WV imagery…there is nothing impressive at the point the NAM was showing the nascent secondary low…so I would side with the GFS…so we probably are safe for tonight in the valley.

    • stevied (North Portland) says:

      just looking at both as well and agree with you Paul.

    • Jane - Forest Grove says:

      Hope you guys are right. I know many people like the wind storms, but we need things to dry out, trees to recover. blah blah.

    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      I agree as well. WRF-GFS suggests a 974mb low at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, with tightening gradients as the trough moves through. Looks like 10mb from Olympia to Eugene — so 35 mph? Will be interesting to see what the 12z cross section has to say.

  16. o.c.paul says:

    Both TWC and Accuweather(not) show a rain/snow mix on Sat and Sun the 28th and 29th.
    TWC has shows L37 H 44 for Sat and L37 H45 for Sunday. Better put the snow blade on the truck.

  17. Jane - Forest Grove says:

    Please keep us up to date. This is bad for everyone with saturated soils and tree damage from heavy snow. The Dec-06 reference scares the crapola out of me. We had major tree and property damage that night.

  18. Brad says:

    Windstorm tonight?


  19. alohabb says:

    Not gonna lie, i feel as if the possibility for dangerous strong winds is better than our “snowstorm” last week. These winds are not to be taken lightly. With soaked grounds, we are in for a potential serious situation.

  20. PaulB/Eugene says:

    12Z NAM looks like strong winds in Willamette Valley tonight…gusts to 50mph at least

  21. Jory (Sandy) says:

    Mark, any chance you could put the time and date in the posts you publish? Thanks.

    • Sarah (E. Gresham) says:

      The time and date is there, but it’s in a really obscure spot. If you look below the post in the grey area below the “twitter”, “facebook” and “like” buttons, it says the date and time.

    • Jory (Sandy) says:

      Thanks Sarah. I guess I was blind. 🙂

  22. Just wondering if portland gets High winds. Will that orevent us seattle north from warming up and keep us in another snow/ice storm event Pulling more cold air out of the fraizer river.?

  23. bgb41 says:

    1/19/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:59 at DW7442 Philomath( 325 ft)
    Low: 53 at CW5404 Dallas(282 ft)

    High:21 at DW0069 Ferndale(840 ft)
    Low: 15 at CW0706 Athena (1916 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 27 degrees
    Heppner (47/20 ) (2001 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    5.76″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)
    5.39″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    5.31″ at KC7RJK-3 Deadwoo(400ft)
    5.10″ at NORTH FORK(3120ft)
    4.73″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    4.60″ at BOULDER CREEK(3570ft)

  24. Kyle says:

    As long as it stays below 45mph then I’ll enjoy every moment of it.

  25. Roman~Snow-Zone-Monmouth, Elv. 223' says:

    Nice update.. And yeah we got hammered with rain!

  26. W7ENK says:

    This should be fun…

  27. William johnson says:

    What about coastal wind speeds ? That was left out like the astoria area?

  28. Thankfully the wind event you’re describing would be a PDX event. SEA can use a break

  29. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Definitely exciting! But bad for south/central valley 😦

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