Get To Vista House! 100+ gusts likely today

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


41 Responses to Get To Vista House! 100+ gusts likely today

  1. says:

    I live on 160th and Halsey and have not seen wind this strong in a long time…. What is going on??

  2. JohnD says:

    We lived in E. County for a number of years when my
    kids were small and we went out to check on wind
    events many times. One rule of thumb–in addition to
    proper winter dress is to configure your CAR PARKING
    in a favorable position! I knew a number of folks
    who had door hinges ruined for obvious reasons!

  3. Model Rider says:

    18z has a few good storms coming in over next 10 days or so. Looking better for sure. Stuck in the muck over here in Redmond today. Foggy all day and haven’t gotten above 25 at my place all day.

  4. CorbettTez says:

    So does anyone know how long this particular wind event is going to last?

  5. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Pretty insane up here today. Hit 100+ mph around 1115-1145 this am then a lull. Last hour out with Matt Sloan and we had several gusts over 100 mph including another 107.

    Lots of unprepared and stupid people up here though.

    • Tamaiald says:

      Long time lurker. My kids and I were there for the real strong stuff about an hour ago. The little guys in the bright yellow coat – had to grip him to keep him from blowing away. But we were prepared and being careful…

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Hit 115 mph just about 25 min ago!

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Tyler, I’d like to know what the stupid, unprepared people are doing up there so that I don’t do what they’re doing if I ever go. Not dressing warm enough? Parking the wrong way? I do know the obvious “no umbrellas” rule!

      Didja get any video? 🙂

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Park your car with the front facing the wind, Lurkyloo.
      Wear shoes for the best stability control you have.
      Go with someone and utilize the increased base of support available. (hang onto each other)
      Don’t wear/take anything that isn’t strapped on/part of you.

      I was there today! Very hard to negotiate the 50ft from car to Vista house but I made it!. My suggestion is to keep moving, if you stop you’ll be overcome. Don’t approach from the south/east side. Observed two individuals blown off their feet.

      The wind sensor on Vista House was moving around in what appeared to be an incorrect manner, but it was still operating!

      If you haven’t done a trip there in this kind of wind, you don’t know what kind of a fun/scary ride you’re missing!

    • Couple tips:

      1) Park into the wind
      2) Have your gloves on before you leave the car
      3) If you don’t have to, don’t wear glasses
      4) Wear a full mask versus a hat/beanie as it will blow away!
      5) Don’t take a truck up there if you have a cover, or canopy 🙂
      6) DON’T walk with your kids in your arms…what happens when you go to fall??
      7) If you go without contacts, do that too…the wind has blown them out before!

    • Tamaiald says:

      I saw one gal huddle one of her kids across, but her son was still clinging to the stair railing. He looked about the same age as my boy, so I should have known he’d not want the help I offered! Kid made it off the stairs by himself. Impressed.

  6. Hal in Aims says:

    took a quick run over to Crown Point about an hour ago…….a bit gusty………would not want to be on the river today………noticed a couple guys at the top of the steps on the south side…..bloggers?…

    • WX NINJA says:

      Tyler, Matt and myself were up there today for awhile. Pretty windy indeed and amazed at how people believe they can walk around up there in a t-shirt and be just fine. They usually only last a few minutes and then head back to the car.

  7. Lurkyloo says:

    I hope someone is getting video up at Vista House — please?

  8. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    I just did some quick analysis as to why the winds are so strong today. The cold pool is definitely responsible. The air mass is much colder and denser down to 3000′ above the Gorge. Check out this observation.

    Augspurger, WA 2990′ elevation
    12:05 PM today 24 degrees
    12:05 PM yesterday 44 degrees
    Huge contrast in temperature. That thickening cold air is sinking driving the air with better momentum towards the surface and squeezing it increasing wind speeds.

  9. Rob - Southeast Portland says:


    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:


      Tyler Mode 104mph
      Matt Sloan got 107mph

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      I have only experienced maybe 60-65 mph during a thunderstorm back in Oct 1998 in Milwaukie. These dudes are lucky!

  10. Jim in Corbett says:

    If you go to Crown Point, park facing the wind or you’ll lose your car door. Duh!

  11. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    11 AM: TTD-DLS -10.3mb. It is likely nearing the peak for this event.

  12. Rob - Southeast Portland says:


    925mb cold pool strengthened the past 24-36 hours over the Columbia Basin and that coupled with the inversion and -10mb gradient undoubtedly has led to the Hurricane force gusts this morning.

    Mark just posted a pic in my FB group. Wind gusts snapped a sign off at the base and a tree is down over half the road near the Women’s Forum! May not be able to make it at all to Vista House. INTENSE!

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      80mph at Corbett is High Wind Warning criteria for the Gorge(75mph or stronger) I think they could issue a Warning or Wind Advisory east of I-205?… My peak gust is 46.6mph.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Unfortunately I’m working. I’d love to get up there and get slapped in the face!

  13. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Looks like the euro wants to kick up a big low in the gulf of AK in about a week. That could be a game changer.

  14. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Now we’re cooking!
    Vista House just gusted to 83mph on the sensor which equates to 95mph+ along the south facing stairs!

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      Maybe Tyler can hit that sensor with a lil WD 40 while he’s up there. That poor things gonna need it!

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Dense cold air on the east side? Must be the strengthening inversion. Looking at the visual sat image it looks like the whole Columbia basin is fogged in.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      And that’s with unusually low readings, who knows what it is in actual fact!
      I’m on my way. Be there or be square!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Bring it up to 120mph and I’m so over there! 😉

      ….Even if I can’t stand!

  15. Hal in Aims says:

    fairly breezy here………

  16. Garron near Washington Square says:

    I am glad not to see/taste the fog this morning! I AM REALLY GETTING EXCITED FOR 2/4! Showing a nice storm blowing in with 50 to 60+ mph winds and torrential rains….

    …and it’s only 14 days away.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      The real kicker would be for the super storm to speed up its arrival about 2 days, causing a massive west coast blackout just about super bowl time…EPIC!

  17. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    I was watching for this possibility last night with my update in my FB group, but I certainly am not going to lie and tell you I expected 80mph gusts at Corbett. 65-70mph sure, but not Hurricane force!

    TTD-DLS now up to -10.1mb. Very nice

  18. WEATHERDAN says:

    The fog is clearing out very early today in Salem. It’s still cloudy and 32 degrees but I can see thin spots in the cloud cover..

  19. I’ll have my hand held with me, see if I can beat my personal record of 96 mph.

  20. Stephan Miller says:

    Not sure I want to go to hurricane force winds on purpose but it sounds interesting. Is that why the fog is clearing out so early today?

  21. W7ENK says:

    I would check it out if I had today off, but…

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