First Storm of the Season Thursday

6pm Tuesday…

The NWS has issued a High Wind Watch for the Coast and Coast Range this evening.  That’s for the first system coming onshore Thursday.


There is some disagreement on the details with this first system, and the following three I’m tracking for Friday, Saturday, & Tuesday.  That’s partly due to the fast-moving storms and a powerful Pacific Jet Stream.  It also doesn’t help that a large amount of energy is getting injected into the westerly flow by a Super Typhoon east of Japan.  Models have trouble handling those.

The plan for Thursday is a surface low tracking north along the coast, but some models are more intense than others.  The preferred ECMWF model has a surface low farther offshore. Based on that I could see gusts 55-70 mph gusts on the coast Thursday evening and 35-45 mph in the western valleys Thursday night and Friday A.M.  Those inland winds aren’t crazy strong for winter, but those speeds can down some trees this time of year due to the leaves still on many of them.  We have seen that the past couple of Octobers.  That’s storm #1.  There will be a LOT of rain with this system too since it’ll have subtropical moisture with it; hopefully we can avoid flooding since it’s the first huge soaking of the season.  We’ll see.  Check out our RPM rain totals:


What about Saturday?

Just east of Japan, now “Super-Typhoon” Songda is as intense as Hurricane Matthew was last week…150 mph winds!  It is forecast to fall apart and turn “extra-tropical”.  It’ll travel thousands of miles across the Pacific the next 3 days and end up on our doorstep Saturday as it develops into a massive mid-latitude low pressure system.



At this point the ECMWF, GEM, & GFS models all have about a 956-960 mb low pressure center (same depth as Columbus Day Storm) tracking southwest to northeast somewhere near the Pacific Northwest coastline on Saturday.  The GEM and GFS have the low farther offshore making landfall up around the northern tip of Vancouver Island.  This track brings damaging wind to the coast but generally not inland…it’s too far away.  For the hardcore weather geeks, here are some interesting products off the WeatherBELL site.  They have an excellent array of maps and I highly suggest you get a subscription if you go through as many maps/models as I do!

The GEFS ensembles from the 18run today showing the low pressure center Saturday afternoon on the control run,



all 21 low pressure center location & depth,


and the lowest pressure of any ensemble member (the deepest low),


Yes, that is a 945-950 mb low much closer to the coast.  Interesting to see how many possibilities are out there.

The ECMWF has the low pressure center much closer to us and the storm comes from a more southerly latitude; that’s potentially a far more damaging hit that could bring high winds inland.  We’ll see how things shake out the next three days.

The Columbus Day Storm was much closer to the coast than anything forecast for Saturday.  It moved quickly and was still strengthening as it moved north.  Those three factors are what make that storm the standard we measure all other storms by.  By the way, here are the peak speeds from that storm…


Can you imagine the damage 90+ mph wind gusts could cause nowadays?

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen



94 Responses to First Storm of the Season Thursday

  1. Lee Wilson says:

    Reporting in from Castle Rock Washington.
    Heavy rains and high winds.
    Street light almost went out.
    Lights in bedroom dimming but not out.

    Winds are howling there will be a lot of damage in the morning.

    Rain fell so hard that objects 100 or so feet away vanished.
    Our gutters became like water falls.

    This Storm may have claimed a life allresdy.

    It is my hope Jo one is on the roads.
    Because this is one storm not to trifled with.

    Mark, how can I describe it in words?

    It’s like being in a wind tunnel. With a thousand fire hoses on set to fine spray.

    The wind is hypnotic when it blows through the trees..and you can catch shadows falling .

    It would be. A good night for telling.

  2. Lee Wilson says:

    Resorting in from Castle rock.
    Got to hear this.

  3. SortingHat says:

    Already over 0.30 of rain here in the Stayton area.

    The only good thing we can possibly get out of this storm is both a lesson on how windstorms are made and people’s minsets in being prepped.

    Most people think being prepped means generators and junk food which there is a lot more to that if they wish to be taken seriously and not as a joke off or a bee bop punk head.

    This storm will make both newcomers and even elite survivalist who think they have it all suddenly realize what they don’t have and how to better prepare themselves and shake them up a bit in their slumber.

    This very well could be the one they will remember until the media lulls us to sleep again.

    Some states it’s illegal to catch your own rain water from your own barrel which I really don’t see being enforced. Barrel Rain Water Task Force? :p

    I think it’s this month the UN is going to be handed the controls of the internet where they make the ultimate decisions.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Yup, true, how ever i was having fun.
      By no means am i being a punk head.
      Oh…i enjoy good my mind no one is an elite..we’re equal some may have skills that others may not, some are drs, nurses, emts, military or have electrical and communications background.
      We are equal nine is better than the other.
      Anything can happen to any one anytime anywhere.

