Strong East Wind & Sunshine Ahead

The next two days will feature a mix of SUN & WIND for the Portland/Vancouver Metro area.   Our first real chilly and strong gorge east wind of the season is here and will continue through Wednesday.  Just the beginning of lots of cold winter wind!

Then it’s back to lots of gray and rainy weather systems moving in off the Pacific Ocean as we enter a new storm cycle.

An upper level ridge is moving overhead during these next two days.  At the same time surface high pressure is building to our east rapidly this evening.  Pressures are rising over the lower elevations of Eastern Oregon and Washington and falling west of the Cascades (slowly) this evening.  As a result an easterly pressure gradient is growing quickly, already approaching 6 millibars at 9pm from Troutdale to The Dalles.  This is well ahead of even the mesoscale model forecasts of a 6-8 mb gradient during the daytime tomorrow.  It’s a nice “cold pool” developing in the Columbia Basin, the first one of the winter season.  What does this mean?  Wind gusts have already reached about 45 mph at Corbett and they’ll easily touch 60 tomorrow and/or Tuesday out in the western Gorge.   Probably gusts around 35-40 mph in Troutdale and 25-35 mph anywhere east of I-205 near and south of the Columbia River.  This is strictly a gap wind event, not a downsloping wind, the amount of wind you get will be directly related to how close you are to the west end of the Gorge.  So most of Clark County will see mainly calm conditions (away from the Columbia).  Same with anywhere south of Tigard/Oregon City or west of Beaverton.  Wind does tend to whistle over the top of the West Hills and come down the west slope there.  Places like Bonney Slopes, Providence St. Vincent and Sylvan get real windy in this pattern.

As several deep low pressure areas approach the coastline late Tuesday and into Wednesday, the pressure falls west of the Cascades will keep the wind going.  We also get a much warmer airmass OVERHEAD tomorrow and Tuesday.  This means a sharp inversion.  East wind events in the Gorge are helped out by a sharp inversion.  In fact the strongest east wind episode of the past 10 years at the west end of the Gorge was with 850mb temps up around +15 in early January 2010, yet high temps were only in the upper 40s in the metro area.    This doesn’t look anywhere near as strong, but still, a lot of raging east wind in the Columbia River Gorge and east metro area the next 3 days.  And it won’t totally go away until next weekend.

Important Note:  The Vista House wind sensor has been offline for about 6 weeks; there was flooding or some sort of water issue in the basement where the sensor/computer are kept and they haven’t gotten it all cleaned up.  Sensor is fine, but office space is not.  It is also illegal to walk down to Vista House for one more month due to a road closure at Larch Mtn. Road.  The next strongest windspeed is at the Corbett Grade School here:

For the areas NOT in the east wind zone, we’ll get patchy areas of dense fog overnight along with some freezing temps.  Even though the airmass will be too dry for fog just a few hundred feet up with the dry wind moving in, there should be enough moisture for that fog.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen 

41 Responses to Strong East Wind & Sunshine Ahead

  1. I headed up hiking at Devil’s Rest today. I had never been up there in November and boy was the water flowing, even more so than in spring it seems.

    Very windy in the exposed areas, but these small pockets that were calm were very frosty. I’d say peak winds were around 40-50 mph near the summit (2,400′)

    No snow at all on the trail.

    37 mpg on the car on the way to Multnomah Falls, 52 mpg on the way back…nice little tail wind!

  2. 00z GFS begins in 3 hours. Run completes in 4 hours 13 minutes. Extracted Available in 4 hours 23 minutes.
    00z ECMWF begins in 6 hours 23 minutes. Run completes in 6 hours 19 minutes.
    What will it hold? Pure crap? A huge surprise(but WHAT?) Windstorm? Arctic blast? Inversion(s)? ….

  3. East winds seemed to have bumped up a bit further really howling and roaring outside. 00z Mesoanalysis 925mb temps over Columbia Basin shows -2c with cold pool slightly expanding. Also, 850mb temps very slowly warming west of the Cascades. I’m wondering if a slight inversion is helping increase the winds.

    As of 4 PM
    PDX-DLS: -7.2mb | 3 PM: -7.0mb | Hourly Change: +0.2mb
    TTD-DLS: -7.2mb | 3 PM: -7.2mb | Hourly Change: None
    OTH-GEG: -7.4mb | 3 PM: -7.5mb | Hourly Change: -0.1mb

  4. If the models and weather gods were really mean the would spit out a really awesome 00z run just to get our hopes up LOLs….

    00z GFS in 4 hours. ECMWF in 6 hours 45 minutes.

  5. W7ENK says:

    227 PM PST MON NOV 26 2012

    • paulbeugene says:


  6. NWS just issued another pointless Special Weather Statement(In my opinion)
    Let’s see…. Gusts to 65 headlands(nothing out of the ordinary) 55 maybe in the Coastal Cities(again big deal) and 40-50mph west end of Gorge, big deal this is occurring now and is normal. Why issue this again?

  7. 12z ECMWF and GFS ensembles look very consistent in the 6 to 10 day time frame, with persistent ridge Bering sea, trough off PNW, and SE ridge. Spells prolonged period of active wx with heavy rains and dynamic systems, +/- HWW or two. 850 temps look normal during this period, which
    I suspect translates to accumulating snows higher elevations, intermittent rain/snow passes, good ol rain lowlands. 18Z gfs brings cold in the extended, point being that the aforementioned trough can’t persist forever, and that snow could follow in a couple weeks

    • David B. says:

      Snow and holiday lights are a nice mix! Haven’t seen that combo in a few years. Would be nice if it happens.

  8. paulbeugene says:

    Monday Nov 26:
    It is 12:15 and the clouds are finally starting to break up down here in Eugene.

    Am more skeptical of major windstorm chances than I was a day or two ago…still looks like the best potential is on Dec 1 or 2. UKMET 12Z (the most impressive of the runs) has a low bombing close to the coast as it heads N toward Oly peninsula….with pressure falls about 24mb in 24 hours…down to 976mb or a bit lower. The Euro 00Z did have a low also that looked good….979mb headed toward Oly peninsula…but the 12Z had 977mb low toward N tip Vanc Island. NOGAPS 12Z has a filling low in mid 980s headed toward J de Fuca Strait….00Z had nothing. GFS 12Z has 984mb low headed to tip of Oly peninsula. Basically a decent chance of a seasonably strong storm impacting the region Saturday afternoon into the night….with likelihood of winds inland greater than what was experienced with the most recent storm that impacted mostly the coast with strong winds. One factor that may reduce the winds is that there is another short wave/system on the heels of the storm mentioned above (on GFS) that would negatively impact pressure rises. Still a ways to go.

    Skiers forecast….looking at the ski area cams…definitely has that “old snow” look already…could use some more on that base. Unfortunately, the next two weeks do not look all that great for snow accumulations at pass elevation. Ensemble mean 850mb temps don’t spend much time below 0C for the next two weeks. Looks like a progressive pattern with storms progressing quickly from east Pacific across North America with transient but repeated and increasingly cold tastes of arctic air headed toward Great Lakes, Northeast USA.

    Not seeing any arctic air for next two weeks…odds are I would be saying the same thing again two weeks from now…with perhaps a brief power interruption between now and then.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yup, these sorts of things are usually “too good to be true”, especially when they show up outside of the 5 to 7-day range. So I guess in addition to the standard incessant end-of-run arctic blast, we should expect to see an end-of-run windstorm sitting at day 8 to 10 all winter long now, too? A wishcasting multiplication factor! Well, at least that’s new… 😕

    • runrain says:

      Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Oregon State-Nichols State game was canceled due to high winds on Saturday, just like the first game of the season was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana back in September. That would be a sign from above that these two teams should just not play each other!

    • Paul, I tend to agree with that.. If 00z doesn’t show improvements windstorm fans won’t be happy.

  9. umpire says:

    Went to the South Coast this weekend to see the lights at Shore Acres state park. Pretty incredible, 300,000+ lights, most of them LED. Plus the house and grounds are nicely decorated.

    Stayed in a yurt at William Tugman state park – rained heavily from about 6:00 p.m. Friday night through last Saturday morning. Wish I had taken a portable rain gauge. Probably two inches of rain then.

    But, the best part of the trip was yesterday (Sunday). The east winds must have had some influence at the coast. Was at South Beach, just a couple miles south of Newport, and some of the best weather I’ve had at the coast recently. Warmer on the beach than the parking lot, and just a hint of a north wind. Nary a cloud in sight.

  10. There’s still time to make guess for the 2012-2013 Winter contest 🙂

  11. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    Don’t have to go too far north or south to find freezing temperatures…

    Aurora and Canby are both at 32 or colder.

    Hazel Dell is at 32 or colder.

    Looks like Wilsonville and Sherwood may have both dipped down to freezing or colder (Wilsonville at 32 and Sherwood at 29)

  12. 2:29 AM Update
    Sleep is nice, but alas I am awake now for at least a little bit. Aren’t you all so lucky! 🙂

    Very gusty east wind now. Thinking Wednesday-Wednesday night into early Thursday morning could be an east wind storm with 850mb around +10c and lower pressure increasing from the southwest. In my opinion it is all dependent on how persistent this newly developed cold pool over the Columbia Basin is and the pressure falls off the southern Oregon Coast. We will have to keep an eye on that.

    As of 2 AM
    PDX-DLS: -7.0mb | 1 AM: -6.5mb | Hourly Change: +0.5mb
    TTD-DLS: -7.0mb | 1 AM: -6.6mb | Hourly Change: +0.4mb
    OTH-GEG: -11.4mb | 1 AM: -11.4mb | Hourly Change: None

    As PaulB mentioned in the other thread 00z GFS/WRF was not overly impressive in terms of a possible windstorm.

    However, 00z ECMWF is. It puts a roughly 980mb compact low just west of Ocean Shores, WA next Monday. Since these are 24 hour forecast plots it is hard to determine if the low deepens further or exact track.

    00z GEM(Canadian) as well shows a 984mb low off Cape Blanco next Sunday. Since these are 12 hour forecast plots it is hard to determine if the low deepens further or exact track, but this model seems to imply a strong gradient is dragged inland on the next image(168)

    So any notion that we’re out of the woods in terms of escaping a windstorm are in my opinion premature. I feel the 500mb pattern just off the Coast will be there and supportive the possibility. If today’s suite of 12z runs all back off on the idea, well then you may have something there. 12z could bring back things without a doubt, but just the same of course this entire possibility could fizzle. It’s the Pacific Northwest for crying out loud!

  13. bgb41 says:

    11/25/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:62 at RED MOUND(1753 ft)
    Low: 48 at BROOKINGS(79 ft)

    High:24 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 8 at ANEROID LAKE #2(7300ft)

    Largest Diurnal Change: 29 degrees
    Lorella (54/25 ) (4160 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.68″ at Roseburg Regiona(525ft)
    0.60″ at SILVIES(6900ft)
    0.53″ at North Bend Munic(16ft)
    0.47″ at Eugene, Mahlon S(364ft)

  14. *BoringOregon* says:

    Just wondering if there is any place up in the Gorge to go to view the east winds. Sense the vista house is closed. And what day will the winds peak at the most up there?

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      Portland Women’s Forum.

      A couple years ago MallowTheCloud and I stopped there thinking there was a bathroom… Didn’t find one, but the winds were absolutely howling there. There were a degree or two weaker than at Crown Point, but it was pretty nasty itself.

      Also… After last year, I’m really nervous about this closure. If I recall, we had basically 0 good East Wind events last year. Now we finally get one (and I have friends interested in going) and Vista House is off limits. Fun.

      Right now, my hat’s in the ring for Women’s Forum. I can’t think of a better place (and even used Google Maps’ Terrain feature to try and find a better one) than that.

      If anyone can think of a better place than the Women’s Forum (on the Oregon side, getting to the Washington side may be nigh impossible for me) please let me know before the winds peak… It’s silly, but some of the best times I have during winter are up there and I don’t want to lose out on a chance this year, especially after last year.

      (P.S. – If there WAS a good event or two last year, let me know too. I can’t remember for the life of me… Other than being disappointed by last winter overall.)

    • W7ENK says:

      There was at least one, on New Year’s Day.

      And I agree, Women’s Forum Park is as close as you’re gonna get. In fact, you can SEE Crown Point from there on the next ridge over.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      That is the only other spot that’s almost as exposed as Crown Pt. But we only have to wait 4 more weeks, it’s supposed to be done New Years. That leaves 2 out of the 4 east wind months (Nov-Feb) to get up there.

  15. Mat the Salmon Killer says:

    Well Im in Jamestown NY til Friday this week and got here on Thursday. Had the last two days of lake effect snow here. Temp has been hovering around freezing since I got here. Only about three inches have fallen total. But it stays on the ground here. People here dont care about snow. Makes it not as fun if u ask me. I can understand though after seeing the tv Mets here talk about upcoming winter and snow. Its no big deal. Lol. Glad im not too spoiled with it in Redmond and Portland.

  16. Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

    *prepares for fog*

    At least the fog won’t last long, right? Right? Right? 😉

    Hopefully that low approaching from the SW on Wednesday will create enough of a breeze out of the NE to keep this a two day fog event.

  17. I’d like to hear your ideas as to how cold and deep the Columbia Basin cold pool might end up getting….is there any chance of things getting deep enough to produce a brief snow event for the East Gorge on Wed. or Thu?

  18. Jeff Raetz says:

    wish we could see what its doing at crown point

  19. W7ENK says:

    Light East winds in Milwaukie, at the moment.

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