Strongest Wind in 6 Months Today

4:45pm Thursday…

The peak gust at PDX was 44 mph today, easily the strongest gust we’ve seen since back on March 6th.  That day we saw a 47 mph gust.  As a result, most of our neighborhood trees saw a little bit of “natural pruning”.  Lots of debris floating around yards and roadways.  MarkWind_PeakGustPDX

Luckily wind gusts didn’t get much stronger than that and power outages remained at less than 10,000 customers through the strongest wind this morning and midday.  As of 4pm it looks like still around 2,000 PGE customers are still out even though the strongest wind has passed.  Notice how widespread the easterly wind was in the metro area today, even Aurora had a 39 mph gusts…very unusual.


Plenty of small fires have popped up, and we’re lucky that most have them have been put out promptly, although at this hour one is threatening homes west of White Salmon in the Gorge.

Expect the wind to diminish to just “normal breezy” east wind tonight through Monday as a thermal trough sits overhead.  That means temperatures will warm up but no more strong gusts away from the west end of the Gorge.

Still, with very dry air overhead and hot afternoons, the NWS has extended the Red Flag Warning all the way through Sunday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

63 Responses to Strongest Wind in 6 Months Today

  1. Hal in Aims says:

    pleased to see no lightning within a couple hundred miles or so……hopefully the trend continues…….

  2. Garron near Washington Square says:

    Arizona is gonna be lake front property! The blog on weatherunderground about the storms landfall was quite compelling. Then, as this heads for AZ, another potentially forming system heading in the same direction…

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      Plenty of space in the reservoirs there and if the track moves a bit east it will hit mostly uninhabited mountains above the reservoirs.

  3. pappoose in scappoose says:

    A Stray Albino Donkey wandering into a neighborhood near you perhaps?

    313 AM PDT MON SEP 15 2014


    • PurpleHaze says:

      If you read further down it will say that the chances appear to be diminishing and some areas may be skunked of rainfall sadly. Lift is NOT as strong as originally thought and mid to high level clouds will ooze in ahead of time.

      I have seen this scenario many times whenever mid to high level clouds show up that usually is the deal breaker.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Ya, somewhere between a CYA statement and a slight chance.

  4. schmit44 says:

    9/14/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:98 at CW5302 Roseburg( 410 ft)
    Low: 67 at RED MOUND(1753 ft) & MEARES Cape Mear(1421 ft)

    High:54 at Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & Port Orford(0 ft)
    Low: 25 at CW9027 Ukiah (3415 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 61 degrees
    CW5507 Camp Sher (88/27 ) (3020 ft )

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    This reply is for purple haze. When your power is out and you have a well then any available water you have comes from your pressure tank. Most wells have a 20 psi differential where the system fluctuates between 40 psi on and 60 psi off. The amount of water you have is determined by the pressure you have in the system and size of pressure tank at the time of an outage. Most tanks are 81, 86, and 119 gallon. A 81 will hold about 22 gallons, an 86 will hold about 26 gallons of water and a 119 gallon will hold about 35 gallons at 60 psi. So if your fortunate enough that you lost power at the upper end of your pressure range you are in luck! If my power is out first thing I do is check the pressure gauge. Ration water till it’s gone. When none is left go to the well and start pumping water with my emergency handpump. These hand pumps are the same you’ll see up the Clackamas River at the campgrounds. Our company has been servicing and installing them for the forest service for years. When customers were requesting them for private wells I figured out how to set them up by trying it out with my own well. Now I’ve got water no matter what. If it interests you check out our website @

  6. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Terra 500m True Color 2014/257 (09/14)

  7. PurpleHaze says:

    Hi. Does anybody know of any good forums that talk deep about climate that doesn’t censor people just because they go against the group’s majority?

    Western Weather had a small but decent climate subsection but since their transfer to The Weather Forums it is more dead then a grave yard!! Western Weather has gone back to it’s arguing mode again too even under it’s new name and the site admin just brushes people off who wants real changes.

    Anyways I need a good forum to read that is somewhat active. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

  8. Jason Hougak says:

    The visible satellite showed the plume strongly in the animation earlier in the morning. It showed a strong plume drifting West. The Willamette Valley was clearly visible by the smoke settling out in the evening and morning hours. Later the plume just turns into a large mass with no singular plume.

  9. Chris s says:

    It’s getting quite smoky down here in Salem, I have to assume it’s from the Estacada fire?? Anyone know of any other fires in the area??

  10. Jason Hougak says:

    I’m at 1300′ between Estacada, Eagle Creek, and Sandy in the foothills above Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery and a steady south to southwest wind has started blowing. The air is heavy with smoke and some ash but nothing still hot- thank God. Fire would have to burn across Squaw Mtn. Rd. and across Eagle Creek to impact us up here in George. I am watering things good around the house for precaution measures.

    • Prairiedog says:

      I’m just off Springwater Rd by Fischers Mill. Light ash falling on and off all day, Cars with a decent covering. All from the Lazy Bend CG fire. Some 200 acres involved. Cause not determined yet. Most likely human caused.

  11. cgavic says:

    Upper east wind has now pushed heavy smoke from three lynx fire over sandy. Residents on strawbridge parkway in sandy woke up to clear skies, now darkened with smoke. You can actually see smoke moving. That’s scary. I grew up in Estacada and worked for the u.s. forest service on the brush disposal unit and tanker duty.

  12. Jason Hougak says:

    Went hiking up Eagle Creek out here in Estacada, the much lesser known one. Saw a fire burning to the south, looked to be on the breaks of the Clackamas. Anybody have a report?

  13. Jason Hougak says:

    Shaping up to be an East Wind Winter, I’ll be the first to say it but we are due for an ice storm. Last one was short lived in 09′ when it was sandwiched between snowstorms… totally awesome! My brother made some neat yard art at my folks place.

    • PurpleHaze says:

      Lost power for 24 hours and had to go to the Oregon Gardens because our toilets wouldn’t work due to running on an electric pump. When the power goes out we get 3 flushes before it backs up.

    • vernonia1 says:

      sure was hazy here this afternoon. I was beginning to worry til I got home & found out it was Estacada. Lived there for 3 yrs…loved it back then.

  14. schmit44 says:

    9/13/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:98 at CW6811 Grants Pa( 947 ft) & MERLIN SEED ORCH(1144 ft) & PROVOLT SEED ORC(1180 ft)
    Low: 68 at Troutdale (I-84(30 ft)

    High:58 at Port Orford(0 ft)
    Low: 23 at Horse Ridge (US (4160 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 57 degrees
    LaPine (US 97 MP (86/29 ) (4600 ft )
    CHRISTMAS VALLEY (86/29) (4360 ft)
    CABIN LAKE (85/28) (4560 ft)

  15. Tyler Mode says:

    Today was the driest day I’ve had in a long time. The humidity bottomed out near 10% at times. Even here at 8:40 PM, the humidity is just 30%. Just a drift of easterly wind.

    • PurpleHaze says:

      My weather station must be messed up or it’s because of being under all the oak trees as it never went below 21% while Salem recorded 12% at the airport.

    • David B. says:

      It’s surprisingly dry and warm up my way today, particularly the dry part. It’s hard to believe I’m on an island surrounded by cold salt water.

  16. Tyler Mode says:

    Didn’t see any northern lights here, but at least it got chilly last night!

    44 here in BG.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      I was at work last night, but I kept checking as well. I told quite a few folks to go up to Sherrard Point a top Larch Mountain Oregon for a great view. I am sure that they weren’t disappointed, regardless of if they saw the northern lights. I wish I had a day off before the weather changes, as it has been so clear these last several days/nights. The views from 4,000 feet must be spectacular! I can’t say enough about this spot for folks that haven’t been up there, if you have the chance you should take it!
      A very reasonable drive to the Corbett exit off I-84, take a right at the stop sign, then left a few yards after the freeway off ramp. After you get to the top of the hill, take another left. Then look for signs for Larch Mountain ( a right hand fork in the road about 4 miles later) I thinks it is the second right hand fork… Drive on Larch Mtn. trail/road till you hit the parking lot. (about 10 miles) Then bring a flashlight and a blanket (if at night) and a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, and a camera! I call it God’s living room. There is a 1/4 mile trail to hike to the top, pace yourself cause you are at elevation, but I can’t think of a more spectacular view in the Portland metro area!

    • Paul in Felida says:

      Does anybody know when the Winter Weather Forecast Meeting at OMSI is, this year?

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Saturday October 25th at 10:00 AM. Peace.

  17. schmit44 says:

    9/12/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:98 at DW5789 Eagle Poi(1463 ft) & Medford Viaduct(1360 ft) & EW4806 Grants Pa(942 ft)
    Low: 69 at BUCKHORN SPRINGS(2780 ft)

    High:53 at CW7477 Lostine(7002 ft)
    Low: 16 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 64 degrees
    Horse Ridge (US (81/17 ) (4160 ft )
    FOSTER FLAT (83/21) (5000 ft)
    CABIN LAKE (86/25) (4560 ft)
    CHRISTMAS VALLEY (86/26) (4360 ft)
    CW1403 Paulina (84/24) (3688 ft)
    NORTH FORK JOHN (92/33) (1975 ft)
    LaPine (US 97 MP (86/27) (4600 ft)
    KLAMATH NWR (85/26) (4531 ft)
    DW9630 La Pine (84/25) (4256 ft)
    CW9027 Ukiah (79/20) (3415 ft)

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

    Space Weather Message Code: WARK07
    Serial Number: 43
    Issue Time: 2014 Sep 12 2307 UTC

    WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater expected
    Valid From: 2014 Sep 12 2306 UTC
    Valid To: 2014 Sep 13 0700 UTC
    Warning Condition: Persistence
    NOAA Scale: G3 or greater – Strong to Extreme
    Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
    Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
    Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
    Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
    Radio – HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
    Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.

  19. High Desert Mat says:

    Shows what offshore flow does for the coast. At 3:00, Seaside is 87, while just a few miles south, Cannon Beach is 67.

  20. WEATHERDAN says:

    75 and sunny with light North winds at 11:45 AM. Got down to 50 this morning. Last time Salem was colder than tan the upper 40,s was 43 on June 6th. Maybe a few light showers to wet the dust next Wednesday or Thursday. Perhaps .10 of precip then a return to sunny and warm weather. However this weekend might be it for the 90,s. What a great Summer it has been. One for the record books. With any luck next Summer will be just as nice. Go Ducks. Peace.

  21. oldwxwatcher says:

    The unusually strong east winds yesterday reminded me of a situation that occurred in the early 1960s at about the same time in September. The high pressure area was a bit colder and more expansive that time. Denver received a few inches of snow. The odd thing was that the wind blew very strongly here all day and then went totally calm right after sunset.

    As I went to school the next morning I was surprised to see frost on some surfaces. I’d never seen frost in September before. I believe the official low for Portland that day was in the upper 30s but we all know that many parts of the city are often colder than where the official reading is taken. Also, as Mark has said before it is possible for the ground to be a few degrees colder than the air just a few feet above it. Anyway, it was a surprise to see frost so early.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      Thanks Oldwxwatcher, I always enjoy hearing about unique weather events like those. I love to relive old weather stuff and share perspectives on past events to hear what other people went through during those events.
      This sure looks like the start of winter with a huge “arctic” (for this time of year) front draped over the middle of the nation. Would be interesting to see what this would’ve felt like if it occurred just two months from now…

      Question? I just accept it as fact, yet I don’t fully understand the concept of the east winds. Why do they surface during the day sometimes, but go calm or die off a bit at night?

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Garron, I believe it has to do with daytime heating in the lowest of the atmosphere creating different pressure. But the night time calm of the winds isn’t always the case,hence, two nights back. Lots of variables.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      Thanks Matt, I know sometimes a night the winds continue with elevation while dying off down at sea level. Was just curios if it was a thermal dynamics question, or if was a more complex like atmospheric phenomena.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      I think its more thermal dynamics garron.

  22. Taylor says:

    I hope we will have a wet fall this year, but I’m nervous that it’s going to be drier than normal and won’t feel like fall at all this year.

  23. W7ENK says:

    East winds seemed to kick back up sometime overnight. I noticed them when the tree branches tapping and scraping the roofline over my bedroom woke me up around 4am. I guess I should get up there and cut those back, they’re starting to reach up awfully close to my anemometer…

    Surprisingly warm ride in to Downtown this morning, though there were a few really chilly spots mixed in. It was interesting to ride through them.

  24. mike sahm says:

    why is baker co excluded from weather alert,why freezing level is 15ooo feet& we are 25,you need to add low temp to your forcast,lost all of my garden,and move my animals in when it is that coldma

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      That’s a really good question Mike. The NWS only had the Grande Ronde Valley in the freeze warning even though we knew it would get into the 20s in the Baker Valley this morning. I just checked the average first date for a frost in Baker City IS in mid-September, so I suppose it was time.

  25. schmit44 says:

    9/11/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:99 at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft)
    Low: 69 at RED MOUND(1753 ft)

    High:45 at MT. HOWARD(7910 ft)
    Low: 23 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft ) & CW9027 Ukiah (3415 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 57 degrees
    ILLINOIS VALLEY (99/42 ) (1389 ft )

  26. So it turns out that The Dalles actually had marginally strong east wind gusts on May 4, 2013 than it did today. That was a warmer day than today, and with lower barometric pressure. I’m pretty sure that May 2013 had more to do with thermal troughing west side, than with cold air diving down to the east.

  27. David B. says:

    Don’t forget to keep an eye on the sky tonight and tomorrow night. There’s been a X class solar flare, so there’s a chance the aurora borealis might be visible.

  28. Shane in Vancouver says:

    Finally we had some ‘weather’. Im getting burnt out with all the sun and breeze-less very warm air.. Today was def. welcome and a nice distraction

  29. IceCold says:

    Mark, you told me this once before but I cannot remember your answer……why is it that we only see the strong east winds in the late fall (although early this year) and winter time? Why do we not see them from March to September? I live out in Troutdale and have always wondered why the strongest winds are contained to mainly December through February. Thanks for your help.

    • Tyler Mode says:

      I’ll answer for Mark…he can agree or disagree:

      In winter, we typically have cooler/colder air east of the mountains, as well as low pressure approaching from the west.

      Colder air is typically associated with high pressure. High pressure always flows toward low pressure, hence we have more east wind in the fall in winter.

      In the summer, it’s just the opposite. There is typically high pressure out in the Pacific or nearby. The east side warms more quickly because there are no large bodies of water. As this warm air rises, it creates slightly lower pressure, cooler air rushes in to take it’s place…and we get persistent onshore or westerly flow through the gorge.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      And so we now have a similar pattern, right? Heat low to the southwest, colder (dense) high pressure to the east. Whoosh!!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      And cold air is dense and heavy thus it “pushes down and squeezes through the lowest part of the land”, via the gorge and other low gaps in the mountains, to find the lowest elevation as it sinks. Make sense? The high pressure to the east and the lows coming off the Pacific enhance it more. I’m really tired and am trying to think straight. Goodnight all

    • IceCold says:

      Hey, thanks guys. It makes sense. I appreciate your meteorological expertise.

      By the way Tyler, those pictures you posted a few days back were amazing. Great photos.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Wow…no need for me to chime in, the rest of you nailed it.

  30. oldwxwatcher says:

    Gusts hit 28 mph here in E, Portland. Temperature was falling fairly rapidly last night until east winds kicked in around midnight. Got down to 60.1 and then rose a few degrees after the winds started.

  31. mark says:

    Is this the weather pattern we may have this Fall? More than usual east wind events ?

  32. PurpleHaze says:

    Here in the foothills the winds were not as strong as last Spring (2013) in early April where the power clicked on/off a few times including one time a full half hour around 4pm.

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