Big surprise this morning, extremely strong east wind event in progress at the west end of the Columbia River Gorge. I just checked the Corbett wind sensor:
Wow! I haven’t seen an 80 on there in the last 10 years! For comparison, during the 2010 “Keely Chalmers Wind”, the peak speed was around 72 mph at this location. There was a 78 at that location during the 2008 windstorm, and I think it was 78 during the damaging east wind event in January 2009. Why so strong suddenly? Not sure exactly why, but the gradient is up to 9 millibars and we have a strong inversion. The wind must be getting squeezed through a very narrow channel in the atmosphere quite close to the river. The high wind area must be even more localized than normal. Vista House sensor was getting tilted (bent) in the past month, and I’m guessing it is just be flipping around half-broken. That might account for the unusually low readings compared to Corbett.
Anyway, get up there and enjoy the strongest east wind of the season! Just dress warm, wind chill is around 20 degrees.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen