53 mph Gust at PDX



Today is the strongest east wind day in 8+ years in Portland.  The last time PDX saw a gust this strong was February 10, 2006.  As a result I see 36,000 PGE customers are out of power right now and 18,000 Clark PUD customers are out.  At least it isn’t 30 degrees outside…


The pressure gradient from northeast Washington down to southwest Oregon (Spokane to North Bend) appears to be holding steady at 21 millibars…that’s some strong sauce!

More the same through tomorrow morning.  Looks like the temperature has peaked and now we head downhill through the overnight hours…that wind is going to be a lot colder for the Wednesday morning commute!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

62 Responses to 53 mph Gust at PDX

  1. Jason Hougak says:

    ECMWF has been taken by an all out winter rope a dope!

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    I believe due to the strength and large polar air mass that the low will have a difficult time moving NNE and up into Washington. Seems it would take an easier path heading ESE away from polar air eventually merging and reeking havoc as the two head east.

    LARCH MTN (WA) 67mph !

  4. David B. says:

    32 and dead calm here. Mid-20s by tomorrow morning, perhaps?

  5. 8:48 PM Update Analysis
    …..Cold air really thickening up over the Columbia Gorge…..
    I like to use 2 observations to help determine how deep the cold air is at 4000′ in the atmosphere over roughly Cascade Locks and Hood River.

    Three Corner Rock(northwest of Cascade Locks)
    Elevation: 3450′
    Current Temp: 18 degrees.

    Augspurger(northwest of Hood River)
    Elevation: 2990′
    Current Temp: 21
    *This tells us that the cold layer is becoming quite deep now and is progressively pushing further west into the western Gorge. This is why 850s over PDX are currently running 2.2c colder than modeled too. As the east wind continues to rage that cold air will continue to advect westward and we may see 850s/925s continue to cool further. We’ve seen this happen before.

  6. I am hearing VERY strong winds aloft from inside my house, barely up off the surface. I thought it was a jet, but it was not. The wind gusts I am getting now also are a bit different more of a sudden/burst gust, not like earlier where it’s windy, then it builds up to a gust. It literally goes from calm to 40-50mph at the snap of a finger. I believe that this has to be the 60-70kt winds 1000′ – 2000′ above us shown on the 4km Sounding/Time Height and they are trying to mix downward. I have a feeling it might become extremely windy for many of us tonight-Wednesday AM.

  7. Upper Air Analysis
    Portland – The Dalles – Spokane
    As of 8 PM
    —— 850mb —- 925mb
    PDX: -3.2c ……. -2.1c
    DLS: -10.6c …… -6.5c
    GEG: -11.6c ….. -7.9c
    850s over PDX now -2.2c colder than modeled

    As of 8 PM
    PDX-DLS: -9.4 .. TTD-DLS: -8.9 .. OTH-GEG: -22.6 .. OTH-DLS: -18.3 .. PDX-YKM: -12.0 .. PDX-GEG: -13.0

  8. Goducks09 says:

    My untrained eye tells me that temps on Saturday may need to be lowered a bit on the 7 day.

  9. 00z WRF …. Regarding the wind potential and possibility of a bigger wind storm tonight

    A bit better job of initialization. Spokane SLP only 2mb error.
    1 AM forecast looks like it may and probably will be correct also. If so, OTH-GEG of -24mb, and PDX-DLS of -10 to -12mb. This means the bigger wind storm the NWS mentions, may still be on track.

  10. High Desert Mat says:

    00z Nam looks like it keeps the low plenty south of forecast area. Looks to me like it scoots from North Bend to Bend and on thru Burns to exit the state. If this verifies we could stay in the cold that much longer. Hmmmm….. thoughts?

    • Goducks09 says:

      It’s nearly the ideal setup! I think the problem resides with the depth and strength (or lack thereof) of the cold air mass so early in the season. I sense a surprise coming though. At least with some flakes in the air.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      snow for the east side Wed. nite. I see hoodoo is 9 deg right now with a 50 mph wind. They may not have the best skiing but definitely have the best weather station.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      32F and moderate winds racing out of the NE. Finally cold enough to throw on a jacket to get firewood.
      Ya Mat hopefully that low stays far enough south to prevent southerly flow.
      Keep us up to speed on the snow out your way!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Will do Jason. I may pull an all nighter tomorrow night. Sitting at 17 right now.

  11. Upper Air Analysis
    Portland – The Dalles – Spokane
    As of 7 PM
    —— 850mb —- 925mb
    PDX: -2.5c ……. -1.4c
    DLS: -10.5c ……. -5.5c
    GEG: -11.5c ….. -7.7c
    850s are now colder than modeled for PDX and not too far off with DLS too.

    As of 7 PM
    PDX-DLS: -9.5 .. TTD-DLS: -8.9 .. OTH-GEG: -22.3 .. OTH-DLS: -18.2 .. PDX-YKM: -12.5 .. PDX-GEG: -13.6

  12. Hal in Aims says:

    temp down to 33……..wind ramping back up………..

  13. High Desert Mat says:

    Rob, please keep us posted on the new model runs tonight as to where the low is going. I will be watching them but we all love to hear your input on these matters.

  14. Things are getting a bit uncomfortable here….

  15. 00z MM5-NAM
    4:00 AM Thursday. Hmmm, what do we have here? Is that a 1002mb low moving into North Bend with a PDX-DLS -8mb or stronger? Why, yes, yes it is. This could be a game changer IF this solution is correct.

    • paulbeugene says:

      Game changer in moisture stays mostly S of PDX, Eugene gets cold rain. Not cold enough

    • Curtis C says:

      Paul, how much further south would the low have to be to give Eugene snow?

    • Precip model suggests 1-2″ of snow for PDX, but the 12km Sounding reveals it would be Sleet, than ZR. I do notice one glaring difference on this Sounding compared to other NAM/WRF runs. The warm nose that punchs in above 950mb is not nearly as strong or pronounced.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Mid valley gets hammered again…….um, sure right

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Looks more like the mini low moves north and gives pdx a better shot. Possibly

    • Sapo says:

      What is the link for this forecast that you are looking at Rob? Thx

    • paulbeugene says:

      My problem with this is that it just plain simply won’t be cold enough. Where there is enough moisture it won’t be cold enough to snow and where there is enough moisture, dry air will still be funneling out of the gorge to turn snow into nothing. The east “slopes” of the Coast Range stand the best chance of making a snowman.

    • paulbeugene says:

      I meant that where there is enough cold air (especially over valley floor, such as PDX metro), gorge outflow still ongoing, drying things out. Sorry about the word mixup

  16. Jason Hougak says:

    33.4F and breezy, limbs down throughout and a few trees on way home. Coldest temperature on way back from 3 Rivers job was 23F at Frog Lake turn off just north of Blue Box Pass on Hwy 26. Welches had no power in town. Guy ran traffic light which was out and got pulled over. Gotta remember to treat those like a 4 way stop… duh!
    Very hazy over there, it was very strange. Almost looked like wildfire smoke haze. Clear over the Cascades but noticed more looking west from Shorties corner toward Portland.

  17. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    In the words of Slim Shady, will the REAL atmospheric wrath please stand up?

  18. Hal in Aims says:

    wind dropped off to an idle an hour or so ago……….temp dropped from 40 to 36………..

  19. Wendy-Silverlake says:

    Currently 37 degrees. It’s going to be a cold night tonight!!! No wind here for several hours.

  20. Taylor says:

    These East winds seemed to have gotten stronger in the last hour or so. 39 degrees here in Happy Valley… never seen it that cold in November at this time in years.

  21. John says:

    I’m in Corbett and it’s pretty calm here. No way this is the strongest windstorm in 8 years, at least not in Corbett,

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      It isn’t in the Gorge, but in the bulk of the metro area. In fact it was slightly windier in Portland than in Corbett today! That’ll change tomorrow and Thursday.

  22. BrianInKeizer says:

    I would like to commend all the weather analysis and great information for the green weather watchers (ME). It has been really nice to read all the analysis. Thanks peeps!

  23. schmit44 says:

    Cross-cascade gradient (Spokane to North Bend, OR) approaching record levels. Should peak out around 8pm tonight and then tomorrow the Gorge will have its peak between DLS and PDX

  24. Lurkyloo says:

    Bbbbrrrrutal. This wind chills you right through to the core. Ugh.

  25. High Desert Mat says:

    Sitting at 29 degrees in Redmond at the moment and winds brisk from the north. Winter storm watch for my area tomorrow night til Thursday. 3-6 ” of snow.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      Bon appetite Mat, enjoy. Just got done in High Desert Country replacing a 700′ well pump at Three Rivers near Cove Palisades State Park. I love that cold dry, juniper and sage brush air.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Nws just extended the watch to 4am Friday. I know there’s a little uncertainty as to where exactly the low is going to go, so here’s to it going to the south of all of us. Early Xmas present?

  26. alohabb says:

    Stronger winds still to come??????? I thought we were all done!

  27. 2:38 PM Update Analysis

    The main question now is, will we see the High Winds verify with widespread gusts over 50mph and gusts 60-65mph? and will the offshore gradients increase too much further? NAM says yes, up to -25 to -26mb. 12z WRF has the OTH-GEG at -26mb also. If this verifies we’ll see tremendous winds tonight into Wednesday morning. An all-out east wind storm for a large area. However, I am quite skeptical we’ll see much of an increase. It might peak out around -23mb which still will lead to more power outages and some damage. If we see the mountain wave develop and/or better mixing, that will lead to stronger winds than we’re currently experiencing.

    In analyzing the 12z WRF it shows at 1 PM Spokane’s SLP at 1038mb, but there’s a problem with this. It’s 2 PM and they are recording a SLP of 1034.4mb. Take in account that error off by 3.6mb, deduct that by the peak forecast gradient and you end up with a peak OTH-GEG of -22.4mb. The OTH-GEG gradient was forecast to be -26mb at 1 PM today, yet it’s now -21.4, a 4.6mb error. Based on these findings it’s possible we do not see much of an increase tonight. Also, to support this further RAP 6hour trends shows SLP at Spokane only increases to 1036mb. The models have been doing a poor job of initialization and recognition of both the depth of the cold air depth, and pressure readings, so my line of thinking on this seems plausible. However, typically as the cold settles in during the night time hours over the Columbia Basin the gradients increase noticeably which could occur. I guess we’ll find out.

    • For those who want a wind storm, let’s hope I am wrong. If I am, I’ll gladly admit it.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Easterly Wind Storm in Progress

    • I am referring to the High Wind Warning verifying 60-65mph gusts. Not seeing that yet.

    • W7ENK says:

      I’ve noticed that in this kind of setup, winds tend to slack a bit during the overnight hours and pick back up again right around sunrise. Maybe it’s just areas away from the direct Gorge outflow? I’m not entirely sure why that is, but one theory could be that after the sun sets and the atmosphere begins to cool, colder air settles into the valley and stabilizes the atmosphere at the surface, causing the winds to ride over the top, keeping it above the surface. The lack of solar heating keeps the wind from mixing down as much at night, and after sunrise the solar energy at the surface destabilizes the lowest layer again, causing those overriding winds to mix back down, which might explain why the wind slacks overnight and pick back up in the morning.

      Just a theory.

    • W7ENK says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention… If this were true, it might save most areas away from the direct Gorge outflow from the strongest winds overnight tonight.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Who comes to a weather blog and doesn’t want a windstorm???

  28. Griffin says:


  29. W7ENK says:

    It’s just getting started!

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