115 mph in Gorge Today; Windiest in Oregon So Far This Winter

A wild day at the western end of the Columbia River Gorge today.  Here are the peak gusts so far:

MarkEastWind_GorgeandMetro

This is a pure “gap wind” event with the strongest wind confined to a very narrow area centered within a mile of the Columbia River and the Gorge from Troutdale to Multnomah Falls.  The 115 mph gust was recorded on a Maximum anemometer (quality equipment) by Matt Sloan sitting in a car at the base of the steps on Vista House.  The 83 mph gust at Vista House is not reliable (too weak) because the anemometer is swinging around on its mast.  It is bent at quite an angle and not working properly for that reason.  The 80 mph gust at Corbett Elementary School is the strongest gust there since I’ve been involved with it.  At least since 2009.  We’ve seen stronger wind gusts at the other locations on the map; mainly during the east wind storm of January 2009 (click on link to see speeds).  At that time the Corbett sensor gusted to 79 mph and we saw 50-60 mph gusts spread well into Troutdale, Gresham, and even East Portland.

The cold pool east of the Cascades really thickened the last 24 hours…did anyone notice Redmond went from a high of 58 yesterday to 27 today?  That’s quite a change!

MarkEastWind_ExplainWinterPattern_wRedmond

Looking ahead, the wind will die down quite a bit the next 48 hours as a weak system moves through our upper-level ridge.  But the ridge won’t go anywhere and will just bounce back Thursday-Sunday.  With little or no erosion of the cold pool eastside, the strong east wind will return through the 2nd half of the week.  This should keep persistent fog and low clouds away from most of the metro area for lots of sunshine through the weekend.

Models all show the ridge at least somewhat disappearing next week.  ECMWF is a little wetter than the ridgier looking GFS.  In a nod to the ECMWF I finally put rain in the 7 Day forecast for next Monday.  We’ll see if that really shows up.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

53 Responses to 115 mph in Gorge Today; Windiest in Oregon So Far This Winter

  1. geo says:

    Hmm. sprinkling here but almost feels like a little ice pellets.

  2. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    ….Strong East Winds Wednesday Night through Friday Morning….

    00z WRF did not back off tonight, instead it has ratcheted things up a notch now with the 4km Time-Height model showing 50kts down to 975mb and 35-40kts just off the surface. This is about 10kts stronger than what we just saw that gave the Vista House numerous gusts of 100-115mph, 80mph to Corbett, and 40mph+ east of I-205. 00z shows a 8-9mb gradient(maybe a touch stronger), which is fairly similar to the last event. We’ll have to keep an eye on how strong that gets and how sharp the inversion is with temps at 2000′ to 4000′ above the Gorge and Columbia Basin.

    This could warrant solid Wind Advisories being issued.

  3. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Gorge: a gust of 115 mph. The proof, provided to me by Portland TV meteorologist Mark Nelson, is shown below.

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/01/winds-hit-115-mph-in-columbia-gorge.html

  4. jakeinthevalley says:

    There were actual clouds in the sky this afternoon. I almost had to dig out my cloud names book to identify them…it’s been so long!

  5. Garron near Washington Square says:

    We always want unusual/extreme weather events around here, and, well ,we got one. Even though this is a long boring event, that seems like everyone else is scoring weather wise. I am enjoying the unusually dry sunny, boringness. Our La Nada winter will be one of my favs of all time!

    When we get our wintery weather here it is so special in part due to the fact we shut this town down! Could you imagine if we still had to got to work school, ect when we got feet of snow? Believe me, those Eastcoasters’ ain’t enjoying the snow like we do.

    I have a feeling that we’ll get the bookend to our winter, that for most has been sub par, but if not, I am glad to live here knowing that when we score, even marginally, most get a day or two off that most of the rest of the nation wouldn’t get to enjoy. So just be patient, and when winter flaunts her beauty, just enjoy the fact that it is special, and if you were in the midwest or east coast, you’d be going to school/work.

  6. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    12z GFS delays any potential pattern change beyond day 10, then reverts back to looking ridgy.

    12z GEM decimates the ridge, and what’s this? We actually see a deepening area of low pressure approaching from the southwest at day 9-10. Exciting.

    12z EURO breaks down the ridge with some form of northwest flow aloft. Jet doesn’t look strong, but cooler and moister with mountain snow would be the outcome.

  7. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Uhhh, I’m no expert, but a [Fire Weather Watch] issued during January? Is this a first?

    URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEDFORD OR
    255 PM PST TUE JAN 21 2014

    …STRONG OFFSHORE FLOW BRINGS DRY WINDY CONDITIONS TO THE RIDGES THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY…

    .THE COMBINATION OF AN UPPER RIDGE NORTH OF THE REGION AND A CLOSED LOW TO THE SOUTH WILL BRING STRONG OFFSHORE FLOW TO THE REGION LATER THIS WEEK. WITH THE EXCEPTIONALLY DRY CONDITIONS FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR… COMBINED WITH AN EXTREME LACK OF PRECIP SO FAR THIS YEAR…THIS VERY DRY AND STRONG OFFSHORE FLOW AT THE RIDGE LEVEL WILL BRING A VERY UNUSUAL FIRE DANGER FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. FOR A DETAILED VIEW OF THE POSSIBLE FIRE WEATHER DANGER AREA GO TO; GO.USA.GOV/ZYV5

    WESTERN KLAMATH NATIONAL FOREST-
    CENTRAL SISKIYOU COUNTY INCLUDING SHASTA VALLEY-SHASTA-
    TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST IN SISKIYOU COUNTY-
    SISKIYOU COUNTY FROM THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS EAST AND SOUTH TO MT SHASTA-SOUTH CENTRAL OREGON COAST-UMPQUA BASIN-UMPQUA NATIONAL FOREST-WESTERN ROGUE RIVER-
    SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST-WESTERN ROGUE BASIN INCLUDING THE ILLINOIS VALLEY-SISKIYOU MOUNTAINS-EASTERN ROGUE VALLEY-SOUTHERN OREGON CASCADES-
    255 PM PST TUE JAN 21 2014

    …FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING FOR COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES FOR FIRE WEATHER ZONES 280…281…282…284…615…616…617…619…620…621…622 AND 623…

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEDFORD HAS ISSUED A FIRE WEATHER WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING.

    AFFECTED AREA: FIRE WEATHER ZONES 281…622…282…284… 621… 615… 623… 616…617…280…620 AND 619 THE GREATEST
    DANGER WILL BE IN ELEVATIONS ABOVE 3500 FT.
    WIND…EAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH POSSIBLE.
    HUMIDITY…MAXIMUM RELATIVE HUMIDITIES OF 20 TO 30 PERCENT.
    IMPACTS…DRY AIR AND GUSTY WINDS WILL LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL FOR RAPID FIRE GROWTH.
    FOR A DETAILED VIEW OF THE HAZARD AREA…VISIT http://WWW.WRH.NOAA.GOV/WRH/WHV/?WFO=MFR

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

    A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE MAY OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      I don’t remember if a fire advisory was issued, but I can remember some wildfires sparking during an unusually dry Dec/Jan period due to trains casting sparks in some dry vegetation in NW Portland. I can’t remember the exact year, but I believe it was 5-7 years ago. It was one of my favorite winters’ though. Just cause it was sunny a lot.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Silliness. The ground is wet up in the Cascades. We just had a couple inches of rain and over a foot of snow above 3000′ 10 days ago. The wind hasn’t dried out the forest duff as in the summer months. That’s one bored NWS!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      I have never seen that. It may be a first..

    • DELXV says:

      Out of control fires can happen this time of year…Those who are responsible for planning slash burning fires probably appreciate this early weather advice for southern Oregon forest areas.

  8. WEATHERDAN says:

    41 and some high clouds in Salem at 2:00 PM. Low thi morning was 24. Coldest in about two weeks. Fog bank in West Salem but not in downtown. Tonight should still be cold even with some clouds. If this ridge is in place in another 3 weeks some places in NW Oregon may start to hit 60 degrees if it’s sunny.

  9. Marcustheweathernut says:

    Looks like a cool nw flow toward the end of the month… According to the 12z euro…

  10. umpire says:

    The nice thing about the winds, I presume – the coast was absolutely spectacular yesterday. Went to Pacific City (mmm, Pelican Pub Stout!), temps probably around 60, a bit of breeze, but sunny. Meanwhile, there was a small craft advisory, so the waves were pretty massive, and the wind blowing spray off the winds made for some great photo ops.

  11. JJ78259 says:

    Snow angels in New York City go east snow lovers! Again

  12. schmit44 says:

    1/20/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:71 at EW3367 Coos Bay( 98 ft) & GREEN MOUNTAIN(3064 ft)
    Low: 54 at RED MOUND(1753 ft) & FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:24 at N7GSU Condon(3340 ft)
    Low: 5 at NPOWDR (3212 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 48 degrees
    Lorella (58/10 ) (4160 ft )

  13. W7ENK says:

    Looks like the advertised pattern change to cooler/wetter weather is riding the 10-day wave, holding out there and not progressing for yet another day’s worth of runs…

    :yawn:

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The GFS is sure pushing it farther out. We’ll see what the ECMWF looks like.

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      EURO showed the pattern change. We need that pattern change to start moving forward like you said.

      We say this all the time… let’s see what the models show tomorrow…. 😉

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      Maybe we had a pole shift from the great polar vortex!!!! Soon we’ll be saying if you want rain head to the east coast…lol

    • David B. says:

      Truly pathetic. From wishing for snow and having it teasingly always be 10 days out, to wishing for anything, even boring old rain, and having it always be 10 days out.

  14. orwxguy says:

    What a wild and fun way to spend an afternoon. I’ve heard so much about the winds at Crown Point and from the “Keeley Chalmers steps”. Living in Corvallis, it is a bit of drive but I thought I would “check it out” today as I had the day off and Rod Hill’s forecast last night did call for some higher wind gusts today (maybe gusts close to 60). Little did anyone know that today would be one of those super windy days. The winds today were crazy… I’ve never experienced a 100 mile gust of wind until today. It might not be an “official NWS reading” but that doesn’t really matter to me… Amazing the power of moving air. I can now check this one off my “things to do” list for now.

  15. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Vista House sensor hit 85mph @7:57 PM peak of this event so far.
    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?sid=D6193&table=1&banner=off

  16. JERAT416 says:

    Sings ” Let’s go fly a kite”……..

  17. This cyclist goes for a little ride, but not on his bike! Crown Point, Oregon. January 20th, 2014

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Wow, hope that bicyclist was okay — looked like he was only a few feet away from being in the middle of the road.

      Thanks for the videos, Tyler!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Another example of survival here, Lurkyloo. This shows the attempt of go with the wind approach to solving the problem of being blown out of your comfort zone. I observed this fail today as well.
      Do not let yourself go with the wind once it starts you rolling!

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      You’d think Mark would be better prepared for a bike ride on a day like this…lol

  18. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Past few runs show quite a bit stronger winds Thursday – Saturday than we’re seeing now. Possibly an all out east wind storm east of I-205 and maybe a downslope event for PDX/VUO metro.

  19. Trying to record in 100+ mph winds is interesting for sure…

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Good example of how important it is to stay close to Vista House once you reach it.
      Stay very close to the house my friends.
      Peak around the corners before you venture around to the next side.
      Step away from it only as a last resort!

  20. […] have their wind gages and networks to report the cold wind coming down the Gorge. Unfortunately, the moisture is not likely for a paralyzing Winter event. I will miss the news kids standing at the mouth of the Gorge […]

  21. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Image of the cold pool eastside from Aqua satellite:

    http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?subset=USA1.2014020.aqua.1km

  22. Today was excellent…I was a bit surprised to wake up to completely clear skies and then a breezy day on top of it. Until the rain can get back, I will take a nice gap wind to knock that fog out of here!

  23. Tamaiald says:

    Two of my kids and I were one of the clips they used on the newscast just now. We’d been up there for about half an hour and were having a great time. We were trying to reach the stairs again, and my son and daughter were blown down. Nobody hurt, and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Made living in the wind tunnel worth it for a day.

  24. W7ENK says:

    That’s CRAY-CRAY!!

  25. What an insane day! Perfect combo of an inversion and gap wind. Also goes to show the gradient (-9.5) isn’t always the best way to gauge the winds up there. I always figured about 10 mph per mb of difference.

    Obviously an inversion can squeeze the wind more.

    Larch Mountain on the other side of the gorge in Washington was above the inversion at just 1,100′.

  26. BoringOregon says:

    First, Man that would have been a good birthday gift!!

%d bloggers like this: