The Portland and Seattle NWS offices just decided to issue a High Wind Watch for ALL of NW Oregon and Western Washington. That includes all the cities in the I-5 corridor from Eugene to Bellingham. That’s around 5 million people under that watch! We haven’t seen one of those since mid-December.
A High Wind WATCH means conditions MAY be right for damaging southerly wind on Sunday in our area. That’s a HUGE (or is it UGE?) question mark right now. Thus a “Watch” instead of a “Warning”. High Wind Watch/Warning criteria means gusts to 58 mph or higher…that is a real windstorm as opposed to these weaker storms we’ve seen much of this cool season that have involved Wind Advisories. That’s the 35-55 mph stuff.
I’ll reserve any deep thoughts until after the evening model runs tonight for two reasons:
- It’s way early…we’re talking about something almost 48 hours away
- Several models (including the reliable ECMWF and latest GFS) show no such windstorm
- Yet the NAM, GEM, and earlier GFS run looked real stormy.
So, there you have it: We may or may not see strong wind Sunday. It’s too early to know whether a real windstorm is on the way…we’ll be WATCHING the maps/models closely this evening and again tomorrow morning & evening. We have plenty of time to see if models come together on a common solution.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen