Strongest Gorge Wind This Season On The Way

East wind is finally really starting to ramp up now in the Columbia River Gorge.  It’s been relatively light the past day or so.  But now temperatures are starting to warm up overhead, while the cold pool east of the Cascades at the lower elevations isn’t going anywhere through early next week.  Thus a classic setup for a strong “gap” wind event.  That means air moves through a gap in topography.  In this case the Columbia River Gorge.

The highlights:

  • East wind is here until further notice at the west end of the Gorge, at least through early next week.
  • Strongest wind the next 5 days will probably be late tomorrow through midday Sunday
  • Peak gusts 35-45 mph in the eastern Portland/Vancouver metro area east of I-205
  • Close to the mouth of the Gorge gusts to 50 mph are likely (Camas, Troutdale, N. Gresham)
  • Gusts 70-75 mph in Corbett and Cape Horn areas.
  • Saturday looks like an excellent day to experience the high winds at Vista House!  Although Friday and Sunday will work too.
  • Gusts at the sensor there should be in the 75-85 mph range.  That means 95+ on the “Keely Chalmers Memorial Railing”

–  00z WRF-GFS is slightly stronger showing a DLS-PDX gradient around 8-9 millibars from Friday morning through Saturday.  Which means it could easily be 10 or 11 mb (or it might just be 8).  It relaxes the gradient Sunday, although that rarely happens.  Even mesoscale models try to get rid of the cold pool eastside too quickly.  Especially considering there is no weather system nearby to cause that to happen.  Note the 36 hour pressure map:


Classic thick dome of cold air extending all the way up to 4,000′ into Central Oregon.  At the same time 850mb temps rise dramatically westside.


They end up around +11 west of the Cascades and probably +2 eastside.  That’s quite a difference.  When you get such warm air overhead westside, it really squeezes the easterly windflow into a narrow channel down below = very windy!

And finally, the 00z WRF cross-section.  Time goes from right to left:

Notice the 45 kt. wind the next 48 hours over Troutdale.  Impressive, a typical strong wintertime event.  It never shows above 50kts (that I’ve seen)  We probably see this 5 times a winter, like we see 95-110 mph wind on those steps several times each winter; often when no one is there (in the middle of the night).

Tomorrow and Saturday are definitely worthy of your time out there if you have the day off and have never experienced the east wind.

A side note; the Corbett wind sensor that has operated flawlessly for 3 years died THIS MORNING.  Of course that couldn’t have happened in June, July, August, or September… so if Vista House sensor dies, there won’t be any strong wind reports from that part of the Gorge available online.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen





36 Responses to Strongest Gorge Wind This Season On The Way

  1. Heatblizzard says:

    Low of 17F here in Silverton with hoar frost on the fields. Down to 21F now and holding steady and the stars are absolutely beautiful with the clean air.

    Since mid October the neighbors have been burning every chance they get making the skies filthy and giving us headaches. Now that I think about it there hasn’t been any burning today! No wonder my head isn’t hurting very much!

    I hope this blocking causes it to be sunny like this thru Thanksgiving especially with these impressive temp drops.
    Hopefully some negative departures will pop out of this in the usual UHI spots.

  2. WEATHERDAN says:

    With two exceptions we have been in a real dry spell since April of 2012. Except for October 12th-December 26th of 2012 and September of 2013 we have had under 20 inches of rain during that timespan. Not real sure of the exact figures but in general it has been abnormally dry. The next two weeks look dry but seasonably cool. Have a good weekend one and all. Peace.

    • Heatblizzard says:

      If you want more information on how dry things actually are *Even you will be shocked* I found a blog that talks about West Coast weather including this drought that is creeping up into the PNW little by little. The blog is called Weather West. It gives the big picture of the west coast

      There is also a secondary blog called Northern California weather that also seems fascinating especially since all it takes is a few good storms to get the flood gates open in Northern California. If only they could get the GOA systems to come down to clear out the creeping drought!

      From what I’ve notice when reading the blog
      There has been some warm anomalies over the NE Pacific that nobody on here seems to either understand or willing to admit it. I am not sure which is the case.

      The *drought* has actually extended into Southern Oregon and creeping northward all the time but the few storms we do get has helped kept it at check somewhat.

      The people on here seemed to be either ignorant or being controlled what to say so they won’t chime in until there is threats of water shortages all over the place then panic making as big of a deal as possible.

      That’s likely when all those executive orders will take effect which you have to surrender you’re rights to the Government but don’t worry they’ll take good care of you. Just don’t say anything stupid and you’ll get you’re bi-weekly water rations like a good sla…..I mean voluntary citizen.

  3. Marcustheweathernut says:

    12z euro May be onto something???!!!:)

  4. paulbeugene says:

    19F at EUG this morning…new record low. Now I can relax and just sit back and enjoy the weather, wait for the show to begin in 15 days

    • paulbeugene says:

      Mark: why am I on moderation mode? Jealous of my rubbing it in about our record low?

      • Mark Nelsen says:

        You must have used a different computer or in a different location. Any change of: name, IP address, or email will put you on moderation. Software thinks you are a new person. Once you use that computer/location once and it’s approved, you should be good to go in the future.

  5. W7ENK says:

    26.4F yesterday

    31.1 this morning. I never lost the East winds overnight. It’s weird that PDX dropped so low, considering they’re closer to and more in direct line with the Gorge. Not sure what happened there.

    I’m hoping to make it up to the Vista House at some point tomorrow.

    35 degrees with a 100 mph wind gives a wind chill factor of 14F

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Actually if you look at a map notice how PDX is a little out of the east wind zone as it comes out of the Gorge. If you imagine the wind moving from ENE to WSW down the Gorge, it spreads out south of the Columbia River towards Happy Valley and Clackamas. That also explains why I almost never get emails from people in Camas and East Vancouver claiming real high windspeeds.

    • WWM says:

      so in the case of Camas/vanc…. if… there was a storm coming more from the northwest (as opposed to SE) would the air flowing through the Gorge and towards the lower pressure actually hit areas more north out of the gorge like Camas/Vanc. area? (verses Happy Valley/Clackamas with a storm from SE)

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      That must have been a sudden drop in temps that brought Portland down to 24… The hourly observations around that time were:

      4:53 – 30
      5:53 – 31
      6:53 – 29
      7:53 – 28
      8:53 – 32
      9:53 – 35

  6. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    Hit 18F this morning in NP.

  7. paulbeugene says:

    Long period of relatively dry fake cold or fake cool weather for next two weeks. Not good for ski areas. Positive anomalies building over Alaska towards end of week two suggests risk for colder weather week three. Undercutting weak systems will help to maintain offshore flow pattern.

  8. dharmabum says:

    30.4 low this morning vs. 21 degrees on Thurs. morning here in Barton. Nice gentle east breeze all night. We are going over to Troutdale for the Larch Mountain Country Artisan’s show at Glenn Otto Community Park (hope it’s inside!). A good excuse to continue up to the Vista House for the weather fun!

  9. ItNeverRainsInOregon says:

    For those of us late to the party, can someone explain the inside joke behind the “Keely Chalmers Memorial Railing”? A memorial anything implies someone has died, and from what I can tell, Keely is still with us, right? Did she get blown over the railing? Is there file footage?

  10. oldwxwatcher says:

    Here in east Portland a low this morning of 30.4° compared with 22.7° yesterday morning. East wind mixing effect doing its thing.

  11. 18.5 degrees in BG. It was 18.4 on January 21st this year.

    • Ellen Wallace says:

      25.6 yesterday AM and 22.4 this AM up here east of Kelso. Very light breeze in the afternoon but nothing last night and not a hint of anything this AM. Some parts of the roads in the shade didn’t thaw at all yesterday…expect the same today.

  12. MasterNate says:

    Morning temps around the region.

  13. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    ****East Wind Watch****

    Crown Point just hit 60mph
    (Official Forecast is 80-100mph)

    As of 4 AM
    TTD-DLS -7.7mb
    OTH-GEG -11.6mb

    Minimum Temps as of 4 AM
    Portland 25
    Brush Prairie 19
    Battle Ground 20
    Hillsboro 22
    Vancouver 21
    Aurora 24
    Salem 26
    Scappoose 23
    Eugene 21
    Corvallis 21
    Forest Grove 22
    Silverton 19
    Colton 19

    • Dave_in_Troutdale says:

      Damn, I had to put my flannel on for the first time this fall/winter, and the temps are only getting down into the upper 50’s here in Okinawa. I’m going to die when I come home for 2 weeks around XMAS.

    • AdamInAumsville says:

      Currently sitting at 19.8. One mile to my south it is 24.7! Amazing temperature disparity.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The Crown Pt. sensor has never gone above 89, and this pattern probably won’t do that either.

  14. schmit44 says:

    Denali National Park is 55 degrees warmer tonight than last night

    Last night: -37
    Tonight: +18

  15. schmit44 says:

    11/21/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:64 at Gold Beach (US 1( 60 ft)
    Low: 46 at BROOKINGS(79 ft)

    High:23 at HARL BUTTE(6071 ft) & ANEROID LAKE #2(7300 ft)
    Low: -3 at ANEROID LAKE #2(7300ft)

    Largest Diurnal Change: 35 degrees
    NORTH FORK JOHN (47/12 ) (1975 ft )
    COLGATE (37/2) (3231 ft)

  16. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    For what it’s worth, both tonight’s 00z GEM/EURO shows a very similar 500mb pattern evolution after day 8 and reveal pretty good potential for the ridge to bulge way north into Alaska. Western Canada would need to be colder, but let’s get the ridge retrograding and oriented correctly and then worry about other specifics. The cold will build south from the pole if that pattern indeed develops.

  17. BoringOregon says:

    Not my video but AMAZING!!—-

  18. PDX Weather Nut says:

    Usually the cold air would be forced westward through the Gorge?

  19. Marcustheweathernut says:


  20. Blowmedown says:


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