      Even an elite can fall dead by a tree landing on their car.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Please note , what it is I am trying to say, we’re only as strong as our weakest points..remember Samson ? The strongest man that ever lived..brought down by a woman who lopped off his hair.

      In other words it was his own pride that dis him in as well as his weakness for a women Delilah . Oh that story goes beyond religious affiliation, an atheist could view in as a story about pride.

      Yes in deed these storms will test a person, indeed nature has a way of teaching us many lessons.

      Why have we not as man forsaken wooden boxed homes?
      Why as man have we not gotten solar or wind?

      Why has man forgotten to grow his own food ? Or to raise his own food.

      As for structures we have the power to change it right now.
      There is a person who built a house that can withstand a fire, another whose house is made of cement in the shape of a dome that can withstand winds and water.

      And it can be submerged and he can yet breath and have power.

      We are capable of so much

      All we need to do is tear down the wooden boxes and create our own home.

      Why won’t man do it..He is afraid to change his thoughts.
      Man is afraid to change his ways for he has grown complacent with what he has. Then laments when he loses it all.


      Sounds like tornado.

  4. paulbeugene says:

    NAM mm5 now shows similar track to Euro operational run. This is looking a wee bit serious now.

  5. Josh "The snowman" from Gladstone, OR says:

    Bring on the storm. We all know the potential here yet we still don’t make the necessary precautions. Liberal neighborhoods in Portland and Seattle that cry foul if you chop a tree down. They want their stupid hiking trails that stop 50 cars during rush hour, but don’t know how to use a stop sign.

    We know the problems. We know where they are. Just like the customer I deal with that waits until December to replace their furnace. Josh is here now. To help you. Grow the “F” up. !!!!!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Josh, don’t be so dramatic. Weather here is mostly benign. We get a storm once in awhile that knocks down a tree or two. There is about 2.5 million that live in the pdx metro and valley. I bet more people die from wasp stings a year over there. People will not prepare in the valley unless it’s a one day two inch snowstorm which is cause for no preparedness. Just FYI, it was 26 here this morning and people over there would’ve wrapped their pipes. Lol. Just sayin

    • Gene says:

      Where is there a hiking trail in Portland that disrupts rush-hour traffic? I’ve driven the Banfield and I-5 many times and have never seen any hiking trails cutting through them. Maybe I wasn’t watching closely enough

    • JJ78259 says:

      Put your trash can away! Keep your storm drains clear of leaves and debris. If decide to go golfing Saturday compensate for the wind😎

    • SortingHat says:

      And if they do know how to use the Stop Sign it’s the California stop they do.

  6. Lee Wilson says:

    Just a weird question.
    How much energy would these 3 storms produce if they were harnased.

    That is to say, how many cities could they power if converted in to power .

  7. Lee Wilson says:

    DANG, people have started saying around town that were headed for another Columbus Day Storm.
    I don’t know if it will be like that or not.

    I just want to say while I like the power we will aquire from the storm.
    I don’t want any 9th to get hurt.

  8. W7ENK says:

    I’m so conflicted right now…

    On the one hand, this storm is shaping up to be absolutely epic, phenomenal, historic, one we’ll be talking about for decades. The kind of storm we weather nerds dream about every season, the kind that creates the stories we tell our grandchildren! And in that, amongst all the excitement it brings in the days, hours of anticipation leading up to it, I want so badly for it to happen. I want to experience the kind of storm I’ve only heard stories about, from when my parents were just kids. I want to witness the raw power of Mother Nature’s wrath with my own eyes — bigger, better, stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced before…

    But on the other hand, I don’t want it to happen at all. I don’t want all the destruction it will bring, and the possible suffering or even death that could result. I don’t really want to lose power for days, or trees to come down through houses and across roads. I don’t want to have to figure out how to get myself to work in the aftermath of such a storm, nor do I want to end up stranded someplace away from home. I don’t wish this upon anyone…

    So, how am I supposed to feel?

  9. Model riders! Mount up!

  10. Travis says:

    Will the “orographic effect” be in play for the next 5-7 days’ storms? (I.e more rain in west gorge and base of cascades?)

  11. 18z GFS edged another 150-200 miles further southeast from previous runs. Looks like a wind storm, just not the destructive kind the ECMWF shows. The trend towards the ECMWF though to me is very obvious. Each GFS run now post tropical Songda is a few mb weaker from 160-140 W, the wave edges closer to 135-130 W before developing, undergoing rapid cyclogenesis, then turning northeast/north…. Onto 00z!

    [Model Countdown]
    Next up….
    00z NAM in 3 hour 39 minutes
    00z GFS in 5 hours 20 minutes
    00z GEM in 6 hours 35 minutes
    00z ECMWF in 7 hours 38 minutes

  12. phil in Beaverton says:

    Ok, I’ve got a big doug fir tree just to the southwest of my house meaning if it’s going down it’s going down on my house. Since we’re gonna have a lot of rain leading up to this wind the soil’s gonna be saturated. I’m thinking I’ll have the tree taken down “preemptively” on Friday, just in case. I hate to lose a good tree, though.

    • Paul D says:

      Friday may be a day late.

    • W7ENK says:

      I think that would be unnecessary.

      How tall is this tree? I’m pretty sure it would have been there in 1962, 1981 and 1995, and it’s still standing.

      Chances are it’ll be just fine.

    • phil in Beaverton says:

      W7ENK: I’d say it’s about 60 feet. Neighbor who moved in next door in early 70’s says it was maybe 15-20 ft then, so in 62 it would have been about large Christmas tree size. In 95 there was a house down the street that had a doug fir go through the middle of it.

      It happens in pretty much every windstorm: lone doug firs fall on houses, cars, etc. Even though they may have made it through several previous windstorms. And while I’ll hate to lose it, I’d hate it even more if it ended up on the house.

      It’s looking like this windstorm could be epic.

  13. GTS1K' says:


    generator out of garage – check
    generator test – check
    suicide cables laid out – check
    buy more gas for said generator – check
    buy more beer/wine for generator operator and spouse – check; double check!
    move vehicles to windward side of trees – tomorrow
    bring in firewood from stack – check
    fill propane tanks – check
    hatches – battened
    apple tree – picked!
    random pieces of stuff – stowed
    wind turbine furled – check
    wind-proofing entire area – check – I hope…

    laissez les bon temps roulez!

    • SortingHat says:

      Good to have those things checked period.

      Both real and man made disasters including but not limited to false flag OPS designed to cause a situation and the very same people to come up with a fix which is in their favor.

      The only positive thing about this monster storm is hopefully people are put into a mindset to prepare for more then just 3 days if even at that so they can survive without assistance both government and regular.

      The more the better!

      Some states it’s illegal to catch your own rainwater!

    • SortingHat says:

      The only possible good thing out of this monster storm we can all learn from is how prepared are we really?

      Most people are not prepared for more then 3 days if at that and it will be a major wake up call to both new comers and even those who think they are Preppers that have it all.

      They too will realize those extra items that will be handy for another disaster both natural and man made BS designed for a certain agenda creating a fix that favors them not you.

      They hate you being prepared and pull their hairs out.

      Some states it’s illegal to catch your own rainwater yet I really don’t see how this is going to EVER be enforced. Barrel police?

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Yeah, but you forgot solar panels …oh are you AGM or flooded cells?

      Eh it just got early calm…it just stopped dead. No wind nothing. .eh at is it upto?

  14. W7ENK says:

    Holy almighty magical chocolate egg laying flying baby Jeebus bunny!!

  15. paulbeugene says:

    12z Euro continues to show what could be the biggest windstorm for Oregon since 1962.

    Shows upper 960s low tracking along Oregon coast with landfall N of Astoria/Long beach.

    10m wind gusts to 70-76 knots (80-86mph) are shown. 900mb winds of 80 knots over Portland (100 knots just offshore of Florence as it tracks N)!!

  16. Garron 1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro Airport says:

    Not to side track from this awesome post and it’s contributors, but I just saw another alarmist speech by Al Gore, with Hillary Clinton right by his side. He claimed that hurricane Matt was a direct result of global warming. He said it is due to the warmer than normal water conditions, and extreme intensification with in 36 hours that points to the effects of global warming. That is like saying everytime we have El nino that that is global warming also. Saw part of his speech via the Weather Channel.

  17. W7ENK says:

    High Wind Watch upgraded just now:

    936 AM PDT WED OCT 12 2016

  18. paulbeugene says:

    Wed AM:
    Models reviewed, up to 12z Mm5 Nam and GFS.
    Gusts to 50-55mph shown on mm5 gfs Thursday late afternoon for PDX metro, but not as strong on NAM.
    As for the Saturday storm, gfs still bombing it down to the low to mid 950s mb which is INCREDIBLE. That is about as low as you ever see off the OR / WA coast east of 130W. That being said it tracks it to mid/upper Vancouver Island which is not a recipe for a bona fidd windstorm in the Willamette Valley. The Euro ensembles from last night, averaged out, are consistent with GFS operational run this morning.

  19. Josh "The Snowman" from Gladstone, OR says:

    Looking at water vapor imagery far out in the western pacific. As the teen girls would say. OMG!!!!! Good thing tomorrow’s storm will take care of a lot of leaves, because Saturday is looking pretty scary……potentially.

    Let’s keep the fun going all the way to the winter weather meeting. Will be no shortage of things to talk about!!

  20. Ellen Wallace says:

    Thanks for any and all updates. We live in the Kelso/Longview area – not clear on the high wind maps- looks like we could get some – ? I too remember the Columbus day storm, I have been a storm freak ever since!

    • Im confused too..west longview here..i keep hearing different things..between mild winds to high..i need to know if i need to bake up a frenzy of things that dont need

    • muxpux (Longview) says:

      I work swing shift in woodland. Not looking forward to the commute. We’ve been working 6 days a week for a couple months now. I’d really like to tell them we should take Saturday off for safety

    • runrain says:

      Hey, maybe you can get a note from Mark!. It might work!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Saw the ECMWF operational run (00z). If that verified, we would be having probably the strongest region-wide windstorm since Columbus Day 1962…
    That being said, looking at the Euro ensembles, the operational run was clearly on the stormier side compared to the majority of the 51-member ensemble.
    Still waiting on 12z output for Thursday

  22. Thanks for the updated information, Mark. Our local forecasts seem to be in tune with what you’re saying: In other words, it ‘ll be wet and windy, but not a record breaking event. But we’ll just have to wait and see what actually happens.

  23. runrain says:

    Happy 54th Columbus Day Storm Day everyone! I know its not likely, but the current situation is remarkably similar to that day 54 years ago. Back then it was Typhoon Frieda spawning that storm. This time its granddaughter Songda’s turn.

  24. 00z ECMWF quite alarming. A few major differences compared to 12z and 00z last night. The wave(post tropical Songda) around 147 W, 40 N develops just a touch slower than previous runs, so it is allowed to push further east in relation to 140-130 W before it turns northeast. Result is a more classic, deeper southerly/southwesterly trajectory. The pressure rises on tonight’s run look unreal. Wind gust model gives PDX metro widespread 65-80mph gusts. 2 to 2 1/2 days for models to resolve things. Will we no longer dodge that bullet of being long overdue for a major regional wind storm? Maybe.

  25. paulbeugene says:

    GFS showing 954mb low tracking toward Vancouver Island Saturday. Certainly some strong winds on the coast but not so much inland if this run verifies. Still much uncertainty with this storm. I would be more excited if the trough set up deeper offshore to track the low farther south before turning north along our coast. It may be more likely that we get a mag 8.7 Cascadia megathrust quake in the next four days than a Columbus Day-grade storm

  26. paulbeugene says:

    Having a second low trailing behind the first for the Thursday wind event really sucks the fun out of it by cutting off the pressure rises as the low tracks north along the coast. This is shown especially on the gfs but also on the NAM.
    Even the garbage cans are safe in the Willamette Valley until Friday. Still not sure what is on tap when mother ship arrives this weekend. Somebody needs to go to the Oregon Coast and make a Devil’s Tower mock up to get the storm to come and give us as close encounter.

  27. GTS1K' says:

    I remember 10/12/62 – once in a lifetime is quite enough. Sort of fun to think that you young’n’s may get a dose of weather reality, though. Not that anyone can do anything about it.

  28. halverbk says:

    Mark – post time is 6 pm Thursday? Thanks for the great information. Should be interesting camping in Corvallis for the OSU game this weekend.

  29. halverbk says:

    Mark – post time is 6 pm Thursday? Thanks for the great information. Should be interesting camping in Corvallis for the OSU game this weekend.

  30. JJ78259 says:

    It will help knock the leaves off the trees, plus!

  31. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Checking in

  32. 00z MM5-NAM
    5:00 PM Thursday. Ummm. This is going to be a very intense run

  33. Exciting stuff. Thanks for the detailed post, Mark.

    00z NAM 4km Thursday night has a 964mb landfall Tatoosh Island

    MM5 is running now, so eager to see how it handles this first initial low.

  34. MasterNate says:

    Crazy start to our wet season. I hope it doesn’t peter out by December. I look forward to an exciting winter.

  35. Marinersfan85 says:

    Mark said a typhoon will hit the PNW! I’m telling errybody!

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