A Wind Storm In August? It May Happen Saturday!

Things are getting weird this evening…I came in to work today, looked at the maps and thought “that looks like late October or November!”.  Why?  Models were showing a relatively deep surface low pressure center scooting up the coastline quickly right after daybreak Saturday.  As a precaution, the NWS issued a High Wind Watch for the coastline.  Now evening models are quite similar.

Here are the highlights in case you don’t care about the meteorological info:

  • Unusually strong wind is POSSIBLE on the central/north coastline of Oregon early Saturday morning.  Gusts 50-70 mph are possible.  That’s not tent camping weather!
  • In the western valleys, including the I-5 corridor (Salem/Portland/Longview), we could see southerly wind gusts in the 35-50 mph range Saturday morning. (7-11am)  
  • With leaves on trees, this could cause some significant damage.  Wind gusts just 40 mph would bring us lots of power outages this time of year.
  • The highest wind gust ever observed at PDX in the month of August is just 39 mph.  That was a southerly wind gust too.
  • If the surface low ends up weaker or takes a different track, winds will be much lighter.  We have two more model runs (tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening) before the event.  That will give us a better handle on what’s going to happen.
  • Unrelated, but of interest to you…IT’S GOING TO BE WET IN OUR AREA TOMORROW.  I am working on a project outside and have a bunch of tools/nails etc…lying around.  Get things covered or inside by sunrise!

In my entire career (24 years in Portland), I’ve never seen the NWS issue a High Wind Watch for anywhere west of the Cascades in the summer.  That alone isn’t all that shocking, but it’s backed up with several models showing the same setup for Saturday morning.  Check out the 8am image from the WRF-GFS (UW model):


This model and others are showing 9-12 millibars southerly gradient from Eugene to Olympia.  That’s a big number even in winter.  And this time of year the warm weather allows good mixing of stronger winds above.  The WRF-GFS shows 70-75 kts at 850mb.  Unheard of in August!  Our RPM is quite strong with the wind as well:  Here’s a wind gust forecast:


Over the past few winters I’ve noticed these speeds tend to run a bit high vs. reality.  Still, this shows gusts 40+ mph in the valleys and 60-70 along the coast SOUTH OF THE LOW.  Note that if our RPM (or the WRF-GFS) is correct, areas up around Astoria would stay mainly calm.

More tomorrow on the wind…

As for tomorrow’s weather, we’ve made a dramatic change in the forecast since radar, HRRR model, RPM, & WRF-GFS all show the rain band about 50 miles farther east.  That puts measurable rain overhead for the first time in about two weeks.  Here’s the HRRR forecast through 11am:


and RPM through Sunday afternoon is looking more pathetic…that’s too bad:


The WRF-GFS is now only showing about .50″ in the valleys too.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

50 Responses to A Wind Storm In August? It May Happen Saturday!

  1. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Thar She Blows! Quick men, gather up the women and children…move them to a safe place.


  2. David B. says:

    Today was dry up here except for a few evening sprinkles that began about 5pm. Not a surprise — a few days out I looked at some model runs and they all showed me getting pretty thoroughly rain-shadowed by the Olympics today. The real action was and continues to be forecast for the AM hours tomorrow.

    Went hiking and actually found a lot of chanterelles in one spot today (it’s a little hollow that has stayed moist since our mid-August drenching). Alas I didn’t have my knife and basket with me so I left them. (I wasn’t expecting to find any.) But it augurs well for the coming season if early September is wet (as the forecasts say it should be).

  3. DEL X V says:

    Pressure falling rapidly 275 nm NW of Coos Bay at 2250 GMT. Friday

    f Something must moving in that direction per the forecasts.

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    84 so far today under partly cloudy skies. Light North winds. No rain yet. Looking at NWS radar most rain on coast or in Washington. Today a lot nicer than was expected. Day number 86 over 80 in Salem. .01 rain in last 87 days. 86 days in a row over 70. 67 nights in a row over 50. 31st night last night 60+. Tonight should be number 32. Record is 33 set in 2014. Summer rolls on. Peace.

  5. WEATHERDAN says:

    80 and mostly cloudy at 2:00 PM. 64 this morning and another warm night ahead. No rain so far today and just sort of pleasant outside. Most of the rain seems to be staying offshore of Oregon and moving instead into Western Washington. Nice little storm tonight may bring some breezy conditions for us tonight and the first part of Saturday. Then just partly cloudy and mid to high 70,s. Some rain but not a lot. Of course the GFS meteogram has insane amounts forecast. 4.44 inches between tonight and Wednesday. And 3.71 inches for Portland. Their forecaster must be smoking the good stuff.PDX might get .75 over the next 5 days but probably less. And please don’t worry about a tropical system in Oregon. The farthest north a tropical system has ever made it is a T.S that hit Long Beach CA in 1933. That’s 1000 miles South of here folks. We might have a little rain and wind with these lows coming at us from the SW but remember this is August not November. Peace.

  6. W7ENK says:

    110 PM PDT FRI AUG 28 2015



  7. leer` Geddy says:

    Joe bastari just put out his 2015/16 winter outlook today and he has the PNW +5 degrees above norm temps Dec thru March and only 25% of normal for snowfall, His exact words are, it should be a NON winter for the PNW and northern plains but big winter for the south, how typical anyways thought I post if anyone was curious.

  8. Farmer Ted says:

    Like I said in the previous post, “The trend is your friend”. Until a significant fall storm pushes through I think we will be high and dry. Better go water the garden.

  9. runrain says:

    If strong southerly winds develop in the John Day area, that could be just catastrophic. It would push that fire right up onto highway 26 and could imperil Prairie City.

  10. Stephen says:

    Could this storm affect the “blob”?

  11. John Liu says:

    Disappointing for Portland, the weekend of significant rain is looking like a little sprinkling. I feel like I’m living on Arrakis.

  12. Boring Oregon says:

    More wind and less rain. Just what we need.

  13. Ok the TWC had a crazy thing something about a possible swing of a Pacific tropical storm pulling an outlier & coming this way! Yes it is crazy but the Columbus Day storm was an example of that! Any thoughts? mark Nate Erik ? Yes so happy with the rain! My grass is actually greener from its straw color!

    • MasterNate says:

      My sources have commented on that exact same scenario. Jimena is forecast to track towards the west coast and could impact the PNW around Sept 11,12th timeframe. Way to early to get excited about but interesting none the less.

    • W7ENK says:

      Honestly, I haven’t been paying that close of attention to what’s down the line. I’ll try to take a look at this when I get a little more time…

      Thanks for the heads up!

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Sorry but it will not happen. The ocean temps are just too cold off Oregon for a T.S to survive. Tropical systems need water temps of at least 80 to survive. Our temps are 55-60 right now. Frieda AKA The Columbus Day Storm was the remains of a former tropical storm. It was a very deep low that roared right the Willamette Valley and caused tremendous damage. 43 dead and $3B damages in today’s money. It could happen any year BUT IT IS NOT A TROPICAL SYSTEM. Peace/

    • W7ENK says:

      Ehhh… no.

      You may want to rethink your statement there, Dan…

      And CDS was a tropical system (Typhoon Freida) that became entrained into a SW-ly flow, bringing it into the PNW as an extra-tropical cyclone.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      An extra tropical system has some characteristics of a tropical system but it is not tropical. It once was tropical and still has a lot of moisture with it but the NWS does not consider a ETS to be tropical. Still can cause damage though. But it is the track the low takes and it’s core pressure that makes it dangerous. A non tropical low of 980 mb that comes up the coast 50 miles offshore would do a heck of a lot more damage than an extra tropical low of 992 mb 200 miles offshore. The cold Alaska current is not warm like the Gulf stream. Even with the blob it is still way to cold. Waters to the North of Hawaii are over 70 but still too cold for Hurricanes. But someday a storm will come up the coast at just the right distance and we will have another devastating storm. ETS or not. Peace.

    • MasterNate says:

      Let me clarify a bit. There are model runs showing that system moving up into the PNW. I don’t actually know what the forecasted track is at this time. Of course it would not be a hurricane or a TS but in a near perfect scenario, if definatly could produce hurricane force winds such as the event dubbed the Columbus Day Storm.

  14. paulbeugene says:

    mm5 models: NAM looking bit stronger than previous runs but GFS a bit weaker, more or less converging on same solution of a decent low tracking up the coast.
    Gusts in Willamette valley could reach 40mph..perhaps, which would could be sufficient for all time August peak gust at PDX.

    This could end up being the best looking low of the fall per satellite imagery, before we head to splitsville

  15. Paul D says:

    Wet in Hillsboro!

  16. We had sprinkly showers starting about 1:50 am this morning, then it intensified somewhat after 5am. Currently I estimate about 0.2 inches, with an predicted total of about 0.5 inches for today. so not exactly a “gully washer”- which is fine with me anyway. The ground has been quite hard. Tomorrow, however, could be a different story.

    • David B. says:

      Light showers overnight and 0.02″ in the gauge this morning here on Bainbridge Island. More impressive than the rain was the wind, which woke me up and made me wonder if I was going to lose power (I didn’t).

