Peak Wind Gusts

December 3, 2015

It was brief, but definitely windy out there for a couple hours this evening.  Here are the peak gusts.  Salem had the strongest in the lowlands with a gust to 51 mph.  Seems like most of the rest of us were in the 25-35 mph range.

Another nice effect was that it was a “Chinook” wind, or a warming wind.  You might be surprised to know the original use of the term described the wintertime warm and moist wind that comes in from the southwest along the Pacific Northwest coastlines of present day Oregon/Washington/British Columbia.  At some point those folks in the Rockies stole it from us!  Well, not really since it continues on and becomes the warm westerly downslope wind eventually.  In the end they both produce the same thing…a dramatic warming and snow on the ground (or ice on the trees) rapidly melts.

Okay, on to mild and wet over the next week.  This won’t be a great 6 days ahead for skiing.  I expect rain more than snow at the ski resorts Saturday-Tuesday so no sign that we’re suddenly going to see some ski acreage appear.  But models are all in agreement with cooling after Wednesday next week.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


4pm…Wind Arriving in North Valley

December 3, 2015

It’s not quite a bust, but the wind is a bit delayed a few hours.  Quite confident we won’t hit 60 degrees now but wind and warm temps are still on the way in the next hour or two

Check out the wind gusts in the central/north Willamette Valley in the past hour:

  • 51 mph – Salem
  • 44 mph – McMinnville
  • 46 mph – Scotts Mills
  • 56 mph – Chehalem Mtn

And I just now hear the wind hitting the roof over the studio here on the west side of town.

Enjoy the breezes and warmth…peak gusts likely 35-45 mph in the metro area between now and 7pm


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Ready for 60 Degrees? Strong Wind 2-3pm Too

December 3, 2015

10am Thursday…

For the past 7-8 days our weather in the Portland Metro Area and Gorge has been dominated by chilly easterly wind and cool/cold air.  In just 3-5 hours that will abruptly change to warm and very windy.


  • Strong east wind continues for about 3 more hours near the Gorge.  Gusts 40-50 mph eastern suburbs and 60-80 mph in the western Gorge.  Then it suddenly stops mid-afternoon.
  • Gusty southerly wind arrives suddenly between 1-3pm for all areas west of the Cascades in the lower elevations
  • Peak gusts for just a few hours (maybe 1-4pm) 40-50 mph in the valley/metro area
  • Peak gusts at the coastline 60-70 mph
  • Temperatures zoom from 40-45 to 55-60 briefly as the wind arrives.  It’s possible we even make it to 60-62 in Portland.  Yank some clothes off!
  • Western gorge tempeatures (Corbett to Cascade Locks) will also jump into the 50s by 4-5pm.  Watch for falling ice!


What’s going on?  It’s a sharp cold front with a half-baked surface low zooming up the coastline.  By that I mean it’s a bit odd-looking.  Check out the WRF-GFS maps for 10am, 1pm, and 4pm:

It’s a real fast mover but it’ll get the “warm and windy” job done quickly.  That could produce 40-45 mph gusts here in the metro area with maybe a few isolated locations south or north of here to 50 mph.  So yes, probably a few power outages and trees down with this.

Why am I saying it could get briefly so warm?  The low level cool air is very thin this morning and it’s quite warm above.  At my house at 1,000′ east of Corbett it looks like this at 10am at 33 degrees:


But my friend about 4 miles up the road is sitting at 51 degrees at 1,800′.   I see it’s in the mid-upper 50s in the Sandy, Eagle Creek, & Estacada areas above the cold air.  Larch Mtn WA is already 57 as well!   When the first burst of southerly wind arrives, before the cold air comes in behind the cold front, we should see a quick spike in temps.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen