The wind warnings are all now cancelled in Oregon…as the wind has subsided. Take a look at that…the highest October wind gust we’ve seen here since a 70 mph gust in 1967. There was a gust to 52 mph on different wind equipment late October 1994, but that’s the problem with comparing historical windspeeds. It’s possible either this or that one was really the higher gust, but for sure it’s fair to say this is one of the two windiest October days I’ve seen in my lifetime here! That shows you how rare an October windstorm is in the valleys.
Other peak metro gusts…
Northern Willamette Valley…
A few things that stick out:
This was just an average “windstorm” for any winter here in the I-5 corridor EXCEPT that it happened in mid October! 44,000 PGE power outages at the peak
This was almost a perfect windstorm forecast for the metro area, both timing and speeds. Last night I said 45-55 mph, then dropped it to 40-50 mph at the last minute. That’s fine because only 3 of 7 metro area official reports made it to 50 mph. Very happy with the metro forecast.
COASTAL FORECAST BUST
Wow, this one was way off. Tillamook and Astoria had lighter gusts than Portland! It was widely forecast and promoted as a major storm for the Oregon Coast, even if it was wintertime. Not even close!
Coastal cities were generally in the 50-65 mph range. We forecast 70-90, or even 70-100. Sure, that exposed tower out at Barview Jetty in Garibaldi hit 77, but that’s about it. The two big speeds in the 80s are up above 1,000′. By the way, Mary’s Peak west of Corvallis went over 100 mph, but that’s not unusual during a windstorm…that’s in the mountains.
What happened? The low tracked farther offshore, thus the south to north gradient was far weaker along the coastline. Check out the 6pm forecast (right now) from this morning’s WRF-GFS run:
Pressure should be under 970 millibars on that northwest section of the Olympic Peninsula. Instead the pressure is over 10 millibars higher! 981 mb right now at Forks, WA. That’s a huge difference. And check out the low well offshore, shown by the radar at Ocean Shores…
Right now there is an 18 millibar pressure gradient from Coos Bay to Forks. The forecast was for 28 millibars!
There was also that strong hing on the gradient field that the wind might be much more closely confined to the low center than normal…leftovers from it’s tropical days? Probably not but something to think about.
This storm stayed farther offshore and made a landfall farther north than expected = weaker wind at the coastline.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen