Windstorm Update: A Bit Less Confusion This Evening

We are less than 48 hours from what COULD be a significant wind event in our area and evening models are still in quite a bit of disagreement.

First, if you just want the basics:

  • Tonight’s storm moving onto the coastline will not bring strong wind into the valleys, but gusts to 70 mph are likely in the morning hours out there.
  • Storm #3 is still forecast to develop and bring gusty south wind to the entire region Thursday.
  • We unsure about the strength of the wind and the timing right now, but gusts to at least 40 mph are likely.
  • My best guess is we’ll see gusts 45-55 mph in the metro area Thursday midday or afternoon, similar to the October storm, maybe stronger…maybe.

What’s different since I wrote this morning’s post?  We have a new run of models in that show just a few changes.

1. The GFS (and, by extension, the UW WRF-GFS) has the low moving a little farther offshore.  It is also slower, bringing the wind in 3-5 hours later.  More like midday-early afternoon instead of morning.

2.  Gradients/wind on those two models are weaker as a result.  The WRF-GFS had shown a +8mb gradient EUG-PDX and now is +7.  The OTH-AST gradient is now +15mb instead of +19.  The wind gust forecast graphic was also weaker.  I wouldn’t go with gusts above 60 mph at SLE/EUG/PDX based on these two models.

3.  The 00z NAM and GEM are very similar.  Both showing a “baggy looking” low moving directly over Portland on the way up to Puget Sound.  This would give us a nice surge of 35-45 mph gusts Thursday afternoon, but not much stronger.  Here’s the 4pm Thursday view: gem

4.  The 00z ECMWF is a bit stronger than its earlier run and is now quite similar to the GFS except the track is right along the coast….10am Thursday:  ecmwf_18z

and 4pm:

ecmwf_00z

The ECMWF would suggest gusts around 50 mph Thursday afternoon west of the Cascades…maybe 50-60 if everything was just right (wrong).

We still have the 12z and 00z models tomorrow…hopefully they will firm things up a bit on track and intensity.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

109 Responses to Windstorm Update: A Bit Less Confusion This Evening

  1. Its 50 here only warmed up 1 degree since this morning. I thought I was gonna be warmer.

  2. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Damaging Windstorm Thursday

  3. alohabn says:

    Still on track for 55+ gusts in PDX?

  4. W7ENK says:

    HIGH WIND WARNING
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
    1134 AM PST WED DEC 10 2014

    http://inws.wrh.noaa.gov/weather/alertinfo/19732997

  5. yevpolo1990 says:

    This “open wave” that WRF GFS showed today coming in does not look like an open wave…looks more of a closed low now? Station nearby has it around 990mb.
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/wxloop.cgi?wv_enhanced+

  6. Wendy-Silverlake, Wa says:

    When is this wind supposed to end!!!! I’ve got trees (huge ones) down in my yard. I’ve got decapitated reindeer on the roof and one heck of a mess everywhere else.

    • W7ENK says:

      It’s windy??? Not a breath of wind down here, not for a couple of days at least, and certainly not right now.

    • Wendy-Silverlake, Wa says:

      Brutally windy and it won’t stop. We had a break about two hours ago where it was only around 10-15 mph, then it started back up again really strong.

    • Runtmc says:

      If you don’t mind, W7, could you travel up to Wendy’s place to verify if it’s windy? I know you only “believe it when you see it” and we need your verification in these situations.

    • Wendy-Silverlake, Wa says:

      It’s quite a drive, I can just send pics!

    • W7ENK says:

      Thanks for the update, Wendy. I assume you’re up some in elevation? Maybe it’s a sign of things to come down here in the lowlands.

    • W7ENK says:

      And Mark, would you please just get rid of this nonsensical assclown?

      Not once…

    • lilfoot123 says:

      I concur with Wendy! I am SW of her in Longview west of Lexington! I have the window open stuff is flying around! The neighbor’s wind chimes are pretty constant & leaves moving pretty good! Decapitated reindeer not a good sign! We have power outage already in Cowlitz County! The calm before the storm!

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Haaa, Erik! “Assclown.” You’re funny …

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Change the link on your name “W7ENK” and maybe Mark will think about it. Seriously, its childish to have all of that attached to your profile name. Its defamation. Let bygone’s be bygone’s already, sheesh. No pun intended really Erik, its just Rob is doing nothing but analyzing and posting good info.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      OR, we could all just grow up, look at a map of wind observations, and realize many areas west of the Cascades are windy right now, at least as the cold front passed: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pqr&sid=KLS&num=60&raw=0&banner=off

      Such ridiculous things to argue about…

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Let’s hope the reindeer don’t leave with the roof!

    • W7ENK says:

      Wow Mark, I wasn’t arguing. I didn’t REALIZE it was windy EVERYWHERE but PDX proper. My bad.

      And I told you Mat, I changed that link a year ago. I don’t know how or why it got changed back. And FWIW, it’s not defamation, because it’s an accurate account of what actually occurred, in everyone’s own words, unaltered. Besides, there’s nothing I can do about it until this evening after I get home from work, so simmer down. If it really bothers you that much, stop clicking on the link.

    • runrain says:

      As long as Rudolph still has his head!

    • Mat is right! By keeping that link on your profile it just shows how pathetic you are as an individual that you would provoke, harass, and attack someone incessantly for years to the point they would eventually fire back at you, and then you’re sitting there ready to take screenshots trying to manipulate the entire situation, and yes, slandering me to make yourselves look innocent, not to mention how obsessed you guys are with me or my life (Which puzzles me!) Grow up indeed.

    • W7ENK says:

      I SAID I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT WHEN I GET HOME!!!

      What part of “I changed it a year ago” and “I don’t know how or why it got changed back” do you idiots not understand?!?

    • Okay, would appreciate that. Back to Weather.

  7. Seattle NWS AFD sheds even more light on situation. They are quite bullish and go figure, the WRF is the outlier/odd man out now, but still uncertainties remain. Don’t rule out a wind storm just yet and it all has to do with what I and others have been saying, where does deep cyclogenesis occur exactly in relation to the critical line “sweet spot” at 130 W, 40 N….

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
    900 AM PST WED DEC 10 2014…CORRECTED
    MODELS CONTINUE TO ADVERTISE A POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT WIND EVENT FOR MUCH OF WESTERN WASHINGTON INCLUDING GREATER PUGET SOUND AND I-5 CORRIDOR THURSDAY INTO THURSDAY NIGHT. THE ECMWF/NAM12/CANADIAN HAVE ALL TRENDED STRONGER WITH A TRACK JUST W OF OR OVER PUGET SOUND WHICH WOULD BE A WORSE CASE SCENARIO FOR WIND. INTERESTINGLY THE OUTLIER IS NOW THE GFS40/WRF-GFS WHICH STILL DEEPENS THE LOW BUT TRACKS IF FAR ENOUGH OFFSHORE TO SPARE PARTS OF WRN WA THE MORE EXTREME WIND SOLUTIONS. THE DIFFERENCES CAN BE TRACED TO THE REGION AND TIMING OF CYCLOGENESIS. STORMS OF THE STRONGER BREED AFFECTING PUGET SOUND NORMALLY BEGIN TO BOMB OUT NEAR 130 W AND IMPORTANTLY TO THE SOUTH OF 40N. — STRONGER SOLUTIONS LIKE THE ECMWF/CANADIAN ARE SHOWING THIS. — THE 12Z GFS IS SLIGHTLY FURTHER N WITH THE LOW DEVELOPMENT WHICH IS THE REASON FOR A FURTHER OFFSHORE TRACK. A COMPARISON AGAINST WATER VAPOR IMAGERY STRONGLY ARGUES FOR DEVELOPMENT FURTHER S LIKE THE ECMWF/CANADIAN. THE 180-200KT JET SEEN AS AN EXTENSIVE DARK SLOT ALSO ARGUES FOR DEEPER SURFACE LOW DEVELOPMENT. THE BIGGER CHANGE AMONG THE MODELS HAS TO TO WITH TIMING. INSTEAD OF WINDS PICKING UP IN THE MORNING OVER SRN WA AND SPREADING NWD THURSDAY AFTERNOON…NEWER MODELS ARE SLOWER WITH THE ONSET BY ABOUT 6 HOURS. THIS MEANS THAT THE STRONG WINDS MAY NOT DEVELOP OVER THE FAR SW PART OF WRN WA UNTIL AFTERNOON AND NOT INCREASE OVER PUGET SOUND NWD UNTIL THE MID EVENING. REGARDLESS…TIMING AND IMPACT REMAIN SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN. WILL KEEP THE HIGH WIND WATCH IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF WRN WA. WILL PLAN TO UPDATE THE WIND STATEMENT THIS AFTERNOON AND REFINE DETAILS AND AS NEWER MODEL RUNS ARRIVES. MERCER

  8. yevpolo1990 says:

    NOAA has this going on…

  9. Tyler Mode says:

    64 degrees…wow.

    Peak wind so far today @ 21 mph.

    Pressure 29.48″ and falling.

  10. I said last night and earlier this morning around 3:30 AM that if this low doesn’t wind up further offshore that we’re going to see a major wind storm, and I’m going to stick to it. There are just too many possibilities that remain. No sense in changing it. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and I’ll throw an egg on my own face, so to speak.

  11. We need the front today to push inland a bit so it drags the baroclinic zone with it as that is where Thursday’s low develop and will ride along. If it’s too far inland then the low would move south of PDX.. if it’s too far offshore, the low will track further offshore…. All eyes on WV/IR loop…

  12. 12z WRF low develops too rapidly outside 130 W, moves northeast off Astoria 977-978mb. 4km Wind Gust model 35-45kt gusts Willamette Valley. I will say it’s close to being a good Wind Storm, and it’s simply a matter of how soon this low undergoes deep cyclogenesis. I notice it sure doesn’t weaken much at all now as it moves north offshore. That’s a good thing to see. Now we all watch and wait see how it develops on IR/WV.

  13. Well, I am not encouraged by both 12z NAM or GFS. Could this be falling apart at the last second? Maybe. Parallel GFS is weaker 979mb and further offshore. I guess we’ll just have to see how it all develops in real time….but within 24 hours the mesoscale models really do not make mistakes….. No reason to argue against them.

  14. vernonia1 says:

    well dang it! Every time I bookmark that neat wind site (BPA?) it will not let me in. Hate to keep asking…but can someone share/ It is the one with the teardrop shaped real time wind indicators Thanks all

  15. Sapo says:

    Wow, this morning’s mm5-NAM is looking worse and worse. Pretty much just a breezy day at best on Thursday, if you go with that model. We’ll see what the WRF-GFS brings later this morning.

    • Fairly typical. The 06Z GFS keeps the strongest winds just off the deck. Unless we get some mixing to bring down the stronger winds. It’ll be breezy but maybe more High Wind Watch than High Wind Warning criteria.

  16. Wendy-Silverlake, Wa says:

    We are getting pounded by wind up here. Even in the shelter of the trees, the wind gauge is recording gusts in the 30’s and sustained in the 20’s. Oh, and it’s 63 degrees.

  17. Jason Hougak says:

    Got generator

  18. I don’t know what’s going on here went to sleep at 52 now its 49.

  19. Tyler Mode says:

    62 at 3 AM on December 10th? Wow

  20. Check out what the Medford NWS has to say about Thursday’s low

    CONFIDENCE IS ABOVE AVERAGE AND INCREASING CONCERNING THE STRENGTH OF THIS SYSTEM…WHICH WILL LIKELY RANK IN THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF THE STORMS TO AFFECT OUR REGION. ALL MARITIME AND COASTAL INTERESTS SHOULD TAKE ALL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE LIFE AND PROPERTY…AS SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE IS POSSIBLE TO UNSECURED AND EXPOSED EQUIPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE.

  21. 6z NCEP/NWS Pacific Surface Analysis
    This was about as ideal as you could want. Thursday’s low is set to develop deepening to 983mb right near the sweet spot for classic Pacific Northwest windstorms at 40 N, 130 W.

    6z GFS
    The most glaringly obvious thing on this run is the increasing left exit jet support which is extremely strong now upwards of 140-160kts punching into southwest Oregon all the way up to northern Washington now with no splitting evident. This will keep the low strong, healthy, and maintain very quick forward motion. There is no way this low weakens as modeled if this verifies. No chance. If anything it could stay near the same depth all the way to landfall(Washington Coast or Vancouver Island), maybe even deepen throughout its northward track.

    Past history of wind storms tells us this. Also, there is all the support in the world now for this low to be 968-972mb, so I would ignore any models suggesting it would be in the 980’s with the stretching/rapid weakening shown. You would see that if you had little jet support, the low would literally stall losing all momentum and fill, but not with 140-160kt. Models may really be missing the boat(or yacht) in handling the depth with this storm.

    We’re going to see a major, damaging wind storm if this low doesn’t wind up further offshore. I am going out on that limb.

    • ChiefWright (Marquam) says:

      Well, if it verifies as you say, better hold tight to that limb. And hope the whole tree doesn’t fall over into the powerline.

    • I was encouraged by 12z/00z and ECMWF Ensembles showing multiple lows 973mb to 968mb, but that seems to have changed as of 12z. As of 6z when I posted this analysis things were looking great, but it appears yet again this will not be the case.

  22. The KING of Weather Spreadsheets says:

    My quick update thought here as of 1:31 AM December 10th.

    I think the hardest hit area will be initially between Seaside and Long Beach and eventually at least some of the stiffer winds will funnel their way up into the Centralia-Chehalis area.

    I don’t think it will be as windy here in Tacoma as down in the Southwest Interior but all depends on the exact track of the low. IF the low tracks over the Olympics before heading onward to Vancouver Island which is usually more rare then I think winds will be more of an issue over Puget Sound.

    For you Oregonians though I really think in my opinion that the stiffest winds will be out on the Northwest tip of the state of Oregon as it becomes affected by the bent back occlusion along with the coastal areas. I have a feeling we might see our strongest wind gusts in the Astoria area.

    Just my 3 cents worth. 🙂

  23. A bit off topic but if we can’t guarantee a forcast 2 days out, how can we guarantee global warming is real and will cause major issues hundreds of years from now?

  24. PurpleHaze says:

    What’s the odds of us having a Wind Watch and Northern California having a Wind Warning at the same time?

    Here is the High Wind Warning in effect for the Sacramento valley with wind gusts up to 70mph!

    • winds: southeast 30 to 45 mph with gusts 60 to 70 mph.
    • Timing: winds increasing Wednesday night with strongest winds
      expected overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning.

    • Locations include: Chico… Oroville and Marysville.

    • Impacts: possible power outages… downed trees and potential
      property damage… difficult driving conditions.

    • For a detailed view of the hazard area… visit
      http://www.Weather.Gov/Sacramento/hazards

    Precautionary/preparedness actions…

    A dense fog advisory means visibilities will frequently be
    reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving… slow down…
    use your headlights… and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.

    A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
    or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
    of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

    Both Chico and Paradise are covered in trees and are more prone to outages then most other parts of the area.

  25. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    Couple questions…

    Is there a sweet spot for these storms as far as wind field? Or is it a topography thing as far as the low placement affecting wind speeds? It seems there is a sweet spot for the low but I haven’t heard anything about low placement and a changing target for strongest winds. Not sure if that’s clear….

    Also, I have a fairly cheap weather station (a Davis just isn’t in the budget) but it has an anemometer, how high off the roof should it be mounted? I guess I can just google it. Lol

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Yes the deepening low has to be inside 130 W – otherwise it’s too far away or too close.

    • Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

      I’ve seen that. Man I feel like a “noob” right now, but basically, when I hear about winds from storms my mind usually visualizes the wind field maps from hurricanes. These storms are different, I get that. It seems the wind maps I’ve seen posted on here the variant seems to be location in the valley not proximity to the low.

    • The ideal sweet spot is 40 N, 130 W for development as you want a deep southerly trajectory as it track northward off the Oregon/Washington Coast as close as possible.

  26. schmit44 says:

    12/9/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:66 at BANDON( 79 ft) & Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & Eugene – Willame(460 ft) & DW1265 Newport(164 ft)
    Low: 59 at BANDON(79 ft) & Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & EW3367 Coos Bay(98 ft) & W7KKE-3 Road’s E(89 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:37 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft) & Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft) & WOLF CREEK(5700 ft) & Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 21 at KLAMATH RIVER BE (3288 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    CW5984 Pilot Roc (65/34 ) (1749 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.99″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    1.86″ at TIDEWATER(2035ft)
    1.77″ at SOUTH FORK(2257ft)
    1.68″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)
    1.50″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3250ft)
    1.48″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    1.45″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)

  27. Mark, thanks for the detailed and extensive analysis.

    I see you’re not going all-in yet…. Just 45-55, maybe 60mph…. Might be wise, and might be conservative. It’s hard to go against you on this one as you have a habit of not being wrong very often. There is a reason that you’re probably the best TV Met(no offense to others) in Portland…. It’s smart going the route you are If 12z looks a bit more favorable you can always upgrade/pull the trigger on a bigger event…. HOPE SO

    Do you wanna know what I think?…. I believe 12z models tomorrow morning will lock in on a final solution. I would go with a forecast of widespread gusts 50-60mph(Potential for even higher) for the Willamette Valley over a 2-4 hour duration. Overall looking for major run to run differences on the suite of models that time may have passed now and we may only see minor adjustments taking place of the finer/mesoscale details primarily position of gradient couplet and how tight it is. By tomorrow guys, gals(and furry woodland creatures too) we’ll be to the point where this will all come down to Satellite analysis, IR/WV loop viewing, 3hr Pressure Falls chart, and some limited Ship/Buoy data(Not much of those left that are operational unfortunately)

    That’s my favorite thing right now. As I said in my earlier analysis we can watch everything in real time now. We don’t have to solely rely on models for initialization, track, trajectory or placement with landfall. The only wild cards that remains are how soon inside 130 W does this low undergo its explosive Cyclogenesis stage, how deep does it ultimately bottom out, and finally where does peak maturity stage occur in relation/proximity from Newport to Astoria. Those are the questions to me that need to be answered over the next 24-36 hours.

  28. lilfoot123 says:

    I love windstorms! My fav was Dec ’96! We lived in Olympia by St Peter’s Hospital & I worked at Best Products the wind kept blowing & the lights kept flickering! We didn’t lose power as we were on the hospital grid! No cable! My hubby had to keep telling me to get back under the porch as he was afraid a tree branch would hit me! We are in Longview now! I so enjoy Mark’s expertise & the others thoughts about the weather events! I am a weather geek! I get the terminology! I’m gitty about Thursday’s windstorm potential but not the prospect of spending time with middle schoolers in the dark or retail evening work!

  29. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    Does anyone know what happened to our favorite blogger, “South Wind”? Maybe he’ll make an appearance before too long and clear things up for all of us.

  30. I’m boring and I live in Boring, what can I say.

  31. Mark I don’t enjoy them. I like neutral weather.

  32. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    It’s days like these where I’m envious of those of you who don’t have jobs and can analyze models all day and night. What life must be like to not work! Ahhh… Enjoy it for me.

    • Longview 400 ft says:

      Why is it that we simply can not write about the weather on this weather blog?

    • Marc (East Vancouver) says:

      I’m sad I can’t stay home from work tomorrow to watch the storm develop. Maybe a better word than sad is jealous. I am admitting I am jealous that I can’t watch the models tomorrow like some. Is that so farfetched in comparison to the many tangents that have risen on this blog? Lol

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I’m jealous that you all get to enjoy windstorms, snowstorms, and ice storms from home. Even though it’s weather, I always have to be at work.

    • Marc (East Vancouver) says:

      Haha, that is the one exception; I am NOT envious of Mark’s job in the winter. I’ll stay on the sidelines during the winter months and enjoy these events with my hot cocoa and GOLU expertise.

    • Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

      I’ve gotten into the firewood business with a friend of mine who’s been doing it for a few years now. He got hooked up with a logging company and we go to active logging sites and cut split and deliver wood from Olympia to Vancouver. The only days we take off is weather like this. A little rain we will work through, but high winds, snow or heavy rain are no gos. We work out of the Willipa hills. The current site is a clear cut on an exposed hilltop outside pe ell at about 800′. Probably not the best place to be Thursday. Or tomorrow

    • Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

      The whole point of that I guess is that I get to stay home and watch these events. The downside is when the weather is nice I gotta work which makes it hard to get things done around the house. Win some lose some

    • PurpleHaze says:

      Actually does Mark even get windows where he is at to see the actual events in person or does he have to rely on external sources eg webcams,bulletins,various emergency scanners.etc?

  33. Wind wind go away please don’t come back another day.

  34. 12z will be stronger based on strong left exit jet support. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Nothing to lose.

  35. Phil says:

    Second. Come on wind storm!

  36. MasterNate says:

    Trending the wrong way! Oh well, it was to be expected with the GFS.

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