Major Windstorm Tonight Coast and Valleys

The most powerful windstorm in at least 6 years is poised to hit us within the next 12 hours, that includes the Portland Metro Area!

1pm…

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • High Wind Warnings are up for all of NW Oregon and our viewing area in SW Washington too.
  • Gusty south wind picks up around 4-6pm this evening, maybe gusts 35-45 mph in the valleys (Salem to Longview)
  • Much stronger southwest wind between 10pm-2am in the same areas.  The wind will come and go with the showers.
  • Gusts 55-65 mph are possible, this is stronger than anything we’ve seen in our area since the Hanukkah Eve Storm in December 2006.  Possibly the strongest since the January 2000 storm.
  • Prepare for widespread power outages and downed trees.  During the 2006 storm, PGE outages topped out over 200,000 customers!  Most of those were back on within a day or so, but those of you in the outlying areas make sure your generator and chainsaw is working this afternoon.
  • By daybreak Monday it’s over, just showers, sunbreaks, and breezy wind.
  • Flooding rain or lowland snow is not an issue with this storm.
  • Oregon Coast gets Southerly gusts 50-70 mph in the 3-7pm timeframe, then a much stronger surge of SW wind 10pm-2am.  Gusts 80-100 mph possible, especially on the north Coast.

DETAILS:

What an exciting 24 hours we have ahead.  It has  been obvious for a few days that we have a wind “event” of some sort on the way tonight and tomorrow morning.  But this morning the models made two significant changes that should push the wind higher than earlier anticipated.

1.  The surface low currently tracking towards the coast is forecast to be a bit deeper (lower pressure) and farther south than earlier runs forecast.  Plus, it doesn’t weaken dramatically until after it passes by now.  A deep surface low tracking just to our north pulls up strong southerly wind through the Valley as it moves by.  Air is rushing north to fill in that “hole” in the atmosphere.

2.  The “poisonous tail of the bent back occlusion” (I love that saying)  is forecast to move directly onto the north coast and over the Kelso-Salem corridor inland between 9pm-2am.  During the 2006 storm, this feature moved through SW Washington north of Kelso, sparing most of us from the most destructive wind.  But remember all the damage up there and we were just on the edge of it here?  This time it is forecast to move directly overhead.  You can see it as the tightest isobar packing south of the surface low on models.   Here is the 10pm and 1am GFS forecast of surface pressure.  I should note that the 18z NAM (and maybe satellite imagery) imply a faster movement to the low:

gfs_op_apcp_f18_nw

gfs_op_apcp_f24_nw

So now pressure gradient forecasts are in the 18-20 millibar range for Olympia to Eugene, but with most of the isobar packing from Kelso to Eugene instead of last time when it was further north.  As noted in the previous post, this means  we are well up into the 50+ mph gust forecast range.  As this occurs, we’ll be in a showery and unstable air mass too, lifted index values are around zero.  Instability helps the strong SW wind above surface during those showers.  Most likely this will be one of those windstorms where the wind goes up and down dramatically.

It’s going to be down to normal “windy” levels by daybreak, but by then the damage will be done.

Just showers and sunbreaks tomorrow, oh, and 3-4 feet new snow in the Cascades the next 2 days!

We’ll be on at 5pm and 10pm tonight, plus keep Facebook (FOX12WEATHER) and Twitter (FOX12WEATHER) updated.  It’s going to be a long night!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

281 Responses to Major Windstorm Tonight Coast and Valleys

  1. magic mesh says:

    I seldom leave a response, but i did a few searching and wound up here Major Windstorm Tonight
    Coast and Valleys FOX 12 Weather Blog. And I actually do have some questions for you if you usually do not mind.
    Could it be only me or does it appear like some of these responses look like they are coming from brain dead people?
    😛 And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I would like to keep up
    with anything new you have to post. Would you list
    of every one of your communal sites like your linkedin profile,
    Facebook page or twitter feed?

  2. Brad says:

    Tidewater now gusting to 62. Let’s get windy people. 🙂

  3. Boydotwo221' says:

    Bar. 29.26 and rising. Winds fairly calm at 5mph, temp 50degrees. Maybe it’s all over here……he he he….

  4. Brad says:

    That’s better! Pressure falls now indicate a landing closer to Ocean Shores, maybe even a bit south. For the less technical, that’s something to root for!

  5. lauriesylvan says:

    Couple of big gusts here around 6:30, and nothing since then.

  6. Kyle says:

    Here is you’re quote Travis. Travis says:
    December 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Every time a storm is set to hit the Portland area it seems like most of the stations around the area are rarely in agreement. Sometimes, like in tonight’s storms case, the forecasts are completely different. The other forecasts seem to hardly even consider this a storm, calling for gusts to 40ish mph. Why is there such discrepancy??

    Quote.

  7. Kyle says:

    Travis I hope you are reading this reply to you’re comment……actually question at 7:27PM PST

    The real reason why there is so much disagreement is these *professionals* focus too much on weather model this and storm model that instead of LOCAL knowledge of patterns and we have the ability and responsibility to communicate with storm spotters like the infamous Colorado Rain Hail Snow site that actually does the whole nation despite it’s name.

    There is a standard you must adhere to on how to mount you’re weather station before given credibility on their site and I bet a lot of reports will be from Oregon tonight on that site. (Rhyming not intended)

    Irrelevant comments like vernonia1 that offers absolutely nothing to the discussion makes me doubt humanity’s survival and why I am not posting except in rare events like this to give periodic updates.

  8. Something interesting on Enhanced IR Loop
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?ir4km_enhanced+12
    Low is still due west of Ocean Shores, but note the last 3 frames an obvious southeastward jog. Perhaps the low tracks towards central Washington Coast, then turns northeast moving up over the Olympic Peninsula. That could in turn pull the winds towards the more even more efficiently.

  9. runrain says:

    The moon is out!

  10. Brandy says:

    Been with out power for probably the last hour here in stayton

    • Kyle says:

      Blipped out a couple times here at the most for a full minute.

      Went to get pizza and got it in the oven from Papa Murphey’s and it smells delicious! The Pizza place had the same power blip and had to reboot their computers and alarms were going off either next door or the next place in the plaza here in Silverton.

      The minute long outage from what I’ve heard stretched from Westfield street up the hill.

    • lurkyloo says:

      Sorry Brandy — I hope you were prepared for that outage. And I hope it comes back on soon! BTW, I’m a Brandy too! But you can call me Lurky;)

    • I’m just Rob….not nearly as exciting as a Brandy. Hope you get your power back on soon! and Pizza sound good!

    • Brandy says:

      Ya I’m still without but it’s fun playing cards by candlelight no heat though.

    • Kyle says:

      Can I send some to you? One side is Pepperoni and the other is Hawaiian Pineapple. Which side do you want for you’re E-Pizza?

    • Brandy says:

      I like the change of pace with no power brings family togather! Don’t get that to often these days:)

  11. Does anyone know if Cascade Locks is a part of this wind event?

  12. My forecast is peak wind zone Salem/Albany north to about Kelso/Longview. Peak gusts 55-60mph+ localized 70mph+ would not surprise me.

  13. Mulder says:

    Rain coming to an end, it looks like its about to stop.

  14. AdamInAumsville says:

    Power went off momentarily here twice about 6:30 or so. I would say a couple gusts were 45 – 50 mph. Seems to have calmed down a bit for now, though still gusty and rain is coming down. Waiting for the “poisonous tail” to arrive.

  15. 00z WRF….
    A roughly 971mb low tracks E-NE into Tatoosh Island/southern tip if Vancouver Island.
    1:00 AM

    Max PDX-EUG gradient 12mb.
    MAJOR windstorm after 11 PM for northern Willamette Valley, PDX metro

    • AdamInAumsville says:

      Looks pretty decent for central Valley too. Look at those isobars!

    • chris says:

      Does not look to good for me in the Tacoma area. 😦

    • Brad says:

      Pretty broad low too. Is that over done?

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Yup…that looks MAJOR.

    • david says:

      I am sitting under 28.56 here in the south valley. Just had the front pass and leave gusts to 54. Waiting for the BIG one to get here after midnight! Isobars favor much more southerly than previously thought apparently. Get ready

    • Mike in Tigard says:

      looks to me on sat that the low is drifting slightly south east,looks like its aiming for south WA

    • Boydotwo221' says:

      David, I think your barometer may be off a little. All of the readings from Eugene north are around 29.25 (I’m 29.28 as is the Corvallis airport). Might need calibrating. A good one to check out on Mesowest is the Eugene airport.

  16. Brad says:

    Looks like the L jogged a little farther S. South of Forks looking more likely, imo.

  17. longbeachrob says:

    near 5 PM I got 0.33″ of rain in five minuets.
    barometer got down to 29.00 inches at 5:47 PM
    Over 2 inches of rain so far today.
    A few gust over 30 mph, but mostly in the upper 20s. I have trees around me that protect me from the wind.

    Ready for round 2! Hahaha

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      But what protects you from the trees!

    • longbeachrob says:

      distance, I hope. Also, the 0.33″ is way off. My weather software doesn’t upload data right to weather underground web site. I know this but today I am fighting both a pulled muscle in my back and a feaver of 100.4 degrees…

  18. snodaze says:

    “poisonous tail of the bent back occlusion”

    I’m aroused — And will go no further.

  19. Insanely torrential rain right now…

  20. *BoringOregon* says:

    First power flash of the night hope we don’t lose power :(.

  21. Travis says:

    Every time a storm is set to hit the Portland area it seems like most of the stations around the area are rarely in agreement. Sometimes, like in tonight’s storms case, the forecasts are completely different. The other forecasts seem to hardly even consider this a storm, calling for gusts to 40ish mph. Why is there such discrepancy??

    • vernonia1 says:

      Cuz Mark rocks his forecasts 🙂

    • Ben T says:

      It seems this way too when it comes to snow.

    • Kyle says:

      The real reason is they focus too much on weather model this and storm model that instead of LOCAL knowledge of patterns and we have the ability to communicate with storm spotters like Colorado Rain Hail Snow Co Oop site that actually does the whole nation despite it’s name.

      Ego boosting comments like vernonia1 that offers nothing to the discussion makes me doubt humanity’s survival and why I am not posting except in rare events like this to give periodic updates.

    • W7ENK says:

      Take your pills, Kyle.

  22. W7ENK says:

    Scott Sistek ‏@ScottSKOMO
    70 mile stretch of I-90 closed due to blizzard conditions and several crashes, including one fatal: http://bit.ly/U3qfD4

    7:12 PM – 16 Dec 12

  23. david says:

    Gust to 54here in Albany!

  24. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    Had a pretty strong gust just hit.
    I’ve been watching the N-S pressures both along the coast (KUIL,KAST,KONP) and along the valley (KOLM, KPDX, KEUG), and even though the pressures are still going down (especially in the valley), it doesn’t look like the gradients are getting bigger- if anything, they’re getting smaller. Are the winds really expected to get stronger tonight?

  25. Wendy-Silverlake, Wa says:

    My barometer is now going up. Any idea why?

  26. 7:08 PM Update

    IR/WV Loops
    The low appears to be due west of Ocean Shores/Hoquiam
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/wxloop.cgi?ir4km_enhanced+12
    http://sat.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/loopsat.php?wfo=pqr&area=west&type=wv&size=2
    Tracking due east

    Local gusts
    Aurora G 44

    Pressure Gradients
    PDX-EUG -5.5mb
    OLM-PDX -3.5mb
    OLM-EUG -9.0mb
    These will increase

    Power Outages
    http://www.portlandgeneral.com/safety_outages/outages/outage_updates/outage_map.aspx
    Around 1,500 without power. These will increase soon.

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