    • rainguy says:

      Why do we believe any of these forecasts? Nearly always the same pattern: 3 days out, big rain coming. Flurry of excited, hopeful posts. Two days out, the hedging begins. One day out, a near to total reversal of the original forecast to something like “maybe a quarter-inch. Maybe.” Day of, a sprinkle, if that. The latest adjusted for reality forecast for what was one predicted just a few days ago to be a Major Soaking is but the most recent example of this frustrating trend.

    • W7ENK says:

      You guys up there don’t need the rain as much as we do down this way. I was in SW BC August 3-9, it rained at least a half inch on the 5th in just the two hours it took to drive from Vancouver up to Whistler, and it rained off and on that whole week. Meanwhile, not a single drop of rain here since 7/26 when I got a paltry 0.08″. Before that, it was the random overnight downpour that nailed my neighborhood on 7/13 with a half inch. Since June first, I’ve only had 1.25″ total. If it weren’t for that one rainy night in mid July, that number would be less than 3/4 of an inch.

    • W7ENK, it’s true that you need more rain than us- still, that rain you experienced on the way to Whistler wasn’t anywhere in or near the city of Vancouver. We are happy to see the rain here today (0.51 inches in my gauge) and what ever we’ll have over the weekend. Hopefully, you guys down in Oregon will get at least as much as us!

    • W7ENK says:

      Really? That’s weird. It started raining that morning about 8am at UBC, and it poured the whole time we drove from there, out 16th to Granville…

      …all the way up and through downtown Vancouver…

      …past Stanley Park…

    • W7ENK says:

      …and across the Lion’s Gate bridge…

      …up into North Vancouver…

      …and out the West end of the city on Can-1/Hwy 99.

    • W7ENK says:

      You can watch the whole drive up from Portland (compressed into 3 minutes) if you wish.

  17. Jason Hougak says:

    Hood to Coast relay starting up just in time for the fall weather to show up. I’ve got a Forest Service job at Frog Lake Campground so I’ll be passing many as I climb the grade over Govy.

  18. schmit44 says:

    8/27/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:99 at Rye Valley(I-84(2229 ft) & BLALOK(277 ft) & HEPP(311 ft)
    Low: 75 at HEPP(311 ft)

    High:63 at DW4535 Cannon Be(23 ft)
    Low: 33 at KIRK (4519 ft ) & IRAWS 40 (PUMICE (5956 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 49 degrees
    IRAWS 48 (LOGAN (85/36 ) (4984 ft )
    CROW FLAT (83/34) (5172 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.34″ at W7KKE-3 Road’s E(89ft)
    0.27″ at DW8761 Gleneden(72ft)
    0.23″ at CW9821 Gleneden(49ft)
    0.23″ at EW3918 Newport(141ft)
    0.21″ at PACCTY-2 Pacific(28ft)
    0.14″ at Newport Municipa(161ft)

  19. WEATHERDAN says:

    At Midnight Friday morning at SLE temp 69, DP 43, Humidity 37%. Not exactly a recipe for a big rainstorm as our atmosphere is still very dry. Should hit 80 or so today. Interesting weather ahead. Forecasts keep getting drier but predicted wind speeds keep going up, fascinating. With Southerly winds coming from a warm California just how warm will this weekend wind up if we don’t get a big soaking. Might we see some convective activity? Hood to coast not only big event to be affected by potential wind storm. State fair opened today (Thursday). Remember wind and rain storm of late September 2013? The winds at the coast gusted to 70 MPH and 45 in the valley. It was said to be unprecedented for so early in the season. Well this is 1 month earlier. As for the lack of rain with this system this is not at all surprising. We are in this drought because many strong looking can’t miss rain storms have been trashed by the RRR the last 3 years. We need hemispheric pattern shift and I don’t think this is it. Still we should get some rain this weekend. Probably not the most since March. But still the most in almost three months. We has .67 on June 1st and 2nd and just .01 since. So if we get .25 in Salem it will help. And even in a dry year our Autumnal rainy season usually starts in October. So change is on the way. Remember Chairman Mao said the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. Maybe this weekend we take that first step in getting some rain in here. We shall see. Peace.

    • Andrew (Near Silver Falls 1600') says:

      Chairman Mao. Oh my.

    • Joshua says:

      This system isn’t being trashed by the RRR- it’s just mainly missing us. Basically half of WA is going to get dumped on and BC too. They need the rain too. It’s a shame we will likely get wind instead of a soaking. One is potentially damaging, and one is crucial at this point.

    • GTS1K' says:

      What!?! Late August is 1 month earlier than late September? I did not know that!

  20. Paul D says:

    So less rain and wind. What else can happen to screw things up?

  21. august blow me down
    not much stranger can happen
    special effects year

  22. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Foist? Let the fall rains begin…

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