Overdue For A Windstorm

October 17, 2012

Since the weather is slow, I spent some time this evening working on my presentation of the past year’s weather.  I like to do a recap of the previous winter each year for the Oregon AMS What Will the Winter Be Like meeting.  That meeting will be on Saturday, November 17th at OMSI (10am).

What stuck out, once again, is the lack of a windstorm here in the Northern Willamette Valley.  Do you realize we haven’t even had anything close to a windstorm since the Hannukah Eve Storm of December 2006?  That is 6 years!  And we were just on the edge of that storm.  Here are the peak gusts at PDX for each winter:

The red for 2010-2011 is the freak 15 minute long squall line that produced a west wind gust to 55mph.  I think that one wasn’t really a windstorm. 

It’s has been 17 years since we’ve seen a major widespread regional windstorm here in Northwest Oregon and SW Washington.  December 1995 was the last one.  By major, I would consider widespread gusts 60-70+ mph at the local airports from Salem up to Seattle.  Of course we’ve seen several storms up in Puget Sound and the big one along the North Coast in 2007, but nothing huge and widespread this far south.  It also occurred in November 1981 and October 1962 (regionwide events).

I think we are due for a storm soon, this might be the winter.  Of course I thought that for each of the last few winters as well.  Common knowledge is that we tend to get the big storms in Neutral ENSO years.  That’s what we will have this winter.  So maybe the odds have increased?  We’ll see.

Now discuss amongst yourselves.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen