It’s been a crazy 24 hours at the western end of the Columbia River Gorge and far eastern suburbs of the Portland Metro area. Take a look at the peak wind gusts:
Troutdale Airport: 44
SE Troutdale (near MHCC): 59 (highest since Jan 2009)
Corbett School: 75 (highest since Jan 2009)
Corbett: 85 (private anemometer very exposed)
Vista House: 89 (higher than last winter)
Biddle Butte: 69 (higher than last winter if memory is correct)
The anemometer on the Corbett school has been there for over 12 years, and only one other time has gone above 74 mph. That was during the big east wind storm in early January 2009. No, not the “Keely Chalmers Incident” in January 2010, that one was a bit weaker with only a gust around 65 mph in Corbett. The big 2009 event saw gusts 50-60 mph spread well into Gresham, Orient, and east Portland. Definitely not as strong this time around in those areas, but the strongest we’ve seen in several years.
I don’t think it gusted above 82 mph last winter on the Vista House sensor (correct me if I’m wrong!). Due to it being such a historic and photographed structure, the anemometer only sticks out about 1 foot from the building, thus the lower than expected windspeeds. From last winter, we know 75-80 mph on that sensor is about 100 mph on the steps, so I bet we were up in the 110-115 category up there late last night and this morning. That area remains off-limits until construction ends in about a month.
Speaking of construction, I drove down there to get the sensor working this morning, and look what showed up in the 10 minutes between the drive down and back! Luckily the construction guys pushed it out of the way with a backhoe.
As I mentioned on Facebook, when your time is up, it’s up. Apparently it wasn’t quite time for me. But I don’t think my little car would’ve handled a 2 foot diameter maple tree very well. The large deer was bad enough.
Anyway, models have handled this east wind episode very badly, consistently showing the easterly gradient dropping way off YESTERDAY and very little wind today. It will slowly drop off the next few days, but not fast enough for those of you already tired of the wind!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen