9pm…Storm Wrapup

October 25, 2014

It ended up being a decent windstorm for us.  Not a really big storm, but not just a windy day either.

  • 76,000 PGE customers out at the height of the storm.
  • Peak gust 49 mph at PDX, 51 mph at Salem
  • This was the strongest October windstorm in my career here in Portland (23 years)
  • My forecast windspeeds at 10pm last night were a little high.  I said 45-60 mph gusts and most spots were close to 45.  That said, at the time there were no watches/warnings/advisories up for wind and none showed up until 3am, so I don’t feel too bad.

Here are the peak gusts…


A 60 mph gust didn’t make it onto the map in the SW hills of Portland and a 47 mph gust in the Felida area north of Vancouver.  There was a 70 mph gust reported down at sea level at the Port of Vancouver.  That doesn’t appear to reflect reality, so I’m calling cow dung on that one.  Especially with Vancouver Airport 43 mph just a mile or two away!

Spread out over the entire area, this storm was stronger than anything we saw last winter.  Yes I know in mid February there were gusts over 50 mph in a swath right through the middle of Portland, but most other locations had stronger wind today. Couple that with leaves on the trees and that’s probably how we got so many more lines down.

The low track and intensity was pretty good, although models were a bit too high on the central pressure, it ended up close to 980 millibars instead of the 985-990 models forecast.  Wind speeds were slightly too strong on the wind gust graphics from the WRF-GFS and ECMWF, although close enough!  Pressure gradients were forecast well (16.9mb EUG-OLM), although peak wind generally showed up well before the peak gradient from Eugene to Olympia.  The EUG-PDX gradient peaked at 9.9mb.

Hope you all had fun tracking/following it!  And of course I hope that you all get power back on soon too.  It’s going to take awhile…

What are YOUR thoughts on the storm?  Go ahead, my feelings aren’t easily hurt.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

2pm Wind Gusts: Salem Gusts over 50 mph

October 25, 2014

Salem and Aurora have both gone above 50 mph now, although Aurora had that gust way back with the initial wind arrival between 11am-Noon.

Here are the peak gusts so far…


1:30pm Update: Strong Wind Arriving

October 25, 2014

Quite a burst of strong wind moved through the metro area the past hour, heralding the storm’s arrival.

Peak gust of 45 mph at Hillsboro, 46 at McMinnville, & 44 at Salem.  The Yaquina Bay Bridge had a gust to 71 mph and on Meares Hill (west of Tillamook), a gust to 87 mph.

Wind should increase the next hour or two, remain gusty through sunset, then die down quickly after that.

The low pressure center is moving north quickly, a nice circulation shown on radar west of the Columbia River mouth.


As of 1:25pm there are around 7,000 PGE customers out of power and that number should climb into the tens of thousands this afternoon.  At least it’s mild outside and no one is going to get very cold!

Still thinking anywhere in the metro area we will see gusts between 45-60 mph.  That goes for the Willamette Valley and Kelso/Longview areas too.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Afternoon Wind Storm More Likely

October 25, 2014

All models and the NWS are now hopping on the Windstorm Express!

Here’s the latest at 8:40am…

  • Gusty south wind will arrive in the western valleys around Eugene by noon
  • It then spreads north to the Portland metro area sometime in the early afternoon
  • Southerly gusts 45-60 mph are likely.
  • National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for the Portland Metro Area and valleys.
  • We haven’t seen widespread gusts in this range in quite a few years…especially if lots of us get over 50 mph.
  • Coastal gusts will be in the 70-80 mph range on the central coast, maybe a bit lighter on the north coast.  Same timing as valleys
  • Prepare for lots of power outages and some trees knocked down
  • As the wind starts to arrive around noon, temperatures may jump close to 70 briefly…enjoy that!
  • Wind will be much calmer after 7pm

12z models are in agreement, even our weak RPM shows wind gusts around 50 mph through the whole valley now.


The 12z NAM has stronger gusts than the 00z showed:


The 12z WRF-GFS isn’t out yet.

I’m still a little concerned about the mature-looking low.  Totally wrapped up in itself which isn’t generally a good sign.  But it won’t be weakening much and its movement will be accelerating.

There are very few cases of a deep low moving so close to the coastline at such a steep angle (south to north).  Generally lows track more SW-NE.  I scanned a bunch of past storms and found just one that was similar in track and depth…March 1, 1974.  Here is a link to Wolf Read’s summary of that storm.  It produced a gust to 61 at PDX and 64 at SLE.  The center of this low will be a bit farther north though.

I’ll be at the OMSI What Will the Winter Be Like meeting until around noon, then probably post after that time.  By the way it’s free, from 10am to noon, and in the auditorium.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen