Evening models are in and just about all of them show the same thing now; a surface low tracking up the coastline just offshore. Nice to see them finally agree 18-24 hours out. Here are the quick highlights:
- Strong wind arrives at the central coastline midday to early afternoon, moving north it’ll reach the Columbia River (Astoria) around 4pm.
- In the valleys this WILL NOT be a HUGE windstorm like Dec. 1995, but it’ll probably be a bit stronger than what we saw in October. Strong wind arrives sometime after 3pm. Most action will be during the evening commute.
- There will be plenty of power outages and trees down by this time tomorrow evening.
- Peak gusts at metro area airport locations will likely be in the 45-55 mph range. Somebody somewhere in the metro area will probably record a gust 60-65 mph on a hill-top.
For some reason I’ve been having trouble forecast-wise with this storm the past 24 hours. All in my head of course. I think I figured it out this evening. The forecast train a couple of days ago started out with the possibility of a BIG storm. But models have ever so gradually weakened things a bit so now we’re back to a “normal” strong winter storm instead of something possibly “epic”. Here is my forecast I’m using at 10pm:
Note I lowered my forecast for the valleys slightly, down to speeds similar to October’s storm. There are two reasons for that:
1. All models are showing the low pressure system filling significantly after it reaches the southern Oregon Coast. The ECMWF fills it a full 10 millibars from 10am to 10pm! That would reduce the pressure gradient from south to north.
2. The strong WRF-GFS has gradually been lowering its gradients the past 4 runs too. Yesterday morning it showed a peak Eugene to Portland gradient of 8mb, now it’s 6. The change from North Bend to Astoria is more significant. It had shown 19mb, now just 13! That makes me think the 70-90 mph gust forecast out there could be too high. 65-80 seems more likely.
I see there are schools cancelling on the northern Oregon and southern Washington coast. Most likely those locations won’t see gusty wind until AFTER school gets out anyway, but I guess they are being extra cautious.
There is actually one more run of models tomorrow morning, so I’ll post once more around 10am. As of 11:30pm I’ve turned off comments for the night. I’ll turn them back on tomorrow morning after I post again. Good time to go to bed anyway!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen