A Rough Day In The Gorge: 122 mph!

Today was the windiest day so far this winter at the west end of the Columbia River Gorge.  Here are the numbers:


And the eastern metro and western gorge locations:


Looks to me that the Troutdale speed is the highest since 2009, and Biddle Butte is the highest since that sensor has been online.  That’s maybe 3 years there.

The pressure gradient between The Dalles and Portland got up to around 11 millibars, a huge drop in pressure from eastside to westside allowed the air to accelerate down the west end of the Gorge and really nail Vista House.  The 122 mph gust showed up on Matt Sloan’s Maximum anemometer.   You’ll notice it’s pegged at the top too, the scale doesn’t go any higher.


In fact I think that’s the same model I purchased with my hard-earned money around 1985 in high school.  $350 was a lot of money back then!

Here are the real “damage” videos today, courtesy YouTube, Tyler Mode and Tim McGarry.

Hello car door repair!

Tourists meet east wind!

On this one you’ll notice a woman get knocked into the road (face down) at :30 or so.  Ouch, that’s got to hurt!

Our photographer out there today saw 3 car doors break, and one tonneau cover get ripped off by the wind.  That’s after Brian MacMillan saw a truck canopy fly off into the wind.  There must be a lot of junk in the trees down below each spring!

The pressure gradient will gradually decrease this weekend, allowing more reasonable windspeeds to return in the Gorge.  In fact by Sunday the wind should be just breezy to light out there.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

131 Responses to A Rough Day In The Gorge: 122 mph!

  1. Mark – we need a new blog post about the upcoming cold pattern on the models!

    And it would be a real hoot if this year, most of the winter action is concentrated in February and March.

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    We don’t need to be Febru-weary, remember it’s one of the winter months too! We are due for a cold snowy one I might add!

  3. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Just 3 1/2 hours until 00z GFS!
    4 hours until 00z GEM!
    5 hours 54 minutes until 00z EURO!

    You can’t tell me you’re not the slightest bit intrigued or perhaps anxious to see these runs. Maybe a tad?

    • Model Rider says:

      I am alot I have to admit. Its sleeting right now with a little bit of snow in it in Redmond right now. That Unisys model that someone posted a little while ago is very interesting. It does look like the pv shifts just to our north. What do u think of that model Rob?

    • Model Rider says:

      The one Tomas posted.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      Well, it was based on 12z GFS which was a major outlier…. so not much to be honest. Unless 00z suite of runs look similar.

  4. Oregon Foto says:

    I would take a decent morning frost at this point 😦

  5. Marcustheweathernut says:

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      18z GFS Ensembles. Through day 9-10 A bit better. The Mean down to -7c. Several members -10c or colder and less warmer members. Beyond day 10 the operational is an outlier, but we’re not focusing beyond day 10 for once.

  6. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    18z GFS, because I can
    Discuss if you must

    At least the 500mb pattern gets its act together sooner. Ridge/block merger near day 6-7. Better than seeing it at day 10-12. It may be the 18z, but I definitely like the 500mb pattern progression developing it looks more “believable” if you will. AND you will! or else… This doesn’t appear to be some fantasy land pattern evolution. THE GOODIES ARRIVE BEFORE DAY 10. YES. BEFORE. PARTY TIME!

    30 minutes until 18z ensembles are out on that goofy German site…. Will it dash all hopes? Will it be in good agreement with the operational? or… or…. OH MAN. I almost appeared to be excited or in suspense.

    • Model Rider says:

      Post it when it comes out will ya Rob? We all want to see the ensembles. I just never save the site. Grrr

  7. BoringOregon says:

    The power went out here for two hrs this morning, do to a tree falling on the power lines. Over 12,000 people with out power!

  8. Tomas W. says:

    Bingo !……..”arctic outbreak?”


  9. Sapo says:

    Cold and kind of snowy 18z GFS, but slightly delays the onset of cold temperatures to about February 4th, then brings some precip on the 5th, then dry for the 6th.

  10. Model Rider says:

    Mark, will u do a new post with the euro ensembles please? Thanks, the blog crew and inquiring minds want to know.

  11. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    Pretty decent suite of 12z operational runs eh?… Ensembles improved too. Not biting yet, not even excited, but I am somewhat optimistic. I am really interested on how the EURO Ensembles will look. Hopefully we build from here with 00z transpiring roughly the same and start a new, colder trend.

    It’s pretty freaking cold outside I’ll tell you that much! 36.5, cloudy, and howling east wind 35-40mph. It is likely 95-105mph(if not stronger) at Crown Point, but I have no idea the sensor is down as is Corbett’s (Power outage)

  12. WEATHERDAN says:

    Gfs meteogram has PDX thickness at 504 about 8 days out with snow. It has been consistently getting closer for the past week. It’s been getting colder too. Almost makes me wonder if it iss going to happen. Peace.

  13. Sapo says:

    Does anyone know what time the 12z ECMWF comes out?

  14. Hal in Aims says:

    power went out a little over an hour ago…..on generator back-up ….Corbett Schools are going to try and dismiss at 1030…….no power…..

  15. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    12Z GFS operational certainly delivers the goods (snow & cold) as early as hour 216, within 10 days now. The setup looks even better after that, with a snowstorm at hour 324. If only…

    • Model Rider says:

      Ensemble links please?

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      Looking better, There are lots of cold members, not necessarily as cold as the operational (although it wasn’t the coldest), but still cold with some moisture around. The time frame from the 3rd through the 9th looks interesting.

      On to the EURO – I would be interested to see the 12z EURO ensemble chart this afternoon.

    • Sapo says:

      Yeah, what a 12z LOVE IT.

    • Sapo says:

      Benjamin, do you have a link to the EURO ensemble chart? If you do, could you post it?

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      No, sorry, I really wish I did. I’m also hoping Mark is able to post those. It would be interesting to see how they are looking. The 12z EURO was a colder run 😉

  16. Ron Goodwin says:

    As a volunteer at the Multnomah Falls Visitor Center and on site since 1989, it is interesting the comments from visitors from out of state on the wind at Vista House. One recent fellow who just moved here from LA parked with his car facing the wrong way. When he tried to close the door, the arm rest pulled off. His wife tried to say to stay in the car. When I mentioned that locals park facing the wind, he said “how do you get out then?” Someone is trying to tell you to stay in the car and his wife agreed. We seem to be getting a lot of new people our of California in the last year.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Hahaah! I had that happen too. I hate it when that happens.
      But I had the entire inside panel try and come off. Fortunately, just the bottom popped off and I just snapped it back on. Must get a grip on the door if parking the wrong way! (risky business)

  17. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    If anything the past 24-36 hours of operational runs and especially ensembles have revealed that we have had an increasing spread among ensemble members and thus greater uncertainty beyond day 7-8. It may sound redundant, but this could go either way. It could turn cold/arctic and possibly snowy, it could remain ridgy, or maybe the jet breaks through with ample moisture. I would unfortunately lean towards #2 or something like that with the ridge 130-140 W, but not in the sweet spot, or other problems the block not configured favorably, lack of southeast US ridge, etc. Hopefully 12z runs later today(it’s Monday now) turn things around, less ensemble spread, colder members, and better operational runs. I don’t have much confidence, but I won’t be foolish to discount the possibility either.

    • David B. says:

      Emotionally, I’ve given up on this winter and resigned to it being mostly a dud. I say “mostly” because December’s cold snap was truly epic for some (i.e. the southern Willamette Valley).

      That’s emotional, not scientific, of course. And while I’ll be surprised if the goods come in February, it will be a pleasant surprise.

  18. schmit44 says:

    1/26/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:69 at EW3367 Coos Bay( 98 ft) & RED MOUND(1753 ft) & EW3335 Jacksonvi(1390 ft)
    Low: 55 at SIGNAL TREE(3294 ft)

    High:19 at NPOWDR(3212 ft)
    Low: 4 at RED BUTTE (4460 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 52 degrees
    Horse Ridge (US (60/8 ) (4160 ft )

  19. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    00z GFS operational…. Not terrific, but it could have been worse. It’s chilly through day 10, but nothing arctic or snow. Snow in the mountain above 2000′ or so.

    00z GFS Ensembles. The mean hovering around -5c isn’t awful. At least mountain snow(if there is moisture). Beyond day 7 there is a considerable spread very high uncertainty with this pattern change(if we see one)

    Now onto 00z EURO/Ensembles, and 12z tomorrow. Let’s see how things shake out.

    • BoringOregon says:

      If I remember, did we have snow in April a couple of yrs ago!?!?

    • Model Rider says:

      I’m having trouble with euro 500mb pattern loop. But the 850mb chart updated. Hmmmm, anyone else have that problem? I’m sure it’ll update soon tho.

  20. ashley watson says:

    you know our weather is lame when northern florida has a winterstorm watch. wish i was there.

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    Hey Mark got any predictions besides those yo-yo computer models.

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