An interesting evening in the weather center hitting REFRESH numerous times to get the latest maps/models. Here is the latest:
- High Wind Watch is up for all of Western Oregon north of Eugene
- Damaging wind is POSSIBLE Sunday, but not a “done deal” as of this evening
- The setup is quite “good” if you want the strongest southerly windstorm of the season. Bad if you don’t like power outages and downed trees
- Big question still: Is this a regular “gusts 35-45 mph” storm or “gusts 45-65 mph” (storm of the season) storm for the lowlands. Right now I’m thinking the first is just about guaranteed, but it might be higher.
- Confidence on timing = HIGH Sometime midday/PM Sunday
- Confidence on damaging wind event in metro area = MODERATE for now
All 00z models are in
except ECMWF. That’s the one model that was farthest west (offshore) this morning. If it makes a significant move closer to the coastline Sunday my confidence on a damaging wind event will go up. (Edit at 10:15pm) Well, it did move farther east, so now models are much closer together. The 00z ECMWF has the low reaching the western mouth of Juan de Fuca strait at 980mb. I see a 12 mb pressure gradient from Eugene to Olympia, which isn’t a big windstorm, but plenty windy!
All these models have at least some sort of wind event for the metro area and valleys. WRF-GFS was a little weaker for us and farther offshore, giving us 13 millibars EUG-OLM. That’s like the ECMWF
That’s not major storm material, but widespread gusts 40-50 mph. Of course in that case the abnormally high PDX readings the past two years mean a 55-58 could be seen there I suppose. Check out the track I plotted over Wolf Read’s analysis of past “classic” windstorm tracks. The WRF track is the thick yellow highlighter:
The NAM-MM5 was very strong (image below)…that’s a windstorm for us with the low much closer, making landfall around Long Beach instead of up around Forks like the other models. 21 millibars from Eugene to Olympia with the real damaging wind up in SW Washington.
RGEM (Canadian) looked almost exactly the same as the WRF-GFS, in fact the lowest central pressure was around 980 mb. as well.
It is interesting (and helpful if you want a powerful storm) the low is deepening on all models as it passes by. That’s very important for strong wind.
These storms are always so tough to forecast and each one is slightly different. For example the Inauguration Day Storm in January 1993 took a similar path and was of similar strength to what the WRF forecasts yet left gusts only in the 40-50 mph range in the metro area.
More updates the next 36 hours if this impending storm holds together!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen